Sunday Social: Fireworks drama for Canberra, London bow out, Legends say goodbye

James Messenger

It is time for Love Rugby League’s Sunday Social, your alternative recap of the serious and not so serious talking points from the past seven days. 

How about this for a dramatic start to the play-off finals over in the NRL? Joey Leilua was caught in the eye by remnants of a firework as he headed out on the pitch at AAMI Park and was almost forced to miss the game. Miraculously, he still took part in the game and assisted ex-Wigan star John Bateman’s match-winning try in the 78th minute as the Raiders shocked the Storm on their own turf.

A 19-10 defeat on the final day of the regular season meant that London were relegated from Super League at the first-time of asking. Nevertheless, it was a season to be proud of for the Broncos, and their away following gave them a huge reception as they left the field at Belle Vue.

After clinching third place, Salford are already in full preparation mode ahead of next week’s play-off Qualifier Game against Wigan at the DW Stadium. They’ve defied the odds all season and bill themselves as the underdogs, but can they upset the form book once again and take a step closer to Old Trafford?

After surviving the skin of their teeth, Hull KR gave a fitting farewell for a legend of the game; Danny McGuire. The 36-year-old, an eight-time Super League Champion with over 450 Super League appearances to his name, was given a guard of honour by his team-mates as he prepares to hang up his boots and take on a recruitment role at the Robins in 2020.

Another player calling time on his career, Jamie Jones-Buchanan took the adulation of the Headingley crowd on his final Leeds appearance. The 38-year-old has spent 20 years at the Rhinos, achieving numerous pieces of silverware, and has also represented England and Great Britain during his time in the game.

Finally, winger Tommy Makinson will have extra reason to celebrate after Friday’s win at Hull FC. The St Helens star scored a first-half hat-trick to finish the campaign as top try scorer with 23 in 29 games, pipping Leeds’ Ash Handley and Salford’s Niall Evalds by one score.

More on site

Rival clubs would have “bad taste” if London weren’t relegated, says Tony Smith

Logan Tomkins to leave Salford at season’s end

Salford finish third after golden point win over Hull KR – talking points & player ratings

London relegated from Super League

Salford sign Featherstone pair