London Broncos lit a small beacon of hope in a time of uncertainty by fighting back from a 16-point deficit to avoid Super League’s wooden spoon. They climbed above Salford largely thanks to Jamie Soward, the player they brought from Australia to try to give them some late-season focus, and Mason Caton-Brown, a 20-year-old from Enfield who is typical of the potential they must tap into if they are to have a future in the capital.
Caton-Brown scored a hat-trick of tries, while the inspiring Soward claimed two, a couple of assists and four goals. However, this was a victory for the sort of battling spirit the Broncos will need on and off the field.
“It was a gutsy effort,” said their coach, Tony Rea, who can now switch his efforts to trying to ensure there is a club capable of starting next season. “There should be some news in midweek, but it’s all good,” he said.
Rovers at least know what the immediate future has in store for them: an elimination semi-final at St Helens on Saturday. There is still time for their fluctuating season to end on a high, but they will have to play considerably better than they did for the last hour against the Broncos yesterday.
Their 18-year-old debutant full-back Josh Guzdek made a dream start to his first-team career, scoring with his first touch of the ball. Having made that try, scrum-half Craig Hall scored the second himself, and when Hall’s long pass put the former Bronco Omari Caro over in the corner, the Robins looked ready to run away with it.
But a spirited Broncos spell before half-time started with Mike Bishay’s clever cross-kick to Caton-Brown and continued with the cheekiest of dummies and tries from Soward. They then seized the initiative after the break, with Soward producing a 40/20 kick and then finishing off a break by Tommy Lee and Ben Fisher.
Kris Welham struck back for the Robins when he caught the London defence dozing, but the Broncos took the lead and kept it when Soward and Caton-Brown combined again. Just to apply the finishing touch, Mark Bryant scored a rare try on his farewell appearance, followed by an even rarer conversion.
Hull KR: Guzdek; Caro, Welham, Heil, Brown; Withers, Hall; Tuimavave, Carlile, Netherton, Cox, Lovegrove, Griffin. Substitutes used: Hepi, Ollett, Green, Beaumont.
London Broncos: Dixon; Hurst, Macani, Caton-Brown, Melling; Sarginson, Soward; Krasniqi, Bishay, Cook, McMeeken, Kaufusi, Lee. Substitutes used: Bryant, Fisher, Dollapi, Wicks.
Referee: C Leatherbarrow
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