Super 8s Qualifiers: First half blitz leaves Fax chasing game

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Halifax’s mathematical hopes of making the Million Pound Game promotion play-off died in West London as they were beaten 36-14 by London Broncos in the Super 8s Qualifiers.

It was Fax’s fifth straight loss in the Qualifiers and leaves them looking at a likely seventh or eighth placed finish, even if they manage to win their last two matches, at Leigh on Friday and then at home to Featherstone.

Richard Marshall’s side, who had travelled down to the capital on Saturday afternoon, arguably lost this contest in eight first half minutes, with the Broncos - who bristled with pace and attacking potential for long spells - scoring three tries between the eighth and 16th minutes.

Half back Will Barthau touched down after dangerman Jarrod Sammut had put the defence on the back foot, full back Alex Walker backed up Barthau to score and hooker Andy Ackers plundered a third after good work from forward Mark Ioane.

With Sammut converting all three, Fax’s dream start, which had seen recalled centre Steve Tyrer score the game’s opening try inside two minutes, rapidly faded to a distant memory at 18-4.

With the wind at their backs, Fax did enjoy enough territory and possession to even things up, with both Brandon Douglas and Ben Kaye going close, but in the end had to settle for a Mitch Cahalane touchdown, the Australian diving on a James Saltonstall kick seven minutes before the break.

Tyrer’s conversion left Fax trailing 18-10 at the break, but - with both teams reduced to 12 men temporarily after Sammut and Rob Worrincy were sin binned following a scuffle early in the second half - it was the Broncos who got the crucial score, Rhys Williams crossing and Keiron Dixon kicking them 24-10 ahead.

Dixon scored himself on 63 minutes, Sammut converting, and when Elliot Kear went over, Sammut again on target to put London 36-10 up, the game was over as a contest.

Fax got some late reward, Worrincy touching down with five minutes to go after good work from Ben Johnston, but it was never enough to influence the result.

London: Walker; Williams, Kear, Pwehairangi, Dixon; Sammut, Barthau; Battye, Ackers, Ioane, Gee, Pitts, Davis. Subs: Cunningham, Garside, Evans, Bienek.

Halifax: Saltonstall; Worrincy, Barber, Tyrer, Butler; Murrell, Johnston; Morris, Kaye, Tangata, Grady, Cahalane, Grix. Subs: Fairbank, Douglas, Moore, Sio

Referee: S. Mikalauskas