At the start of any league, regardless of what sport it may be, early predictions are made on how the season will shape up. The big talking points often revolve around who will be made champions and who be relegated with teams celebrated or written off before a ball has even been kicked. Saturday’s Super League opener was a great example of this as Wakefield Trinity travelled to West London to take on the supposedly lowly London Broncos.
Saturday's clash had an intriguing feel to it as Wakefield were strongly tipped by some to make a real fist of winning the title against the Broncos who had it all to do to avoid relegation. The modest surroundings of the Trailfinders Sports Club would be the venue where the most routine of wins on the opening day of the season would take place.
The script was being followed to the word as Wakefield led 18-6 during the first half but that would be the end of any sort of formality for the West Yorkshire side as the Broncos battled back and entered the break 26-18 up before running out eventual winners 42-24. 'Gutsy' however, as cliche as it may sound, is probably the word to best describe the performance of the entire Broncos squad. If they use that blueprint for the rest of the season they certainly won’t just be making up the numbers this year.
Danny Ward’s men looked dangerous every time they went forward as they used ball in hand both cleverly and clinically to devastating effect. Ward thinks that win can be their lift-off this season and there’s no reason to doubt that. Of course, a team of London Broncos' standing will need to be at it every week if they’re to carry on dishing out the hidings but, it must be said, so far so very good.
Wakefield coach Chris Chester branded the performance the worst of his time at the club and promised changes after a kick up the backside in the capital. There are always going to be strong words from a coach whenever his team are on the wrong end of an upset, but time may prove that it was not as shocking as it may seem especially if the Broncos go and do that to a few more teams this season.
On the other hand, the West London side may drop off the pace and the win put down to a lethargic opening day display from Wakefield. Upsets are more likely to occur on the opening day of the season but, once they do, the whole landscape changes. You only have to look at the odds of the Six Nations rugby tournament after England beat Ireland to see that but, in reality, there is a long way to go before any sort of outcome is guaranteed.
Danny Ward will know that, and so will his troops, but in fairness to them they don’t come across a side that will get carried away by any of this, certainly not at this stage of this season at least.
One swallow does not a summer make is the way the London Broncos will see their superb opening day win but they have sent out a warning to the rest of the league that they shouldn't just be viewed as relegation fodder. The story of their 2019 campaign will be decided on how seriously the rest of the league take that warning and how ready they are to put everything on the line for the cause.