Rugby league: Smith double breaks down the Broncos

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The Independent Online
Wigan Warriors 22 London Broncos 4

WIGAN COULD draw some satisfaction from succeeding where St Helens had failed three days earlier, beating a stubborn and determined London with a solid display.

Two tries from Tony Smith at Central Park last night pointed the way as Wigan consolidated their top-five place and while it was not the most spectacular of performances, there were enough encouraging contributions to suggest that they are finding their feet under the new coach, Andy Goodway.

It took most of a tight first half to wear down a sound London Broncos defence. When the breakthrough came, it was predictable that it should involve a penalty conceded by trying to slow the game down. Steele Retchless was the guilty man and Andy Farrell, who had missed one early chance, put this one over.

London put themselves under further pressure through Robbie Beazley's forward pass and although Lee Gilmour could not get the ball down when he crossed the line, the subsequent scrum saw Smith dart over, via a painful collision with the post, for the game's first try. The conversion by Farrell gave Wigan what was, in such a constricted game, a handy half- time lead.

After a bright start to the second half, the Broncos were hit by Wigan's best move of the game - Greg Fleming and Gary Connolly moving the ball to Jason Robinson, who showed great presence of mind in turning it back inside to give Smith his second score.

The tide seemed to be running irretrievably against London when they had Giles Thomas, standing in at scrum-half for Shaun Edwards, sent to the sin bin for tackling Greg Florimo without the ball.

The Broncos showed the new spirit they have discovered under the coaching of Les Kiss by scoring one try in his absence through Tulsen Tollett and almost claiming another when Fleming's dash was only halted by the excellent Kris Radlinski. Although they were very far from being disgraced, any lingering hope of a London victory disappeared when Beazley knocked on and, from the scrum, Gary Moore's run and off-load gave Radlinski a richly deserved try.

Five minutes from time, and with the London defence still working tenaciously, Fleming's fumble from a kick gave Wigan possession and Farrell's long pass sent in Robinson.

Wigan Warriors: Radlinski; Robinson, Moore, Connolly, Davies; Florimo, T Smith; Cowie, Cassidy, Mestrov, Gilmour, Betts, Farrell. Substitutes used: Goldspink, Haughton, Chester, M Smith.

London Broncos: Fleming; Peters, Ryan, Timu, Tollett; Hammond, Thomas; Cram, Beazley, Seibold, Retchless, Wynyard, Gill. Substitutes used: Spencer, Salter, Callaway, Sykes.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

n Wigan hope to find out today whether the Brisbane and Australia centre Steve Renouf is interested in joining them for next season.