London Broncos 30-44 Salford City Reds


New recruit Jamie Soward impressed coach Tony Rea


By Andrew Belt

London Broncos were leapfrogged by Salford in the Super League table after a woeful first-half showing damaged the hosts’ efforts on Saturday at Twickenham Stoop.

Only a 36th-minute Erjon Dollapi try prevented London from going in scoreless at the break as the visitors tore through the Broncos to notch up a 28-point lead.

The hosts restored some pride for the second 40, with Jamie Soward pulling the strings, and Mike Bishay, Jacob Fairbank, Soward and Dan Sarginson going over the whitewash.

Such was Soward’s influence from the bench, having only arrived in England on the morning of the match, that head coach Tony Rea admitted he should have started the Australian scrum-half.

Rea said: “In hindsight, it would have been good to have started him. My compliments to the guy. I am delighted with what he has done for the team.”

The inexperienced nature of the side was exposed when the City Reds opened their account in the third minute through St Helens loanee Lee Gaskell.

Salford then recorded four tries in a devastating 11-minute spell through Ashley Gibson, Jodie Broughton, Gaskell again and Wayne Godwin to virtually kill the contest by the 25th minute.

The ease with which the away side were cutting through London’s line prompted boos from sections of the 2079-strong crowd in what was a battle between the league’s bottom clubs.

Soward’s introduction a quarter of the game through added some discipline to the errant Broncos and Dollapi gave the fans something to cheer towards the end of the half.

But Gaskell’s hat-trick on the stroke of half-time time completed the rout in the first stanza to leave London with nothing but pride to reclaim after the break.

The Broncos were vastly improved from the restart and Mike Bishay squeezed through on 45 minutes for his first try in a London shirt.

Fairbank also claimed a first Broncos try three minutes later as faint hopes of a recovery were stoked but Theo Fages’ score on the hour added to Salford’s impressive tally to extinguish such a notion.

Soward capped a fantastic debut with a try of his own in the 65th minute following a great break from Fairbank on the half-way line.

Broughton picked up his second try for the visitors with ten minutes to go before London’s leading light Kieran Dixon made 70 metres before offloading to Sarginson for the final, and best, try of the game to bring the crowd to their feet.

Soward converted all five London tries while Marc Sneyd kicked six goals from eight attempts to add 12 points to Salford’s tally as the visitors took the lead in what is ultimately becoming a two-horse bid to avoid the wooden spoon.

SWLondoner Man of the Match – Jamie Soward – The 28-year-old NRL recruit brought leadership to the side when he came on and steered a young Broncos side away from a humiliating scoreline. On loan until the end of the season, on this showing, he will be worth watching and give some much-needed impetus to the end of the league season and crucial Challenge Cup game.

Photo courtesy of by NAPARAZZI, with thanks.

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