Heritage Week 2017

The LBSA will be continuing its celebration of the Broncos’ rich history with two events comprising Heritage Week 2017.

Fulham Players Event

At the Rochdale Hornets away fixture on Sunday July 16th we will be hosting former Fulham Players for a reunion lunch. We have seen Fulham players at the last two Heritage Day events in London, but this event will give Northern based former players the chance for a get together with their former colleagues and current Broncos supporters.

Heritage Day 2017 – The Green Machine!

Heritage Day will follow a week later on Sunday July 23rd at the last regular season game at Trailfinders against Batley Bulldogs. This will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Broncos historic victory over the Canberra Raiders (The Green Machine) in the 1997 World Club Championship at the Stoop. Here’s how this game was remembered in the book “From Fulham to Wembley

London Broncos 38 Canberra Raiders 18

World Club Championship

21 July 1997 at The Stoop

For British Rugby League, it is fair to say that the inaugural, and so far only 1997 World Club Championship was a disaster. Maybe at Test level the British could be competitive with the Australians on a good day but, at club level, their game was clearly well ahead of the British scene.

But for the London Broncos, the tournament was one of the highlights of the 1997 season. This best ever London Broncos team, who were to finish runners-up in Super League, had an additional incentive – a lot of the club’s Australian players felt they had something to prove against the Australians. The draw had hardly been favourable –  Brisbane, Canterbury and, in the clash of the capital cities, Canberra Raiders.

In the first series of matches in Australia, the Broncos had given Brisbane a fright before running out of steam and losing 42-22. At Canterbury a 34-18 defeat was a respectable result. But between these two matches the wheels had fallen off at Canberra, with a 66-20 defeat. Compared to the other British clubs in the tournament , except for the Canberra defeat, these were very respectable results,

The World Club Championship matches attracted great interest in London, and 7,819 fans for the visit of Canberra gave The Stoop a great atmosphere. But when Scott Roskell was sin-binned after two minutes for holding down in the tackle, the Raiders took advantage of his absence to run in two tries. A third score by Jason Burnham gave the Raiders a 14-0 lead and another slaughter of a British team seemed on the cards.

But Tony Currie brought scrum-half Shaun Edwards off the bench after twenty minutes and the game started to move in the Broncos favour. Two tries from Terry Matterson and three Greg Barwick goals made the half-time score 14-all. And, importantly. Australian international captain Laurie Daley was sin-binned a couple of minutes before half-time.

Two minutes in to the second half, Terry Matterson set up a try for Peter Gill and the Broncos were in the lead.

From then there was no looking back. Further scores from Tulsen Tollett, Greg Barwick and Scott Roskell, with a further four Barwick goals, gave the Broncos a 38-18 victory, Luke Priddis’s try being the Raiders only second-half score.

Neil Fissler in League Express described the Broncos as “Splendid, magnificent. awesome, breathtaking, glorious, stunning, brilliant”. Fair comment really.

The Broncos couldn’t quite reach these heights again. 9,846 fans saw Brisbane win 34-16 at The Stoop and five days later Canterbury won 44-22. However, the victory over Canberra meant that the Broncos qualified for the quarter-finals.

But in that game Cronulla won 40-16 in the final match of the season at The Stoop to knock the Broncos out. It was the last stand of the wonderful 1997 team.

London Broncos: Mardon, Roskell, Barwick, Martin, Offiah, Tollett, Beazley, Mestrov, Matterson, Bawden, Dunford, Rosolen, Gill. Subs: Edwards, Hamilton, Howard, Krause.

Tries: Matterson (2), Gill, Tollett, Barwick,  Roskell. Goals: Barwick (7).

Canberra Raiders: Nagas, Boyle, Wiki, Croker, Fulivai, Daley, Stuart, Davico, Priddis, Pongia, Furner, Kennedy, Burnham. Subs: Westley, McFadden, Woodford, Nadruku.

Tries: Boyle (2), Burnham, Priddis. Goals: Furner

Peter Lush

Used with permission from “From Fulham to Wembley” edited by Dave Farrar and Peter Lush; published by London League Publications May 2000. ISBN: 0-9526064-4-5

From Fulham to Wembley is available from Amazon HERE in both Kindle and Paperback editions.