Caine the able stamps on Widnes

Widnes 0 London Broncos 40
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The Independent Online

A hat-trick of tries from Joel Caine highlighted a vastly improved second-half display as the Broncos gave themselves an excellent chance of reaching the play-offs for the first time. London went up to fifth and just need to beat Huddersfield at home next week to ensure a top-six finish, but for much of this match they and Widnes looked more like relegation candidates.

It was the opportunism of Caine, brought over on trial on a short-term contract from Wests Tigers in Australia, that made the difference, with Chris Thorman and Jim Dymock also lifting their games as they took full, if belated, advantage of Widnes' end of season lethargy.

"I feel sorry for some young players who have been badly let down by the others," said the Widnes coach, Neil Kelly. "I couldn't go out and thank the fans because I was ashamed of that performance."

In an abject first half, Widnes came closest to making order out of the chaos but their winger, Chris Giles, was twice denied by the video referee. Tony Martin also had one ruled out for London when Dennis Moran lost the ball forward in a tackle.

Fittingly, the first points came in the most mundane way shortly before half-time. Paul Devlin had fumbled Dymock's high kick; from the scrum Jason Demetriou was caught holding Martin, giving Thorman a chance to put over a simple penalty.

By comparison with what had gone before, the Broncos' first try, after 47 minutes, was poetry in motion. Thorman pulled in the defence and Martin and Rob Purdham linked up to find Caine unmarked on the wing. Thorman added a goal and, four minutes later, a penalty for interfering in the tackle. Dymock's well-timed pass then sent Phil Peden away and Caine was there in support to claim his second, with Thorman again converting.

Peden's break and Thorman's awareness created a 23rd try of the season for Moran whose clever kick then provided Caine with his third as the Widnes defence became more threadbare. Peden went through some weak tackling for the Broncos' fifth try and Thorman's skill with the ball at his feet yielded their sixth.

Widnes: Devlin, Robinson, James, Demetriou, Giles, Frame, Myler, Ralf, Millard, O'Neill, Hay, Finnigan, Bird. Substitutes used: Farrell, Cantillon, Mills, Hughes.

London Broncos: Sykes, King, Roy, Martin, Caine, Thorman, Moran, Stephenson, Peden, Bawdon, Toshack, Retchess. Dymock. Substitutes used: Purdham, McConnell, Mbu, Trindall.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).