Grima refuses to blame Drinkwater after missed conversion

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Joe Grima absolved Josh Drinkwater of blame after London’s search for a first point in 2014 came agonisingly close to ending with a 24-22 defeat to Catalan Dragons.

The Broncos have lurched from beating to beating this season, with the odd promising performance here and there, and they looked like making good on one of those in the opening clash of the Magic Weekend.

When Drinkwater skipped over the line with seven minutes left it brought them back to 
24-22. The scrum-half was unable to tag a fourth conversion of the game, though, missing from just to the right of the posts.

“We were not after a draw, we were after a win,” said Grima.

“If Josh kicks that goal we still don’t win, so it doesn’t matter. Drinky is devastated but he really stepped up. That missed kick will be playing on his mind but I don’t have to speak to him about it.

“We have a good understanding, I shook his hand and told him that it was his best game for us. If he continues to step up he will be a very dominant half in this competition.”

Relegation looks almost a certainty for the capital club as the season approaches its halfway point, but Grima is not throwing in the towel just yet and is giving his players simple instructions.

“I’m very proud of the players and I have thanked them for their courage,” the Australian added. “I told them if we continue to train hard, run harder, tackle harder and compete harder, we will change our own luck.”

Two tries from English second row Elliott Whitehead helped get the Dragons over the line.

Widnes coach Denis Betts praised the character of his side after they overcame two early injury blows to break their Magic Weekend duck with a gritty 30-24 win over Salford.

The Vikings lost scrum-half Danny Craven inside the first minute after he knocked himself out attempting to tackle Gareth Hock while hooker and captain Jon Clarke went off shortly afterwards with a calf muscle injury.

But winger Paddy Flynn opened and closed the scoring as Betts’s men twice came from behind to clinch their first win at the Etihad at the third attempt.

“There is no question about the character in this team but to see it coming out in that kind of situation was fantastic,” said Betts. “We lost Danny Craven in the first 30 seconds and then Jon Clarke 10 to 15 minutes into the game so we lost all our attacking shape virtually.

“Kevin Brown and Rhys Hanbury had to organise the team and we were all over the shop attacking wise but I think what you saw was a really good team effort, with players willing to work hard for each other.”