Joynt makes right moves at The Stoop

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The Independent Online
Rugby League


London Broncos 34 St Helens 50

For the first 10 minutes at The Stoop Memorial ground, St Helens would have agreed that the London Broncos moves are too difficult to follow.

In their last four home games, using the term home in its broadest sense, the Broncos have left their hoofprints at a football ground in West London, an athletics stadium in North London, another football ground in south- east London and, last and most disorientating of all, the Harlequins home deep in the heart of Twickenham.

Small wonder that the radio station which promises the most exhaustive coverage of the Broncos' comings and goings is Nomad FM.

Considering that the Broncos had won the three previous games of their London travels and they had enjoyed a nice warm-up against Oldham at The Valley, a ground that does not appear to be the answer to their quest for a permanent home, on Friday night, they could have been expected to start well.

Start well they did, exploiting The Stoop's wide open spaces to take a 12-0 lead within 10 minutes.

Unfortunately, St Helens found the acreage even more inviting, embarking on a retaliatory scoring spree of 38 points in an astonishing 18-minute burst.

That inspired spell began with three tries created by Chris Joynt, getting rather more change out of these Australians than he had in a cameo appearance in the World Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, and including a 13-minute hat-trick by Anthony Sullivan.

Chris McKenna completed a Broncos' hat-trick after the break, but Bobbie Goulding, who is angling for a crack at rugby union and might fancy the environment even more after this, kept Saints in control with a try to go with his seven goals.

It was a shame from a curiosity point of view that the Namibian full- back Andre Stoop did not remain a Bronco long enough to play at The Stoop.

His most recent successor in the position, Paul Hauff, would be tall enough to jump in the middle of the line-out and looked thoroughly at home leaping to take Leo Dynevor's kick to send in Mark Riley for a try to keep the margin respectable.

Hauff also went over for a try of his own as the two sides, aided by some less than decisive defence totalled enough tries between them to account for most of a Courage League season.

One final gripe. I had been reliably informed that The Stoop was dingy, drab and depressing - all the things that interlopers traditionally say about most rugby league grounds and thus the perfect opportunity for a bit of comeback.

Sad to say, it seemed perfectly pleasant; still, it depends what you're used to.

London Broncos: Hauff; Riley, McKenna, Meyer (Green, 58), Cochrane; Walker, Dynevor; Mestrov (Pitt, 57), O'Donnell (Langer, 57), Shaw, Keating (Bawden, 24) Gill, Matterson.

St Helens: Prescott; Hayes, Northey, Loughlin, Sullivan (Haigh, 75); Hammond, Goulding; Perelini (Fogerty, 3), Cunningham, Dwyer, Matautia (Morley, 56), Joynt (Matautia, 69), Busby.

Referee: A Bates (Workington).