Championship Preview: London’s calling for another top four place

James Gordon

London have been quietly going about their business in recent seasons and enter 2018 under a new head coach in Danny Ward.

The loss of Andrew Henderson to Warrington is undoubtedly a blow to the Broncos, and it is perhaps the uncertainty over the future structure of the game that cost them the services of the Australian.

All London want is assurances over on-pitch progress, to enable them to recruit sufficiently, particularly as they cannot enjoy the dual-registration relationships that some of their Championship rivals have due to location.

Another blow was the departure of William Barthau, who has gone to Toulouse, though Ward will still have faith in an exciting half-back pairing of Api Pewhairangi and Jarrod Sammut.

They are reliant on youngsters stepping up to the plate to cover the disappointing loss of Andy Ackers, while the reliable Matt Garside and Junior Roqica have both moved on too.

That aside, they have kept a relatively settled squad, with only two arrivals in St Helens’ Matty Fleming and former centre Will Lovell, and with Ward and assistant Jamie Langley having been around London for a while, continuity will be good.

Captain Jay Pitts said: “It’s been seamless. Wardy has been in the programme a long time now and everything’s pretty similar.

“We’re going to take every game as it comes, perform the best we can, prepare the best we can and see where we go from there.

“Every team has quality and it’s going to be tough but all we can do is look after ourselves and let everyone else do what they do.”

London competed well in The Qualifiers last season and were only a couple of points away from recording wins against Super League opposition that would have propelled them in to the Million Pound Game or even beyond.

They might just be a team that sneaks under the radar, with all focus on Leigh and Toronto.

Head Coach: Danny Ward
Captain: Jay Pitts
Key Man: Jarrod Sammut
One to Watch: Alex Walker

Ins: Matty Fleming (St Helens), Will Lovell (London S)
Outs: Matt Garside (Bradford), Andy Ackers (Toronto), William Barthau (Toulouse), Ben Pointer (Newcastle T), Junior Roqica (Newcastle K), Callum Bustin (Castleford), Dalton Grant (Bradford), Mark Offerdahl (Sheffield)

Squad: 1 Elliot Kear, 2 Rhys Williams, 3 Ben Hellewell, 4 Matty Fleming, 5 Kieran Dixon, 6 Api Pewhairangi, 7 Jarrod Sammut, 8 Tom Spencer, 9 James Cunningham, 10 Mark Ioane, 11 Daniel Harrison, 12 Jay Pitts, 13 Matt Davis, 14 Alex Walker, 15 Eddie Battye, 16 Matty Gee, 17 Michael Channing, 18 Ben Evans, 19 Sadiq Adebiyi, 20 Lewis Bienek, 21 Will Lovell, 22 Kameron Pearce-Paul, 23 Rob Butler, 24 Jacob Ogden, 25 Matt Davies, 26 Daniel Hindmarsh

Prediction: 6th