It was the bounce back victory the side from the capital was hoping for on Sunday afternoon, defeating Whitehaven 62-4, and keeping them scoreless until the final minute.
It was a stellar performance for Api Pewhairangi’s return to rugby league and first outing in London colours – he flicked on a long missed pass to Alex Foster, in turn to Rhys Williams, who managed to break the deadlock and cross for the home side’s first of the day.
A lengthy break in play followed as Jordan Burns was attended to for a head injury, but Naiqama slotted the conversion straight through the uprights as we resumed.
Revealing early signs of a man of the match performance, a well sold show and go allowed Pewhairangi over the whitewash for his first, but certainly not last, and he crossed for his brace a mere four minutes later.
The Broncos looked to be across for a fourth inside the first 25 minutes, but Alex Foster found himself unable to ground Ackers’ kick and the ball bounced over the dead ball line.
London continued to apply pressure in both attack and defence, and holding by the Haven defence allowed a kick from Leatherbarrow to give the home side possession 20 metres out. Seeing an opportunity, a slightly unexpected but well thought out kick from Harrison allowed the captain across in the corner. Continuing exceptional form with the boot, Naiqama converted his own try, and extended London’s lead to 22-0.
A day of milestones, Jon Magrin replaced Eddie Battye in an interchange, and became only the second player in the current side (after Iliess Macani) to have played 50 games for the London Broncos.
The try-fest continued, and another clever pass from the debutant Pewhairangi to Mark Offerdahl saw him cross the line with great ease. Naiqama kicked his fourth out of five attempts, and the home side continued to run away with the score at the half time whistle.
The second 40 was no less bleak for Haven, as Ben Hellewell added a sixth try two minutes in, once more converted by the captain.
London were relentless in attack, and Mark Ioane broke his way through two tackles and handed off another, before flicking to Hellewell who also crossed for his second with ease.
A brace for Rhys Williams followed, before James Cunningham twisted his way out of a tackle for London’s ninth try of the day to hit the 50 mark.
Another break in play to tend to Haven injuries followed, but the Broncos once again ramped up the pace as soon as play resumed. Within the space of five minutes, Naiqama crossed the whitewash on the back of a well thought out pass from Pewhairangi, and Alex Foster steamed his way out of a tackle to touch down for London’s eleventh and final.
Haven’s Louis Jouffrett managed to ease Whitehaven’s pain ever so slightly, crossing at the eleventh hour before the hooter sounded. A missed conversion left the final score at 62.4
Speaking post-match, head coach, Andrew Henderson, was thoroughly impressed with the way his side responded after a disappointing loss to Featherstone the week prior.
“Really, really pleased. It was a fantastic response from the players. They deserve all the credit today – we spoke about our bounce back ability all week.
“Today it just really all came together. From the start, defensively we were aggressive. We had intent, we had purpose.
“We were professional in how we went about things. We were disciplined in what we executed and there was a ruthless streak about us.
“Every player will play their part, no matter how big or how small, in terms of what we’re going to achieve this season, and that’s a top four finish.”
London Broncos: Alex Walker, Rhys Williams, Ben Hellewell, Wes Naiqama, Elliot Kear, Api Pewhairangi, Scott Leatherbarrow, Nick Slyney, Andy Ackers, Eddie Battye, Daniel Harrison, Alex Foster, Jack Bussey
Interchange: James Cunningham, Jon Magrin, Mark Ioane, Mark Offerdahl
Tries: Williams (10, 50), Pewhairangi (13, 17), Naiqama (25, 63), Offerdahl (33), Hellewell (42, 48), Cunningham (58), Foster (68)
Goals: Naiqama 9/11
Whitehaven: Ed Chamberlain, Jordan Burns, Conor Holliday, John Paul Brocklebank, Ryan Ince, Louis Jouffrett, Grant Gore, Glenn Riley, James Newton, Ted Chaplehow, Dave Allen, Jessie Joe Parker, Liam Carberry
Interchange: Ryan Duffy, Ben Davies, Sam Brooks, Thomas Coyle
Tries: Jouffrett (79)