Widnes 20-21 London Broncos: Jarrod Sammut's late drop-goal stuns Widnes
Last Updated: 10/08/18 11:29am
Jarrod Sammut's late drop-goal ensured that London Broncos started the Super 8s Qualifiers with a 21-20 win over Super League side Widnes Vikings.
The Broncos, who finished second in the Championship, trailed 6-0 at the break after Olly Ashall-Bott's 30th-minute try was converted by Krisnan Inu.
Mark Ioane's four-pointer opened their account early in the second half before they found themselves ten-points adrift at 14-4 down.
But three unanswered tries, one from Daniel Harrison and two from Kieran Dixon, put the visitors ahead until with six minutes to go, Inu levelled the game at 20 points apiece and set up a box-office finish.
And in the final moments, the Broncos kept cool heads and created the drop-goal opportunity that Sammut nailed.
For Widnes, the result sees them suffer a 17th successive defeat and starts their Super 8s Qualifers campaign off on the wrong foot.
They now head on the road to the AJ Bell Stadium to face Salford Red Devils, again in front of our Sky Sports cameras, while the Broncos will meet Leeds Rhinos at home.
Both sides showed considerable defensive power in the opening exchanges of the match. This continued for the whole of the first half as the two teams missed just 11 tackles combined, having made 372 in 40 minutes.
Ashall-Bott's crash ball line ensured that the defensive deadlock was eventually broken. The full-back made the most of Aaron Heremaia's final pass and Inu's extras created a six-point lead for the hosts at the interval.
The Broncos started the second half with a spring in their step and Mark Ioane used his considerable power to reward their vigour with four early points.
An easy conversion attempt for Sammut rebounded off the post, however, he would go on to prove that it was just a minor blip on his radar.
Ill-discipline from the London based side cost them next and led to two points from the boot of Inu. Chris Dean added to that with their second try of the night and it meant that the hosts were well-placed with a 14-4 advantage.
The Broncos remained confident in their processes, though, and duly scored three tries of their own in a potent eight-minute spell.
First, Harrison latched onto a neat pass from Api Pewhairangi, and four minutes later Alex Walker sent Dixon across for a simple run-in out wide.
At 14-14 the Vikings were still firmly in the mix but Liam Finn's lofted pass was pounced on by the dynamic Dixon. The Bronco sprinted in from 70 metres out and Sammut's conversion gave them a six-point lead as time ticked down.
Finn made amends after with a towering kick that was eventually finished off by Inu. He converted his own score to level the game at 20-20 and it set pulses racing for a tense finish.
Both sides were fully aware of just how important a victory could be for them and it was the Championship outfit who were able to orchestrate a final successful drop-goal move.
Sammut's sweet strike, under considerable pressure, clinched a memorable victory for the visitors and commenced their Super 8s Qualifers campaign in style.