I set off to the Hive on a sweltering hot Saturday hoping that maybe this would be the game Broncos won; but then as a Bronco stalwart I’ve hoped that for every visit this season. I had very kindly been invited to join some fellow fans at the sponsors’ lunch; I do have to say the fare served up at the Hive is really very good, a nice start to the afternoon. As kick off time approached it was good to see a fit and happy Tony Rae; accompanied by his 2 sons Sonny and Harvey. I took my seat and found myself sat next to Harvey, in his words, nearly 6. Now this is one very astute little lad who knows his rugby league; his prediction – ‘Broncos will score, but they will lose’. One of the things that has endured that I’ve walked away with a smile no matter what the end result is that this team have not been ‘nilled’ this season – eat your hearts out Saint Helens! This may be a report that drifts off half way, so I’ll apologise in advance if that proves to be the case.
And, so to the game. As always Hull KR were the bigger team, this should never be a surprise or worth a mention, but just once I’d love to look up and think, ooh we’re bigger! There are always key players to look out for when teams visit and for Hull KR my initial focus was on Dave Hodgson and Ade Gardner, both classy players who’ve played at the highest level for years; they didn’t disappoint; well other than the fact that I’m a Broncos fan! Hull KR kicked off, Broncos didn’t make too much ground and their kick in return was poor, landing straight in the aforementioned Ade Gardners’ hands. The kicking side of the Broncos’ game has been below par this season and will have to be worked on in the close season; so much advantage can be gained from a kick placed in the right part of the field. Hull KR had a bit of a nothing set, but Travis Burns showed his ability to duck the tackle, evading several Broncos’ attempts. Broncos attacked well, spreading the ball, Denny Solomona kicked the ball down the line, running into Ade Gardner, who basically stood his ground, much to Solomona’s disquiet. Liam Salter went on the attack for Hull KR, choosing to go alone rather than make the pass that would have most probably resulted in a try. Jordan Atkins made a great tackle and foiled the attack. The next attack close to the line involved Adam Walker, he was tackled but as has happened so often it wasn’t a man and ball tackle and he was able to offload to Josh Hodgson who scored an easy try. The try was converted by Travis Burns, that comment I may well cut and paste for the rest of the report!
Matt Cook, the Broncos captain who has persevered and played his heart out this season made a great break but Broncos weren’t able to capitalise. Hull KR went on the attack again through Craig Hall and Liam Salter the Broncos players put some good tackles in this time and Hull KR made a bit of a mess of their final kick. However the next score for the visitors wasn’t far behind Greg Eden sailed through a non tackle (if there is such a thing) by Denny Solomona, and take the copy and paste comment to mean it was converted. Broncos gave some cause for excitement after a superb pass by Scott Moore to Ryan Atkins; he backed himself and made a great run down the line, but was well tackled. One thing that can be said about this season is that we always see bursts of decent attacking play from the Broncos. Hull KR’s next try came from a high kick, the Broncos didn’t deal with the ball and Dave Hodgson flicked the ball back to Kevin Larroyer who sailed over the line; and yes, Travis Burns added the extras! Greg Eden benefited from a lackadaisical defence as he went on a run with intent, everything about his body language said, ‘I’m scoring here’ and score he did. In spite of the fact that Broncos offered little in the way of defence Eden’s speed meant the try was an exciting one to watch; Burns kicked successfully. At this point Harvey (nearly 6) gave his verdict on the game ‘I think we’re not doing very well’ an observant young man! Showing a level of flair Broncos won the ball from the kick off and stormed forward in attack, Denny Solomona looked to have scored but dropped the ball at the vital moment! The final act of the half was a penalty for Hull KR as time had ticked away the Burns stepped up and scored the 2 points rugby union stylie.
Things looked to have started well for the home team in the 2nd half as Nick Slyney, another player who always gives his all, made a great break. The ball was however lost and Liam Salter ran the length of he pitch to score Hull KR’s 1st try of the half. Thomas Minns had matched him for speed as he soared away but was coming from the opposite side of the pitch; he caught Salter as he scored. You have to admire that determination from a team 26 nil down at that point. I can’t quite believe I’m going to type this next – Burns missed the kick! Jordan Atkins got his name on the score sheet for Broncos with a deserved try for him personally; he had a clear run along the line and took full advantage. The try wasn’t converted, but again Broncos wouldn’t finish the game with a zero. Annoyingly the next try for Hull KR although well taken by Mick Weyman was a soft one as a nothing kick was virtually shunned by the Broncos defence, giving an easy chance. Travis Burns resumed normal service and added the 2. Ade Gardner wasn’t to be denied the chance to get his name on the score sheet, again the defence didn’t trouble the Hull KR attack but the try was a well worked one as Gardner ran down his wing. The points were racking up! Greg Eden, who I thought played a great game, showed his pace again linking with Ade Gardner, Eden was tackled but Broncos gave away a penalty. As has been the way all season, and in reality is the way in most rugby league games no matter who’s playing, a penalty in a dangerous position led to a try for Adam Walker, Burns added to his tally with the kick. At this point the joyous fans from Hull KR were doing a conga which was funny to see, a shame the stewards spoilt their fun a little.
The ball was knocked on by Hull KR from the kick off, and this time Broncos were able to capitalise from an error made by the opposition in their own half. The ball was passed out from the scrum to Jordan Atkins who backed himself to run in and score much to the delight of the home crowd! Some of the Hull KR fans joined in the Broncos chants, with irony I’m sure but it was nice to hear. Oscar Thomas kicked the conversion to take the Broncos to 10. I think at this point I may go to my listing of the tries method of match reporting common on other sites; it feels rather lazy but even a week later it’s disheartening writing the report. So, Mick Weyman scored his 2nd, converted by Burns, Liam Salter added another, converted of course by Burns, Greg Eden capped off a great game for him, again running with great speed, Burns missed the conversion!! The final whistle came with the score at London Broncos 10 Hull KR 62. Not the best day at the office for the Broncos but again no zero; the London team are already relegated and many of the players know they’re off to a new team next season. The remaining games are likely to be as challenging, but again, I didn’t come away from this game feeling some of the anger I did last season as highly paid players made no effort. It’s clear the club are building for a future, let’s hope it’s one with some good wins to look forward to. Hull KR are battling for a place in the Top 8 and while they clearly didn’t face great opposition they did at times show great flair; the others in that top 8 need to keep looking over their shoulders.