London Broncos kick off their Easter campaign by hosting a Catalans Dragons side reeling from a dramatic one-point loss to Hull FC at the Stade Gilbert Brutus. Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
London come into this on a four-game losing streak and most recently, a disappointing loss to Halifax in the Challenge Cup. In addition, London have not won at home since their 18-16 win against last year’s champions Wigan.
Last time out, Catalans fell foul of a Marc Sneyd Golden Point drop goal in a dramatic 31-30 loss at home to Hull FC, just a week after beating league leaders, St Helens, 18-10 at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Danny Ward has made four changes to his 19-man squad that took on Halifax less than a week ago. Academy product Jacob Ogden retains his place after a hat-trick in the Challenge Cup loss, while Luke Yates, Rob Butler, Rhys Williams and Dan Hindmarsh come back into the side.
Rhys Williams makes his way back into the squad after his 177 consecutive game run came to an end when he was rested against Halifax.
London Broncos 19-man squad: Abdull, Adebiyi, Battye, Butler, Cunningham, Fleming, Gee, Hindmarsh, Ioane, Kear, Morgan, Ogden, Pelissier, Pitts, Richards, Smith, Walker, Williams, Yates.
Catalans also make four changes to the side that faced Hull FC with Fouad Yaha (injury), Ben Garcia (injury), David Mead, and Brayden Williame (suspension) making way for Kenny Edwards, Matty Smith, Lambert Belmas and Arthur Romano.
Catalans Dragons 19-man squad: Gigot, Tierney, Langi, Smith, Casty, Moa, Edwards, Bird, Bousquet, Jullien, Whitley, Da Costa, Goudemand, Belmas, Albert, Baitieri, Romano, Kasiano, Tomkins.
HEAD TO HEAD
London have a distinctly poor recording in the fixture, having won only three of the last eighteen meetings between the two sides. In addition, Catalans, despite being characteristically weak away from home, have won five of their last six away games at London. Despite the one-sided nature of the fixture head-to-head, meetings between the two sides never fail to disappoint on the try-scoring front, with the the last 10 games between the two sides averaging over 51 points per game.
Alex Walker (London Broncos) v Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors)
With both players having a big impact on their side’s performances this season, the ability of both to perform on Thursday night will be key to their team’s chances. For London, Walker brings stability at the back in defence and under the high ball, along with a significant attacking threat from both structures and open play. Sam Tomkins provides similar, albeit better established qualities to the Catalans side along with a significant kicking threat out of hand and off the tee.
Aside from the battle up front between a huge Catalans pack and the dynamic London forwards, the battle between the full-backs will be the one to watch with Walker, an exceptionally skilled youngster, pits himself against one of the best full-backs to play Super League.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday 18th April
Venue: Trailfinders Sports Ground
Referee: Tom Grant
WHO WILL WIN?
Catalans will no doubt be up to make amends for a freak loss against Hull FC last week against a slightly weakened London team; however, doubts still remain about their ability to play away from home. London will have targeted this as a must win over the Easter period but the Dragons’ sizeable forward pack will probably prove too much for the home side to handle. Catalans by 4.