Broncos helped by taking to the road

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The Independent Online

London Broncos should be considering two points as they prepare for their match against Widnes today.

The first is that they should be delighted that what is nominally a home fixture is being played "on the road" at Aberavon. The second is that they should be thinking seriously about sending their players to South Wales by plane, preferably via Australia.

The Broncos have not won at their London home of Griffin Park this season, but their away record includes stunning victories at Hull and, last week, at Bradford. The outstanding contributor to their success at Odsal was Dennis Moran. The scrum-half was Super League's leading try-scorer last year, but had looked somewhat jaded until Tony Rea switched him to full-back - a position he had never played - at Wakefield the previous week.

Moran scored a spectacular hat-trick in a 36-12 win, but then got on to a plane to return home for his uncle's funeral. He only arrived back in this country last Sunday, transferred to a delayed flight to Leeds-Bradford, went straight to Odsal and scored another hat-trick.

It was a freakish performance, and the Broncos' chief executive, Nic Cart-wright, admits that the club considered sending him away again this week.

Earlier in the season, Andrew King did something similar, arriving from South Sydney and playing for his new club the next day at Hull - and contributing to another fine victory against the odds.

King is fit to return to the London side today, and is likely to be Rea's only change as the Broncos seek a "home" win in front of what is likely to be a capacity 4,000 crowd in Port Talbot.

For the Widnes coach, Neil Kelly, it is an occasion with a wider significance. He is also the coach of the Welsh national team - whose commitments include playing Australia this autumn - and has a vested interest in seeing the code continue to gain momentum in the valleys.

A new Welsh division of the Rugby League Conference is raising its profile, and there is talk of a Welsh bid for a Super League place. Events like today's can only help to encourage such aspirations.

"People are putting in a lot of work down there, and they're very excited about the progress that is being made," Kelly said.

"I realise that points are at stake, but I think there's an onus on both teams to make it a good game and put on a show." The Broncos should be up for that. After all, they are not having to play in London.