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Round 26 -
Saturday Game Preview: Giants and Broncos battle to stay in touch
Former London Broncos half-back Chris Thorman takes his in-form Huddersfield side to his old club on Saturday for what he says is their biggest game for a decade.
Three successive wins have lifted the Giants level on points with the Broncos as the race for the sixth engage Super League play-off spot reaches an exciting climax.
There are three rounds of the regular season left and the outcome should become much clearer after the showdown at Griffin Park.
?I think from our point of view, it?s the biggest game the club has had for 10 years,? said Thorman.
?It?s that big. If we don?t win, we?re basically out of the play-offs and that?s not something we want to even think about.
?We would then be two points behind. They?ve got Salford and Widnes left to play and we?ve got Wigan and Bradford. So, if we lose, we?re leaving ourselves a lot to do.?
Huddersfield lost by nine points at Griffin Park six weeks ago but they have struck form at the right time, scoring 150 points in their three matches since that 35-26 defeat, while the Broncos have conceded 94 points in their last two outings.
Thorman insists the Giants have played at a consistently high level all season but admits a victory of any description is crucial.
?We?ve won three on the bounce but I feel we?ve been performing well all year,? said the 24-year-old Huddersfield skipper. ?Even when we didn?t get the results, our performances have been good quality.
?But winning is the main thing right now. It doesn?t matter how good the performance is, we?re aiming for the two points to take us another step up the ladder.?
Thorman, a Geordie who began his professional career under John Kear at Sheffield Eagles seven years ago, was London?s leading points-scorer in 2003 with 81 goals and eight tries and, after a spell with Australian club Parramatta last year, has played his way into the initial Great Britain squad for the end-of-season Gillette Tri-Nations Series.
His current points tally of 238 puts him in fourth place in the engage Super League list, just behind former house-mate Paul Sykes of the Broncos, and he is looking forward to renewing a few acquaintances.
?I had a few decent performances there so it?s always nice to go back,? he said.
?It makes a difference when you live with those players as well. I spent a lot of time with the likes of Rob Purdham, Paul Sykes and Neil Budworth, who is unfortunately injured at the moment.
?I still keep in touch with a few of them and I am also pretty close with Tony Rea. I have got lot of respect for Tony, I appreciate his coaching ability.?
If Huddersfield are to maintain their play-off push, Thorman and Paul March will need to get the better of their half-back duel with Australians Mark McLinden and Luke Dorn, who have been two of London?s key performers this year.
Thorman played against former Canberra ace McLinden in the NRL last year but it is the hitherto little-known Dorn who has most caught the eye this season with 19 tries in 24 matches.
?They have both been pretty consistent in attack for them this year,? said Thorman. ?They are quite similar players actually, both good on their feet.
?I knew Dorn was at the Roosters and know he?s been at St George Illawarra but Super League maybe suits him a little bit more than the NRL did.
?I?ve been impressed with him this year. Both times I enjoyed playing against him so I?m looking forward to a third time and hopefully I?ll be victorious.?
Huddersfield will be virtually at full strength as they have full-back Paul Reilly and Australian centre James Evans back from injury and will give a late fitness test to prop forward Jim Gannon.
Gannon was initially ruled out for four to six weeks after dislocating a thumb against Warrington earlier this month but will travel with the squad to London. Reilly (rib) and Evans (hamstring) both missed the Giants? 68-16 win over Leigh.
Huddersfield, fresh from a two-day training camp at an RAF base near York, are still without skipper Ben Roarty and winger Stuart Donlan.
London Broncos v Huddersfield Giants, Griffin Park, Saturday September 3
London 18-man squad: Armour, Dorn, Lucky Luisi, Lolohea, Wells, Williams, Mbu, Mateo, Trindall, Stephenson, Bradley-Qalilawa, Ablett, Tookey, Hopkins, Smith, Sykes, Haumono, Highton.
Huddersfield 18-man squad: Reilly, O?Hare, Evans, De Vere, Thorman, March, Drew, Gannon, Nero, Gene, S. Jones, Crabtree, Grayshon, White, Jackson, McDonald, Greenwood, St Hilaire.
Referee: R Silverwood
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Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for this great article.