Keyes unlocks Leeds to give Broncos a win at long last

 

Raise the Bronco-coloured bunting. After 24 games, in which they have conceded close to 1,100 points, London Broncos have finally won a Super League match. A full 11 months after their last win, the bottom club in Super League, whose relegation was confirmed in mid-July, have got off the mark. Joe Keyes was central to the triumph, a 40-36 victory that denied Leeds second place in the table, as he ran in a hat-trick of tries – two in the last 10 minutes.

That Leeds were under-strength with an eye on next week’s Challenge Cup final, making nine changes from last week’s match, mattered little to the Broncos coach Joe Grima, whose men have been beaten from pillar to post in the previous 23 games. “I know Leeds had players missing today but they still had a quality team out there, and to come back like that is hard to believe,” Grima said. “Given the season we have had, to produce a performance like that takes some doing.

“If I’m totally honest, I am pretty emotional about it all. There’s a great atmosphere in the dressing room, although most of the players don’t actually know the words to any victory songs.”

For the first few minutes at the Hive yesterday the Broncos’ losing record looked set to continue. Zak Hardaker provided for Kallum Watkins and Josh Walters to put Rhinos two tries up within six minutes and although the home side replied with a score of their own midway through the first half through Jordan Atkins – followed swiftly by Keyes’ first – they were 30-8 down four minutes into the second half.

Kieran Dixon, making his first Broncos start for 10 months following knee surgery, began the revival, racing in for a try in the corner, before Keyes’ scores nudged the Broncos ahead, then Josh Drinkwater’s late penalty sealed the win.

Bradford, who like London are already doomed to relegation, made it three wins in a row by beating Hull 34-28 at Odsal. On-loan Hull players Joe Arundel and Jay Pitts scored against their parent club as the Bulls came from 12 points down to outscore their opponents six tries to four with Jamie Foster, who also had a loan spell at Hull, adding five goals for the hosts.

Huddersfield maintained their late-season momentum with a fourth straight win to leave Widnes sweating over their play-off spot.

While a 28-14 victory, masterminded by Danny Brough, kept alive the Giants’ hopes of a top-four finish, Widnes are just two points ahead of Hull KR in their battle to hang onto eighth place and secure a first-ever play-off spot. Despite the victory, Giants coach Paul Anderson said: “Both teams were dire, to be honest. I felt like I was going to play myself, it was so slow at one point.”

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