Hull K R vs London
7:45pm Friday 6th September
KCOM Craven Park
As you walk up the stairs into the first floor offices in the pavilion of all London Broncos’ Trailfinders Sports Ground house, you find a huge image of the group celebrating the Million Pound Game victory of last year.
It is a reminder of how the Broncos overcame the odds to defeat Toronto Wolfpack in Canada in the 2018 promotion decider, along with how they got to this point in the very first place after having to win their remaining games to create the Qualifiers and again to reach the aforementioned decider.
12 months after, the group wind up needing two successes in their two remaining games – this time to prevent relegation to the Championship after just 1 year back.
Broncos head coach Danny Ward is aiming to use past year’s experiences as his side input land.
“We have been in knock-out soccer scenarios before, we’ve experienced some must-win games and that’s what experience will for you,” Ward explained.
“You have got to tap into that expertise, you know exactly what it feels like and you also understand what it is going to take.
“We’ve got to draw on those experiences for the lads who had been at the Million Pound Game and again show them the hard work we went through was for all these minutes today.”
The Broncos head into KCOM Craven Park with won one, and the very first of those games is that Friday off to Hull Kingston Rovers, live on Sky Sports and lost one against the Robins so far.
One person who knows all about what’s currently waiting in store for your Londoners is Kieran Dixon, who spent two seasons playing for Rovers before returning to his home club because of his second spell in 2017.
That the winger scored 28 attempts with the memories of playing and the derbies with competitions Hull FC, in 39 appearances, together with incorporating at the 2016 Challenge Cup final.
“It was much different to what I’m used to,” Dixon said. “Obviously I had a great deal of growing up to do, leaving and going up there.
“I had been in my and still young – not so I grew up too much, but I grew up just enough – but the rugby was wonderful.
“To proceed from here, where you’ve got a loyal fan-base but not the biggest, to playing at a scene with six or even 7,000 people weekly was eye-opening and the very first Hull Derby was some thing I will never forget.
“They’re incredible games and I’m glad I played a few of them, but I am glad to return home now.”
Ward will find himself up against one of the former classmates in Hull KR head coach Tony Smith, who was in charge at Leeds Rhinos if the Broncos boss made his way as a young prop at Headingley.
Three adjustments have been made by smith to Rovers’ 19-man squad away to Catalans Dragons that raised the team of this Broncos, with Mitch Garbutt Craig Hall along with Matt Parcell returning after spells out wounded.
Victory on Friday are the perfect solution for Smith to top off a week that saw him agree a fresh three-year contract with the team and will protect the Yorkshire side’s position in Super League for 2020.
“He’s a fantastic coach, probably among the finest I’ve worked with,” Ward said. “He was huge for my game coming through at Leeds, he assisted me so much and he is an excellent coach.
“He has certainly attracted some stability there and they’ve obviously seen a lot of development because he has only signed a contract, which is very good for both Hull KR to understand where they’re likely to be with Tony and I’m sure he will continue to push them to become among the very best clubs.
“But hopefully we will get the business done Friday night”
Ward has made just 1 change to the Broncos’ 19-man squad from last Sunday defeat at home to Leeds Rhinos, together with Daniel Hindmarsh.
Hull KR 19-man team: Craig Hall, Ben Crooks, Jimmy Keinhorst, Ryan Shaw, Danny McGuire, Robbie Mulhern, Mose Masoe, Joel Tomkins, Weller Hauraki, Mitch Garbutt, Chris Atkin, Danny Addy, Kane Linnett, Josh Drinkwater, Will Dagger, Daniel Murray, Matt Parcell, Dean Hadley, Kyle Trout
London Broncos 19-man squad: Jordan Abdull, Guy Armitage, Eddie Battye, Rob Butler, James Cunningham, Kieran Dixon, Matty Fozard, Matt Gee, Daniel Hindmarsh, Elliot Kear, Olsi Krasniqi, Brock Lamb, Will Lovell, Nathan Mason, Ryan Morgan, Jay Pitts, Alex Walker, Rhys Williams, Luke Yates