8th August 2018, 13:57 | super8

Ward says London are ready to compete

Ward says London are ready to compete

Ward insists the Broncos are not in the Qualifiers Super 8s to make up the numbers

Ward’s men have already defied the odds to secure a top-four finish in the Betfred Championship for the third successive year and the former Leeds Rhinos forward insists they have their sights set on a return to Betfred Super League, where they last played in 2014.

“We didn’t listen to what people were saying,” said Ward, who was promoted to head coach following the departure of Andrew Henderson to Warrington Wolves at the end of last season.

“I wasn’t surprised because I knew what the boys were capable of. I’m proud of the boys for what they’ve achieved this year.”

The Broncos are on a roll, having won six and drawn one of their last seven matches of the Championship season to pip Toulouse Olympique XIII for second spot and gain an extra home fixture.

“The boys are buzzing,” Ward said. “We’ve had some big games at the back end of the regular season and hopefully they will stand us in good stead.

“They were must-win games, every week felt like we were building up to a final. We’re coming in on the back of some intense, high-pressure games so we’re going into the eights in good shape.

“It’s going to be very tough, the games are going to be even faster and more intense.”

The Londoners missed out on the Million Pound Game in 2016 on points difference after winning three of their seven matches and Ward says promotion is no pipe dream.

“That’s the goal,” he said. “We want to play in Super League.

“As a club you’ve got to have those goals to attain and we’re going to try our best. That’s where we want to be, we’re not just here to make up the numbers.”

Widnes, who finished bottom of Super League for the second successive year, managed to make the top three of the Qualifiers in 2017 and the signings of experienced campaigners Liam Finn and Harrison Hansen gave them hope of repeating the feat.

The Vikings have since unveiled another new arrival in New Zealand forward Charlie Gubb, who will make his debut on Thursday.

“Widnes have had a tough year but they are still a Super League outfit and they are still full of Super League players,” Ward said.

“You can’t look past that. They’re going to be hard to beat, especially at home. They will be ready for the middle eights, as they have been in the previous years, they normally hit some good form at the right time.

“They’ve been preparing for this. They’ve brought in some new faces, added some quality and will be the best side we’ve faced all year.”