Rock-bottom Broncos turn to Tony Clubb for leadership
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Saturday 01 June 2013
The London Broncos hit rock bottom with last weekend’s defeat to Catalan Dragons, but have the opportunity today to begin the long climb back under the new captain, Tony Clubb.
That loss at the Magic Weekend in Manchester put the Broncos in the wooden-spoon position in Super League and saw their most experienced player, Craig Gower, resign the captaincy in midweek.
Head coach Tony Rea’s choice of successor is a former England centre and the club’s longest-serving player. “It’s a great honour for me and my family,” said Clubb. “But whether I’m captain or not, nothing changes for me.”
The London-born player is one of four who missed the defeat by the Dragons but return to face Castleford today, Antonio Kaufusi, Michael Channing and Chris Melling being the others.
Cas were impressive in beating Wakefield at the Magic Weekend, so it is no surprise Daryl Powell sticks with the same squad.
It doesn’t get any easier for Wakefield, who face a visit from the league leaders, Wigan, today without their three most influential overseas players. Tim Smith, Paul Aiton and Ali Lauitiiti are all ruled out by injury, but club captain Danny Kirmond has been cleared of a suspected broken jaw.
The Wigan coach, Shaun Wane, out of contract at his hometown club at the end of this season, and being strongly linked with a job at the New Zealand Warriors, has recalled Greg Burke and Scott Taylor from loans to bolster this weekend’s squad.
Hull KR, still seething over the circumstances of their defeat by Hull at the Etihad, have had some good news on the injury front.
David Hodgson is fit to return against Bradford, and that versatile forward, Rhys Lovegrove, also has a chance of playing.
In tomorrow’s other Super League games, Warrington should retain third place by beating Salford, despite the City Reds’ morale-boosting victory over Widnes, who host the Catalans this round. Second-placed Huddersfield are at home to St Helens on Monday night, without Jason Chan. The second-rower has been ruled out for three months with a torn bicep.
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