Pressure building on Broncos - Powell
London Broncos coach Rob Powell admits the pressure is building on his new-look team to perform after an indifferent start to the season.
The capital club began the year amid renewed optimism following their rebranding and an influx of overseas talent but they remain joint bottom of Stobart Super League with just one win from their first eight matches.
Powell was particularly disappointed with last week’s loss to fellow strugglers Widnes Vikings, for which he is expecting his players to atone when they meet Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the Twickenham Stoop tomorrow evening.
“We owe the fans, the owner and ourselves a good performance after last week and I know the boys are looking to make amends,” he said.
“Clearly performances like last week when you are playing poorly and losing adds to the pressure on the team. We have got to start picking up some points.”
After scoring 102 points in their last three matches, Powell is happy enough with his side’s attacking prowess but concedes they have a major problem in defence and is hoping to be given time to turn it around.
“That’s out of my control but what I would say is that there are enough good signs,” he said.
“We are going well enough offensively to suggest we’re not a complete rabble. We’re just not defending well, there’s not enough energy in our defence.
“We’ve got some cohesion - we’re scoring points for fun - so it’s not all doom and gloom.
“If we were losing 40-0 every week, I would probably say there are serious issues here.
“We need to be better and I’m expecting a good response. I know they’ll have a real good go because they were embarrassed last week.”
The Broncos are boosted by the return from injury of high-profile imports Shane Rodney and Michael Robertson while Wakefield will give a debut to centre Paul Sykes, a former Harlequins RL player who has joined them on loan from Bradford Bulls.
The Wildcats are on a resurgence following their narrow loss to leaders Warrington Wolves and last week’s victory over high-flying Catalan Dragons, but coach Richard Agar is wary of their struggling opponents.
“We’ve had a little bit of momentum over three or four weeks even though we’ve not had the two points to show for it,” he said.
“This week brings along different challenges for a new group of people. It’s the first time we’ve played someone below us in the competition.”
Widnes will be aiming to follow up their second victory of the season with a major scalp when they take on Catalan Dragons at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
It will be the first Super League fixture between the sides - the Dragons won 34-16 at Widnes in the Challenge Cup in their only previous meeting in 2006 - and Vikings coach Denis Betts says his club are determined to enjoy their trip to the south of France.
“It is great for the fans to have their team back playing at the very top level and being able to go and watch the team in another country is a fantastic opportunity,” he said.
“We really hope they enjoy it. The rugby will be enjoyable and we are going to be trying our absolute best to get the result that everybody wants.”
The Catalans, who are unbeaten in Perpignan so far this season, have hooker Ian Henderson and second rower Louis Anderson returning from injury while winger Damien Blanch has recovered from illness.