Catalans Dragons’ destructive forward pack starred as London Broncos suffered a damaging 33-point loss to Catalans on the eve of Good Friday.
Catalans returned to winning ways with six tries in the Capital after being edged out by Hull FC in Golden Point just a week prior.
London got off to a quick start with try scoring threats from Jacob Ogden and Rob Butler, but it was the visitors who crossed first with Matt Whitley busting tackles off a short ball close to the line. London looked to be in the battle, however, before Sam Moa ended Abdull’s game with a shoulder charge off the ball. Following that, Eloi Pelissier jumped in to police matters himself and consequently Moa and Pelissier were carded for their respective infringements.
London then compounded the loss of their chief play maker with some poor defensive work from the back three and allowed Catalans to regather a high bomb and cross through Tierney. Tomkins added the extras following an earlier penalty conversion and put Catalans 14-points up going into the half time break.
Catalans continued to exploit the leaky London defence and Greg Bird capitalised off the back of a block play just to the right of the sticks. Continuing to play expansively, Arthur Romano flew over in the corner, before Sam Tomkins crossed off the back of an exquisite train of offloads. With the home side unable to stop the rot, Matt Whitely scored his second of the game to put Catalans 36-0 up before London conjured a reply of their own with Mark Ioane breaking on half way and going all the way.
Following that, the two sides traded sets for the final 15 minutes but it was Catalans who had the last say with a Sam Tomkins penalty, and a drop goal late on to make the final score 39-6.
Broncos lose more than just the game
Alongside losing the two-points on Thursday night, Sam Moa’s thumping tackle off the ball on Jordan Abdull sent London’s key play maker to hospital with a serious head injury. With his return time unknown, Broncos may well yet be in more trouble with significantly inferior replacements to come in for the distinctly influential Abdull.
Sam Moa sees red and receives a yellow
Sam Moa received a yellow from referee Tom Grant for an off the ball challenge on London’s Jordan Abdull that left the London crowd up in arms. Having hospitalised Abdull with shoulder contact to the head, the seemingly lenient punishment of Moa’s actions – as highlighted by the Sky Sports panel – brings into question the extent to which the RFL laws affect player welfare. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.
Whitley excels in the Capital
Matt Whitely looks to have found his feet at Catalans and played a pivotal role in London, scoring a double and assisting Lewis Tierney. It looks as though the 23-year old second rower is filling the potential the Dragons’ saw under the tutelage of Steve McNamara.
London hit the bottom
Following Leeds’ comprehensive win at home to Huddersfield – who London play on Monday – the Broncos now sit bottom of the table after a run of five games without a win. The out-of-form Broncos certainly need to change something quickly if they are to stand a chance of staying up.
London Broncos 6
Catalans Dragons 39
Tries: Whitley (2), Tierney, Bird, Romano, Tomkins
Goals: Tomkins (7)
Drop Goals: Tomkins
London Broncos: Walker; Ogden, Morgan, Kear, Williams; Abdull, Smith; Battye, Pelissier, Butler, Pitts, Gee, Yates.
Interchanges: Ioane, Cunningham, Richards, Adebiyi.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Romano, Langi, Whitley, Tierney; Bird, Tomkins; Bousquet, Da Costa, Moa, Goudemand, Jullien, Casty.
Interchanges: Edwards, Simon, Baitieri, Kasiano.