They say defence wins games. That certainly proved the case for Championship coach of the year Danny Ward’s London team in Toronto.


In a tense and exciting game that managed to avoid any tries at all, the Broncos won a Super League place in 2019 by two penalty goals to one – or four points to two.

A tight first 40 minutes saw just two points separate the sides as an eighth-minute London penalty goal proved to be the only score.


London played the with a speed in both defence and attack which frustrated Toronto throughout the half.

But the Wolfpack nearly got the dream start that they clearly wanted.


Young Broncos fullback Alex Walker spilled the ball from the first end-of-set kick, Toronto pounced on the loose ball and crossed the line.


But referee Chis Kendall sent it upstairs to video ref Phil Bentham with a ‘no try’ decision on the field. The video replay shoed that Gareth O’Brien was just in front of the ball as it was kicked and no more than a metre in front of Walker when he tried to gather it.


‘Nearly, but not quite’ was the phrase of the game when it came to tries. 


Toronto’s Josh McCrone just failed to get to a kick before the ball went dead on. 25 minutes, and was held up on 36. Earlier Mason Caton-Brown hacked a loose pass from London forward twice, before knocking on trying to gather the ball in the Broncos 10.


For their part, the visitors had two players - Pelissier and Evans - held up in one set and their own hack and chase down the left, only for the ball to bounce the. wrong way for Dixon to gather.


But London were good value for their half-time lead, dominating much of the half, while Toronto’s frustration was capped when Andy Ackers was sin+-binned eight minutes from the hooter for a late, off-the-ball tackle on Pelissier.


But they came put for the second half more focussed, forcing London drop-outs. They crossed on 49 minutes but Chis Kendall led that Ashton Sims was held up and the video ref agreed.


They crossed again on 71 minutes, only for Blake Wallace to be held up.


So it all came down to goal kicking.


Toronto’s Gareth O’Brien levelled the scores on 50minutes, kicking a penalty from half-way after a London high tackle.


But just six minutes later, London got a kickable penalty when Jake Buchanan joined a tackle late, leading with his elbow. Unsurprisingly, Jarrod Sammut opted to kick at the sticks and restored London’s lead for a 2-4 scoreline.


And there the scoring stayed - although O’Brien had a chance to level the scores in the 68th minutes, but put the ball across the face of the goal from 40 metres out and 10 in.


Not that there wasn’t plenty of trying for tries in the last 10 minutes, but defences stood strong: especially London’s well drilled group tackles on any Toronto player who ever looked likely to get near the whitewash.


Toronto: O’Brien, Caton-Brown, Rawsthorn, Wheeler, Russell, McCrone, Wallace, Lussick, Beswick, Sims, Dixon, whiting, Emmitt. Replacements: Buchanan, Ackers, Sidlow, Higson.

Goals: O’Brien, pen


London: Walker, Williams, Kear, Hellewell, Dixon, Pitts, Sammut, Evans, Pelissier, Ioane, Gee, Lovell, Hindmarsh. Replacements: Spencer, Battye, Butler, Davies.

Goals: Sammut, 2 pens.


Referee: Chris Kendall

Att: 9,266

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