Rovers boost top-four bid by outplaying London

Rovers man of the match John Davies in action against London this afternoon. Picture: Carol Austerberry.
Rovers man of the match John Davies in action against London this afternoon. Picture: Carol Austerberry.

Featherstone Rovers stayed firmly on course for the Kingstone Press Championship top-four with a vital 38-18 win over London Broncos at Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday.

It put Featherstone four points ahead of the Broncos who finished second last season, two places above Rovers.

Centre Chris Ulugia scored two of Featherstone’s six tries and on-loan half-back Cory Aston kicked seven goals to take his tally to 16 in the last two matches as Rovers recovered from a shaky start to make it seven wins from nine league games.

Boosted by centre Misi Taulapapa’s first appearance this season after being given visa clearance, Rovers overcame the absence of several key players to totally outplay their opponents after the Broncos had taken an early 6-0 lead.

John Davies, who won the man of the match award, was outstanding in the home pack.

Eighteen-year-old dual-registered Leeds Rhinos prop Mikolaj Oledzki also made a big impact on his Rovers debut.

Rovers half-back Anthony Thackeray was sin-binned for a trip in the sixth minute and the Broncos made the most of the extra man when Api Pewhairangi put in Jarrod Sammut who added the first of his three goals.

Thackeray quickly made amends on his return when his towering kick created a touchdown for Davies.

Featherstone took an 18-6 lead with two more tries shortly before half-time.

Aston, James Lockwood and Michael Knowles made the opening for Ulugia to score his first and Luke Briscoe sent Aston darting over.

The Broncos hit back early in the second-half when Featherstone failed to deal with Sammut’s kick and Vitale Roqica scooped up the loose ball to score.

However, Rovers then struck a crucial blow in the 51st minute when Andy Bostock stormed over from Mattty Wildie’s pass.

They quickly shot further ahead when Thackeray sent in Ulugia for his second.

London’s James Cunningham picked up a loose ball to score but the visitors finished well beaten.

Broncos substitute Lewis Foster was sin-binned in the 76th minute for a high tackle on Briscoe who crossed at the corner two minutes later to complete the scoring.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Duckworth, Ulugia, Taulapapa, Briscoe; Thackeray, Aston; Bostock, Carlile, Baldwinson, Knowles, Davies, Lockwood. Subs: Griffin, Wildie, Cooper, Oledzki.

London Broncos: Kear; Williams, Hellewell, Purtell, Dixon; Sammut, Pewhairangi; Gee, Cunningham, Evans, Harrison, Garside, Pitts. Subs: Foster, Davis, Ioane, Roqica.

Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL).

Attendance: 2,509.