Halifax Panthers stunned by rejuvenated London Broncos

On a day of surprises in the Betfred Championship, Halifax Panthers were well beaten by a rejuvenated London Broncos side.

By Mark Berry
Monday, 25th July 2022, 8:28 am
Updated Monday, 25th July 2022, 8:31 am

Halifax, who had to contend with six suspensions for the trip down south, never recovered from their poor start and had to settle for a 38-10 defeat.

This is just the second loss for the club in 15 games, with the last defeat coming away in Leigh almost two months ago.

The result all but ends Fax’s pursuit of the top two, with Featherstone and the Centurions now seven and ten points ahead respectively.

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Action from Halifax Panthers' defeat at London Broncos. Picture: Simon Hall

However, Halifax will remain third in the table ahead of next weekend’s Summer Bash, after play-off rivals Batley and York also succumbed to defeats against Widnes and Featherstone.

London, who have now won three games from four under new head coach Mike Eccles, got to work early against the Panthers and scored the opener after just three minutes.

A cross-field kick was met by Ilies Macani who batted the ball back for Dalton Grant, before the Welshman powered over the whitewash. Oli Leyland added the extras with a successful conversion.

Halifax looked for an immediate response but despite matching the tempo of their opponents, they lacked a cutting edge in key areas.

With quarter-of-an-hour gone, Fax conceded a costly penalty deep in their own half, which quickly turned into more points for London as Paul Ulberg walked in at the corner.

Less than five minutes later, Macani claimed a grubber kick inside the goal line area to go over for London’s third try.

The situation continued to deteriorate as the Broncos fired in another effort through Will Lovell, who strolled over the whitewash after receiving a short ball from Leyland.

Halifax eventually stopped the rot but failed to land a try of their own in the opening half. Ben Tibbs came closest after stepping back inside of his counterpart, only to be stopped by an inspired Broncos defence.

Another big opportunity came seconds away from the half-time hooter as James Woodburn-Hall collected a chip over the top before being shoved into touch by Alex Walker.

With the Panthers 20-0 down, early second-half tries were needed if that deficit was to be overturned.

Simon Grix’s side certainly got off to a better start as Woodburn-Hall pierced the Broncos defence on the 55th minute mark after a solid bit of build-up play from Joe Keyes.

However, instead of building on that score, Halifax were punished once more as Dean Parata danced his way through the defence before going over. Leyland’s conversion moved the hosts 26-6 ahead with just 20 minutes remaining.

Moments later, London landed another painful blow as Siti Moceidreke unleashed Ulberg on the outside. The winger was able to find Walker on his inside, with the fullback crossing the tryline to move the hosts 32-6 up.

James Saltonstall scored a late conciliation try for the visitors, but it was London who had the last say as Macani raced away 70 metres before going under the sticks.

Halifax Panthers: James Woodburn-Hall, Zack McComb, Joe Arundel, Ben Tibbs, James Saltonstall, Oli Leyland Louis Jouffret, Joe Keyes, Will Calcott, Brandon Moore, Dan Murray, Cole Oakley, Matt Garside, Adam Tangata. Subs: Kyle Wood, Jacob Fairbank, Nathan Mason, Joe Martin

London Broncos: Alex Walker, Paul Ulberg, Siti Moceidreke, Dalton Grant, Ilies Macani, Dean Parata, Oli Leyland, Wellington Albert, Sam Davis, Jordan Williams, Will Lovell, Rhys Curran, Rinaldo Palumbo. Subs: Lewis Bienek, Brad Foster, Rob Oakley, Rob Tuliatu.

Halifax Tries: Woodburn-Hall (55), Saltonstall (68). Halifax Goals: Keyes 1/2

London Tries: Grant (3), Ulberg (16), Macani (21, 77), Lovell (25), Parata (58), Walker (60). London Goals: Leyland 5/7

Match Official: Matt Rossleigh