The Qualifiers Preview: London Broncos vs Warrington Wolves

Warrington Wolves will travel to West London to retain their place at the top of the qualifiers ladder with one foot firmly in Super League of 2018. London Broncos, however, remain winless in the competition with only a point to their name after a calamitous home draw with Featherstone Rovers.


Last Time Out

London Broncos dropped just short of their first win over Hull KR in four years with a 35-30 away loss. The Broncos made a promising start with Andy Ackers crossing after 4 minutes. Danny Addy soon equalised with a try for the home side before Sammut put the Broncos ahead with a penalty. Hull KR soon wrestled back momentum and scored three unanswered tries through Kieren Moss, Robbie Mulhern, and Ryan Shaw. Jamie Ellis remained impeccable with the boot and Hull KR led 24-8 before Chris Atkin added a drop goal late on to extend their lead going into half time.

The Robins added another two after the half time break and the game looked all but won. However, London managed to muster a second half comeback with four tries to Hull’s one; a Ryan Shaw finish off the back of sublime Shaun Lunt ruck play. Despite James Cunningham, Alex Walker, Mark Ioane, and Elliot Kear all providing, London came up short with Jamie Ellis’ two second half penalties making the difference at full time with the score standing at 35-30.

Warrington, on the other hand, added another win to their record to stay top of the qualifiers campaign in an uncharacteristically tight fixture against Halifax. Peta Hiku opened the scoring 22 minutes in after a tight first 20 minutes between the two sides. The two traded blows throughout the rest of the second half, and despite conceding the majority of penalties in the first half, Halifax levelled the scores through Chest Butler just two minutes before half time.

Warrington made a marked improvement in intensity in the second half and crossed early on through Chris Hill. Declan Patton converted to put Warrington six points up. Their lead was cut just ten minutes later though, with Chester Butler crossing for his second of the afternoon to put the visitors within two points. Warrington, however, were to strong for Halifax in the last twenty and Matty Russell and Andre Savelio crossed in the final fifteen minutes to put the win out of reach for Halifax.


Key Battle

The Warrington pack has under performed for large parts of this season but should dominate this weekend when they face and undercooked Broncos pack. The Broncos have never seemed to have a commanding Super League level and size pack post the Harlequins RL era and generally struggle in that area. They did, however, take it to Catalans in Perpignan and showed that they might be able to match superior sides in the arm wrestle. That was on grass though, and it seems as though all that goes out the window for the Broncos when they play on the 4G in West London, conceding extortionate amounts of points at times –especially around the ruck. The Broncos forwards will need to tighten up against the Warrington pack and ensure they do not dominate. If they fail to do so we could see a cricket score on Saturday night.



If you are a betting man you should be taking the points – this one should sky rocket on the fast track down at Trailfinders. With the Broncos’ inability to defend on the 4G at home and Warrington’s superior pack and back line, they should be able to rack up the points. I wouldn’t count London out though, because they’ve got a very good attacking set up too. Warrington, however, are the class team in the qualifiers and really should make it four from four tonight. Warrington by 22.


19-Man Squads

London Broncos: Andy Ackers, William Barthau, Eddie Battye, Michael Channing, James Cunningham, Matt Davis, Kieran Dixon, Ben Evans, Matt Garside, Matt Gee, Ben Hellewell, Mark Ioane, Elliot Kear, Api Pewhairangi, Jay Pitts, Jarrod Sammut, Tom Spencer, Alex Walker, Rhys Williams.

Warrington Wolves: Ryan Atkins, Kevin Brown, Brad Dwyer, Kurt Gidley, Peta Hiku, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Jack Johnson, Benjamin Jullien, George King, Tom Lineham, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Russell, Andre Savelio, Ashton Sims, Morgan Smith, Ben Westwood.

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