London Broncos are back in Super League after denying Toronto Wolfpack in a dour, tryless Million Pound Game in Ontario.
Two goals from Australian half-back Jarrod Sammut, allied to a superb rearguard defensive display, helped Broncos to a shock 4-2 victory which enables them to end their four-year exile from the top flight in Danny Ward’s first season as head coach.
Toronto, who wanted to take Super League transatlantic two years into owner David Argyle’s five-year target, finished eight points clear of London in the Championship but let themselves down when it really mattered.
It was Thanksgiving Day in Canada but the Broncos ruined the party at the Lamport Stadium, where a club record near-capacity 9,266 crowd witnessed only a third home defeat in two years.
Paul Rowley’s men never really got going, although skipper Josh McCrone went over for a ‘try’ inside the first minute only to be denied by video referee Phil Bentham for offside and the Broncos made the most of the let-off as they went on to dominate the first half.
Prop Ben Evans was held up over the line before Sammut gave his side the lead with a penalty and lively hooker Eloi Pelissier carved open the Wolfpack defence with a trademark run.
Toronto’s only tryscoring chance in the first half came during a counter-attack when winger Mason Caton-Brown hacked a loose ball ahead and won the race to regather only for his dribbling skills to let him down near the line.
The home side managed to hold out their opponents while down to 12 men for 10 minutes after replacement hooker Andy Ackers was sent to the sin bin for a late and high tackle on Pelissier, but they showed little imagination in attack.
They managed to apply some pressure early in the second half, with forwards Ashton Sims and Andrew Dixon both going close, and they briefly levelled the scores with a penalty from full-back Gareth O’Brien.
However, when Toronto prop Jack Buchanan was pulled up for a shoulder charge, Sammut took the opportunity to restore the Broncos’ lead with a second penalty.
O’Brien was then off target with a long-range penalty and their last chance of glory disappeared when stand-off Blake Wallace reached the line only to be held up by a magnificent tackle from full-back Alex Walker.