The relegation dog fight goes down to the wire as Wakefield Trinity take on London Broncos at the Mobile Rocket Stadium on Friday night. The winner is assured of their place in Super League next season, whilst the loser could be relegated to the Championship. This is a game you simply cannot afford to miss. Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
After convincingly beating relegation rivals Hull KR back in August, Trinity looked to be heading towards safety with three matches left to play. However, back-to-back defeats to play-off hopefuls Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves, suffering narrow eight-point and seven-point losses respectively, mean Wakefield still require one more win to secure their Super League status. The Dreadnoughts have started to play far better rugby in their most recent outings and have home advantage in this winner takes all clash.
The capital club were written off by many before the season had even kicked off, but the newly-promoted side have slowly but surely proven all of their doubters wrong. The Broncos never say die attitude has kept them right in the mix to secure their place in Super League next season, having claimed a last gasp 20-16 win away at Hull KR last time out. Never shy of upsetting the odds, London still have it all to do on Friday night, knowing anything but a win will see them return to the Championship.
Chris Chester has made one change to the Wakefield squad that was beaten 23-16 by Warrington last time out.
Ryan Atkins is in-line to make his second debut for Trinity, replacing the injured Anthony England who is ruled out of the crunch clash with a hamstring injury.
The centre returns to fitness, having re-signed for Wakefield at the start of August, after spending nine years with Warrington.
Wakefield’s 19-man squad: Arundel, Atkins, Brough, Crowther, Escare, Green, Gwaze, Hampshire, Jones-Bishop, Kershaw, King, Kirmond, Kopczak, Lyne, Miller, Randell, Tangata, Tanginoa, Wood.
London coach Danny Ward has named the same 19-man squad that defeated Hull KR last Friday.
The Broncos have no fresh injury concerns and will head into Friday night’s game full of confidence after a stirring display at KCOM Craven Park last time out.
London’s 19-man squad: Abdull, Armitage, Battye, Butler, Cunningham, Dixon, Fozard, Gee, Hindmarsh, Kear, Krasniqi, Lamb, Lovell, Mason, Morgan, Pitts, Walker, Williams, Yates.
HEAD TO HEAD
Wakefield and London have played out two absolute thrillers this season with the Broncos winning 42-24 and 42-34 respectively. London defeated Trinity in their first game back in Super League since 2014, with Eddie Battye and Rhys Williams scoring two tries apiece on the opening weekend of the season back in February.
The Broncos then defeated Trinity again back in May, with Jordan Abdull running in four tries as well as both Kieran Dixon and Williams scoring two tries each. London led 42-6 with 15 minutes left to play, before a late flurry of Wakefield tries, with both David Fifita and Mason Caton-Brown going over twice, reduced the deficit.
Jacob Miller and Danny Brough (Wakefield) v Jordan Abdull and Brock Lamb (London)
The battle at half-back is likely to be where this game is won or lost. Jacob Miller and Danny Brough boast plenty of Super League experience, playing at numbers six and seven for Wakefield, whilst Jordan Abdull and Brock Lamb, their opposite numbers on Friday night, are Super League rookies by comparison.
Trinity’s half-back pairing have 12 tries, 26 try assists and five drop-goals between them this season and perhaps more importantly have played together in the majority of the Dreadnoughts fixtures this season. Brough in particular needs to bring his experience to the fore, with the 36-year-old veteran able to control any game when he’s at his very best and also has a knack for dropping a goal should the game be tight in the closing stages.
London’s half-back duo of Abdull and Lamb have 12 tries, 18 try assists and one drop-goal between them, however, Lamb has only made five appearances for the Broncos since his arrival in late July. That said, the Australian’s contribution to London’s cause has been crucial, having played an instrumental role in their win against Hull KR last time out. Abdull scored four tries against Trinity back in May and has been one of London’s standout performers this season.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 13th September
Venue: Mobile Rocket Stadium
Referee: Robert Hicks
WHO WILL WIN?
How on earth can you predict this one? London come in to this fixture off the back of a euphoric victory last time out and will be desperate to defy the odds and remain in Super League next season. Wakefield wouldn’t have dreamed of finding themselves in this situation, after the first half of the season, and have home advantage in this must-win contest. The form book must be ripped up ahead of this one in what will surely be the most dramatic of matches in West Yorkshire. London to win by one point.