After a rainy day at the London Stadium where West Ham and some of their fans didn’t cover themselves in glory I woke to bright sunshine, it was time for summer rugby, otherwise known as rugby league.
My team, London Broncos had finished 2nd in the Championship before the teams split into 3 sets of 8, it’s a system that’s pretty much meant I won’t buy a season ticket for Broncos, I wasn’t able to make any of the games last season and was only making my first trip this year.
I confess to having been quite confused about how the whole Qualifiers Super 8’s thing worked, but with help from a fellow fan and a bit of research I think I have it. The bottom 4 from Superleague and Top 4 from the Championship break away and play each other (this I knew) forming a new table. The top 3 from the resulting table then go up to Superleague, or don;t go down to the Championship if they’re already there. Then the teams finishing in 4th & 5th play what’s become known as the Million Pounds game. Leigh Centurions and Leeds sit in the top 2 spots having won 5 from 5, so both will be in Superleague in 2017.
The 3 remaining Superleague teams, Huddersfield, Salford and Hull KR had each won 2 games so were looking well placed to push for that £1m game. A win for Broncos against Hull KR could however have changed that round.
As has always been the way London Broncos were dwarfed by the opposition almost across the board, in all the time I’ve watched them size has never been an element when it comes to Broncos and it’s often been a problem.
Hull KR started at 100mph and scored their first try after 57 seconds with Thomas Minns, an ex Bronco touching down, he added a second on 6 minutes.
That was the start of what would be something of a showcase game by the Superleague team. Momentum is key in this game and Hull KR had it for the majority of the game. They scored a further 2 tries before Broncos found some ball and determination and hit back with 2 of their own; Alex Walker scored after a clever grubber kick from Jamie Soward and James Cunningham pounced on a similar ball to make the score London Broncos 12 Hull KR 24 at halftime.
That scoreline gave Broncos something to work on, however the 2nd half started as the 1st had with 2 quick Hull KR tries before Broncos touched down again though William Barthau the score was Broncos 18 Hull KR 34. Again a gap that could be closed, however Hull KR were determined to win this game and did so in some style scoring a total of 10 tries, there were a couple of dubious calls by the referee, but the gap between the 2 teams was clear to see.
The final score was London Broncos 18 Hull KR 58. A game that showed the gap between what has become a very good Championship team and a Superleague team. A Superleague team that had one Jamie Peacock playing for them, having come out of retirement to best the team where he holds the posting of Head of Rugby; he looked fit and capable, class is certainly permanent.
Andrew Henson was very honest in his press conference acknowledging that this is a team in transition, from the perspective of a fan this Broncos team has come on in leaps and bounds from the team that won only a single game in 2014. Broncos are in good hands, Henderson means to take this club places!
Points scorers for Hull KR – Thomas Minns 3, Ben Cockayne, Kieran Dixon, James Greenwood, Matty Marsh 2, james Donaldson, Will Jubb Goals:Josh Mantellato 9