Catalans Dragons were made to work for victory against London Broncos in the Qualifiers. The hosts came out on top 20-18 despite a brilliant effort from their Championship counterparts. Luke Walsh was at the heart of the attack for the hosts while London’s defence was remarkable at times, showing just why they’re one of the heavyweights in the second tier.
London opened the scoring in the seventh minute courtesy of William Barthau. A barnstorming run from Matt Davis opened up space and his pass to Barthau allowed the Frenchman to cross against his former side. Jarrod Sammut added the extras for an early 6-0 lead. Catalans responded in emphatic fashion with a superb last tackle play from half-backs Walsh and Richie Myler. Walsh’s banana kick found the Leeds-bound Myler who did magnificently well to get the ball down. The former converting to level the scores. The game was a bit scrappy after the Catalans’ equalising try and that suited London down to the ground as they were well and truly in the contest. They got their reward for solid defending inside the Dragons half as Rhys Williams touched down in the corner from a tidy scrum play. Sammut couldn’t convert but with just over ten minutes remaining of the first period, the Broncos led 10-6. Catalans searched for their second try of the first half but kept being denied by the Broncos sturdy defence. Justin Horo, Louis Anderson and Julian Bousquet were all held up in separate sets before the French side finally got over the whitewash with seconds to spare. Brayden Wiliame spotted a gap and capitalised by touching down. Walsh converted to give Catalans a two-point lead at half-time.
With no points scored in the opening stages of the second half, the capital club were eyeing a shock result to kickstart their Qualifiers campaign. The final quarter was on the horizon when London opted to take the two points from a penalty and Sammut’s attempt hit the target and the game was all square at 12-12. Catalans regained the lead through a penalty of their own. In the 64th minute, the ever reliable Walsh knocked over the goal and it was the Super League side in front once again. And it didn’t take long for the hosts to extend their advantage as Anderson crossed the whitewash on the last tackle to the dismay of the Broncos defenders. Walsh made it a two score game with the conversion. Barthau had a try ruled out by the video referee as the Broncos tried to get back into the game. In the last minute of the game, Mark Ioane posted a consolation score as the Broncos failed to give in. Sammut’s conversion cut the deficit to two points.