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Super League: London Broncos finish season on a high
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London Broncos avoided finishing bottom of the Super League with a 34-22 win at Hull KR, condemning Salford to the wooden spoon.
Craig Hall, Josh Gudzek and Omari Caro all went over for the Robins in the first 23 minutes, building up a 16-point lead for the hosts.
But London hit back in style, with youngster Mason Caton-Brown scoring a hat-trick before Jamie Soward (two) and Mark Bryant scored to turn the game on its head.
Robins coach Craig Sandercock rested the majority of his first team ahead of Saturday's elimination play-off game at St Helens but that did not stop the home side from opening the scoring when Hall, who was deputising for skipper Michael Dobson, broke down the left flank.
Two plays later 18-year-old Guzdek marked his Super League debut with a try from his first touch and Hall converted for a 6-0 lead after just one minute of play.
Hall was back on converting duties 10 minutes after scoring his own try, having been set up brilliantly by Lincoln Withers.
The Australian broke down the middle and sent Hall off to finish the job off in style under the posts. His second conversion made it 12-0.
It got worse for London as a slick move on the left-hand side ended with Kris Welham showing quick hands to send Caro over against the club he played for last season.
London finally got on the scoreboard in the 27th minute thanks to two pieces of brilliance from Mike Bishay.
He took a difficult pass in his stride before weighing a perfect kick to the left-hand side for Caton-Brown to score, but Soward, who played State of Origin last season, missed the conversion to leave the Broncos trailing 16-4.
It was just what the Broncos needed and Soward was now enjoying himself, so much so that he was next on the scoresheet.
Closing in on the Robins' line, he threw a couple of dummy passes to stroll through and score under the posts. Soward's conversion made it 16-10 with nine minutes of the first half remaining.
Trailing by a converted try, London started the second half determined to end their season on a high. Soward kicked a 40/20 but Dan Sarginson's knock on ended that attack.
The visitors did manage to sort things out shortly afterwards thanks to former KR hooker Ben Fisher.
His break looked to end in a try but he was hauled down a couple of metres short of the line. Nevertheless, he got up quickly to send Soward over for an easy try and the latter's conversion levelled the game at 16-16.
Suddenly the Broncos were on top and Soward's creativity was causing problems in the KR defence.
His inch-perfect kick was brilliantly plucked from the sky by Caton-Brown for his second try of the match and Soward converted for a 22-16 lead.
The Robins replied through their returning vice-captain Welham.
Chasing Hall's kick, he managed to get his hands to the ball before the London defenders and Hall converted to make it 22-22 with 22 minutes left to play.
London's latest talent, Caton-Brown, completed his hat-trick in the 67th minute after more creative play from Soward.
The scrum-half's long cut-out pass exposed the Robins' deficiencies in defence for the Enfield youngster to score in the left-hand corner and Soward converted to make it 28-22 with 13 minutes remaining.
Soward's drop goal attempt was soon blocked by Hall, whose interception moments later allowed the Robins to turn defence into attack, but a Tyla Hepi error ended that opportunity.
London ended the game and their troubled season on a high with the final score of the game.
Fittingly, it was the retiring prop Mark Bryant who powered his way over from close range and Soward allowed the former to convert for a 34-22 win.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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