Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
Broncos look to break losing streak
London Broncos have lost their last six matches to leave them perilously close to the relegation zone.
But they hinted at a return to form in last Sunday?s Cup win at Salford and captain Mark McLinden hopes they can take that into Sunday?s match at Huddersfield.
?There is a great vibe right now,? he said. ?Our training sessions have been really sharp and it?s a game we are all looking forward to.
?We?ve done a few different things this week in training which I think have been good for us.?
Huddersfield stand-off Chris Thorman, who has been troubled with a back injury for more than a month, is urging his coach Jon Sharp to pick him against his former club.
?I know everything will be down to how the fitness test goes but I really want to play if at all possible,? he said.
?It always adds a little extra spice when you play against a former club.?
Meanwhile, innovative Broncos chief executive Nic Cartwright has broken new ground by releasing his mobile telephone number to the public.
?We?ve always looked at new ways to communicate with our current and potential fans,? he said.
?I?m not sure that other chief executives give out their mobile numbers to the fans but that?s irrelevant because we are so different.?
Huddersfield 18-man: O'Hare, De Vere, Donlan, Thorman, March, Drew, Gannon, Nero, Roarty, Gene, Jones, Smith, Crabtree, Grayshon,White, Jackson, Clayton, St Hilaire.
London 18-man: Bradley-Qalilawa, Dorn, Armour, Haumono, Highton, Hopkins, Leuluai, Lolohea, Lucky Luisi, McLinden, Mbu, O'Halloran, Purdham, Smith, Sykes, Tookey, Trindall, Wells.
Referee: R Silverwood
Injuries easing for Widnes and Wakefield
Wakefield and Widnes both have players coming back from injury ahead of Sunday?s engage Super League meeting at Belle Vue.
The Wildcats are strengthened by the return of promising loose forward Rob Spicer, who will make his first appearance of the season, along with winger Colum Halpenny and prop forwards Chris Feather and Steve Snitch.
The 20-year-old Spicer played in all but two of the Wildcats last 21 matches of last season and was seen as the natural replacement for departed skipper Gareth Ellis.
He is likely to take the place of former Widnes playmaker Julian O?Neill, who has been on paternity leave.
?We?ve lost Mark Applegarth and Michael Wainwright, who both need hernia operations, but four in and two out is a positive leger,? said coach Shane McNally.
Widnes, too, have key men returning as their injury list begins to recede.
Former Wigan trio Terry O?Connor, Mick Cassidy and Gary Connolly are all back after sitting out the Vikings? Powergen Challenge Cup win at Barrow, along with ex-St Helens forward John Stankevitch.
Coach Frank Endacott also recalls threequarter Gray Viane, who was Cup-tied last Sunday, and only centre Jon Whittle remains on the casualty list with a hamstring injury.
?We?re very close to full strength,? he said. ?We?ve four experienced players back and that?s vital, especially in games like this where you need all the experience you can get.
?Everyone was going on about Wigan?s injuries but we had more injuries than another team in the championship and to key players at that.
?We were the worst hit but we never made a big thing of it. I was struggling most weeks to come up with 17 players. This week there?s going to be two or three players miss out who would be good enough to be in.?
Wakefield v Widnes, Atlantic Solutions Stadium, Sunday May 15
Wakefield 18-man: Halpenny, Demetriou, Domic, Tadulala, Rooney,Jeffries, Griffin, March, Korkidas, J. Field, Spicer, Wrench, Snitch, Elima, M. Field, Kirk, O?Neill, Feather.
Widnes 18-man: Connolly, Moule, Hughes, Emelio, Craigie, Myler, O?Connor, Millard, O?Neill, Stankevitch, Finnigan, Hulse, Whitaker, Frame, Mills, Fa-alogo, Smith, Viane.
Referee: S P Ganson
Warrington up for Wigan challenge
Warrington hope to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their last championship triumph on Sunday by keeping alive their 2005 title hopes.
Warrington, third from bottom after winning just two of their opening eight games, surged up the table on the back of a four-match winning run that earned Paul Cullen the coach-of-the-month award for April.
They were pipped in agonising circumstances at St Helens last time out but go into Sunday?s game against out-of-sorts Wigan as rare favourites, not that Cullen is under-estimating the opponents.
?There were similar circumstances when a very inexperienced Wigan team beat St Helens over Easter,? he said. ?We know we will have to be at our best to win this game and that is how we are preparing.?
Wigan, who struggled to beat French club UTC in the Challenge Cup last weekend, have won only one of their last four League matches but coach Denis Betts is hoping for a timely boost with the return of injured trio Danny Tickle, Danny Orr and Brian Carney.
?We need a lift and hopefully the return of some injured players at least will give us that,? he said.
?The hamstring injuries to Danny Orr and Brian Carney are improving, as is Danny Tickle?s bruised calf, and they?ve all been back running with us during training this week.
?I?ve not asked for any real contact work off any of them yet, but one thing in our favour this week is the longer turnaround time than usual.?
Warrington v Wigan, The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Sunday May 15
Warrington 18-man: Grose, Faa'fili, M. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Gaskell, N. Wood, Leikvoll, Clarke, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, Noone, M. Gleeson, Westwood, P. Wood, Lima, Pickersgill, Bridge.
Wigan 18-man: Vaealiki, Dallas, Aspinwall, Wild, Carney, Brown, Moran, Seu Seu, Newton, Sculthorpe, Guisset, Tickle, Allen, Godwin, Orr, McDonald, Hansen, Melling.
Referee: A Klein
Many thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for the above previews