London Broncos v Hull KR – Joel Tomkins keen for Rovers not to get ‘burned’

REGARDLESS of the result tonight, there is still plenty of time for both Hull KR and London Broncos to extricate themselves from the bottom of Super League.

Hull KR's Joel Tomkins. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Nevertheless, the importance of the intriguing fixture is not lost on Robins captain Joel Tomkins as his side bid to secure a valuable two points in Ealing.

As it stands, the East Yorkshire club are only clear of their opponents in last place by virtue of points difference, and a minimal one at that – just five points.

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Admittedly, London were clear favourites to be relegated almost as soon as they were promoted in October but they simply refuse to conform to that prediction.

They have won three of their last four games to create true tension in the entire lower half of Super League and the apprehension among those relegation rivals only increases when examining who Danny Ward’s side have defeated.

London became only the second team this year to beat leaders St Helens in their last game at Ealing but then backed that up with an emphatic 30-12 success over third-placed Catalans Dragons on Saturday.

The celebrations of Rovers’ surprise 16-14 win over Warrington Wolves had barely subsided when news of events in Perpignan seeped through.

“After beating Warrington, we thought this game could be a chance for us – for the first time in a long time – to put a bit of daylight between us and London,” Tomkins told The Yorkshire Post.

“But they went and did what they did in France. It’s an exciting proposition, still. We’re looking forward to the challenge. It’s a big game.

“We’ve seen what they did to Catalans and Saints before that.

“But we need to start climbing the table and start looking down rather than up. Hopefully, if we can get a win against London it’s the old four-point game isn’t it?

“That will give us real confidence moving forward. We have a lot of winnable games coming up in our run-in and if we can play the way we have the last two weeks – against Wigan and Warrington – we’ll be okay.”

Rovers pushed champions Wigan close before losing 19-18 in Tony Smith’s first game in charge but they got their rewards with a fine display against Warrington.

Furthermore, Smith has bolstered his pack since with three loan signings – Warrington duo Harvey Livett and Luis Johnson plus Salford Red Devils’ Daniel Murray – who could all make their debuts this evening.

Former dual-code England international Tomkins admitted: “It was nice to win on Saturday especially as we’ve been in four or five games like that this year and come out the wrong side.

“It’s something I spoke about when Tony took over; we’re not that far away and just need to turn that corner. That was a good step in the right direction. But we know London will test us.”

As well as Saints, Broncos have already beaten champions Wigan and Wakefield Trinity (twice) on their artificial surface in Ealing as well as winning at Headingley.

With 11 games to go, they have six wins and 12 points, just like Rovers and Leeds Rhinos, while they were competitive in their last meeting at KCOM Craven Park before losing 22-12.

Tomkins, 32, added: “From what I’ve seen of them, Danny Ward must be a good coach as London just hang in in games and they are one of those teams that you just struggle to get away from.

“When they came up here early in the year we got on top but they just sort of hung in there; they are always in and around the game and haven’t really been blown away very much this season.

“Although they’ve probably not got massive names they have quality all over like Jordan Abdull and Alex Walker. They have caught a few teams out down there. I wouldn’t say sides underestimate them as I think everyone respects them as a team.

“But probably teams go there expecting to win and with that attitude they can burn you.”