REPORT: Leeds Rhinos 16-18 London Broncos

Jay Pitts’ 29th minute try was cancelled out by second half efforts from Richie Myler, Trent Merrin and Tom Briscoe.

But late scores from Matty Fozard and Will Lovell ensured the Broncos claimed a famous victory.

London now sit 7th in the Super League table, level on points with Hull FC and Hull KR, while the Rhinos remain in 11th.

Broncos coach Danny Ward said:

“We completed really well and we kicked well in the first half.

“We weren’t great in the second half and credit to Leeds, they came out steaming and were all over us.

“But credit to the boys on sticking together, sticking to the plan and showing that resilience to come back.”

Rhinos coach Dave Furner said:

“That last six minutes was very tough.

“We did a really good job at halftime to refocus and we fought really well, got ourselves into a position where we had the game in control.

“But as I said, that last six minutes hurt the group.”

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It was a slow start to the game, with both sides trading error-for-error within the first 15 minutes. One of these came on the back of Leeds’ first chance, when Konrad Hurrell barged through two Broncos defenders from 10 yards out, only to spill the ball on the visitors’ try-line.

It took a further 10 minutes for the visitors to get up the other end, but they couldn’t capitalise as Rhys Williams was held up over the line before Jordan Abdull’s grubber kick was comfortably cleaned up by Jack Walker.

The biggest cheer of the first quarter came for Leeds legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who came off the bench to make his first appearance of 2019. Jones-Buchanan is Super League’s second-oldest player and is now into his 20th season as a professional.

With 14 minutes until halftime, the game saw its first points scored. Leeds were penalised for offside 30 yards out in front of the posts, giving Kieran Dixon the chance to kick at goal. The winger made no mistake to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

Just three minutes later and the Broncos had surprisingly increased their lead. A miscommunication between the Rhinos defence saw Rhys Williams bat Jordan Abdull’s grubber kick back into play from over the dead-ball line for Jay Pitts to collect and ground with ease. Dixon added the extras to give his side an eight-point advantage going into the break.

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Despite being behind, the Rhinos came out firing in the second half and were on the scoreboard within four minutes. With the words of coach Dave Furner still ringing in his ears, Richie Myler took the ball to the Broncos’ line from 10 yards out, before stepping off his left foot through a gap and going over next to the posts. Tui Lolohea converted to cut the deficit to just two points.

Jack Walker, up against namesake Alex at fullback, thought he’d given Leeds the lead moments later when he went over on the back of a slick passing move to the right. Referee Chris Kendall, however, had other ideas and pulled him back for an obstruction in the build-up.

Kendall, though, couldn’t deny Trent Merrin his first try in a Rhinos shirt on 55 minutes. Tom Briscoe managed to get underneath Myler’s last-tackle bomb, before moving the ball inside through Liam Sutcliffe and Mikolaj Oledzki for Merrin to crash over under the posts.

Just five minutes later and the Rhinos had scored their third try of the game. A Jack Walker break saw the Broncos’ defence scramble and, two tackles later, the ball was flung wide to Tom Briscoe, who stepped inside Rhys Williams and managed to ground the ball. Lolohea couldn’t convert this time, leaving the score at 16-8.

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With the clock against them, London rallied a late charge and pulled themselves within a try five minutes from time. Matty Fozard managed to dive on his own grubber kick ahead of Jack Walker to make it 16-12.

And just two minutes later, they were in front. A break down the left saw the Broncos within 20 yards of the Leeds line on the last tackle. Abdull’s bomb towards the posts was batted back into the grateful arms of Will Lovell, who dropped to the floor like a possum to score. The pressure was all on Dixon to add the extras, however he calmly slotted them over to ensure the Broncos claimed a huge scalp over the former Super League champions.

Leeds Rhinos: Tries – Myler (43′), Merrin (55′), Briscoe (60′)
Goals – Lolohea (2)

London Broncos: Tries – Pitts (29′), Fozard (75′), Lovell (77′)
Goals – Dixon (3)

Leeds Rhinos: 1 Walker, 2 Briscoe, 29 Newman, 4 Hurrell, 5 Handley, 6 Lolohea, 7 Myler, 18 Peteru, 9 Parcell, 19 Oledzki, 16 Ferres (c), 15 L. Sutcliffe, 11 Merrin. Subs: 8 Cuthbertson, 20 Jones-Buchanan, 25 Donaldson, 32 Holroyd.
London Broncos: 1 Walker, 5 Dixon, 19 Morgan, 4 Kear, 2 Williams, 6 Abdull, 7 Cunningham (c), 8 Battye, 9 Pelissier, 23 Butler, 20 Yates, 12 Pitts, 29 M.Davis. Subs: 11 Lovell, 14 Fozard, 15 Richards, 18 Mason.

Referee: Chris Kendall

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