London Broncos are just one defeat away from an immediate return to the Championship after Leeds Rhinos all but secured their own safety with a convincing 10-36 win in the capital.
Luke Briscoe, Ava Seumanufagai and Jack Walker all scored in the first half to give a dominant Leeds side a commanding 0-18 lead at the break.
The first try of the match came as a result of good Leeds pressure when Elliot Kear lost the ball in the tackle to gift the ball to Briscoe who ran the ball home underneath the sticks, with Rhyse Martin adding the extras.
The hosts didn’t back down, however. Instead, the kept plugging away and could have scored themselves if Kieran Dixon didn’t knock the ball on in a dangerous position. And, such is Rugby League, the Rhinos went straight down the other end and punished him – Seumanufagai forcing his way over from a metre out.
And the game was all but over when Brett Ferres did tremendously well to hold off his tackle before offloading to Walker who sidestepped the home defence to send the away fans into dreamland.
The hosts battled back in the second half, though, as Kieran Dixon and Ryan Morgan scored, but the Rhinos weren’t to be denied and their quality showed late on as they added three further tries in the last ten minutes – Ash Handley, Brad Dwyer and Walker’s second sealing victory for the visitors with Dixon and Kear’s sin-bins killing the hosts off.
The result moves Leeds four points clear of London with two matches remaining and the Yorkshire club’s far superior points difference means that their safety is all but secure.
Broncos, meanwhile, remain two points behind Wakefield, Huddersfield and Hull Kingston Rovers, who they face next Sunday.
The Londoners must avoid defeat at KCOM Craven Park to have any chance of survival and keep their hopes alive going into the final day.
Leeds are all but safe
Four points and a far better points difference mean that Leeds fans can relax. Unless something incredible happens, they can start planning for another year in Super League
Walker lit up the show
Two tries aren’t often enough to name you Man of the Match, but in games like these, scoring is all that matters. His tries were impressive too – to be fair to him, he’s had an impressive season.
Salford need a miracle
The Londoners need to win consecutive games to have any chance of staying up and, considering they’ve only won nine all season, it is highly unlikely – or is it?
Could they do it?
In all honesty, yes. They play Hull KR and Wakefield Trinity in their final two games of 2019 and they probably couldn’t choose two teams they’d want to face more. Both opponents are locked above London on 20 points, with the threat of relegation still a real possibility for them, too. KR don’t often turn up in front of their own fans and Wakefield have been inconsistent on the road all season. It isn’t over yet.
London Broncos 10
Tries: Dixon, Morgan
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds Rhinos 36
Tries: Briscoe, Seumanufagai, Walker (2), Handley, Dixon
Goals: Martin (6)
Drop Goals: n/a
London Broncos: A Walker, Williams, Kear, Dixon, Abdull, Cunningham, Battye, Lovell, Pitts, Morgan, Yates, Krasniqi, Lamb.
Interchanges: Fozard, Gee, Mason, Butler.
Sin Bin: Dixon (71), Kear (80).
Leeds Rhinos: J Walker, Hurrell, Handley, Myler, Merrin, Dwyer, Ferres, Oledzki, Briscoe, Newman, Seumanufagai, Lui, Martin.
Interchanges: Cuthbertson, Sutcliffe, Smith, Donaldson.
Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL).