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Grima takes lead from Black Cats

9th of May 2014
Grima takes lead from Black Cats

New London Broncos coach Joe Grima is hoping his team can follow the example of Barclays Premier League survivors Sunderland.

New London Broncos coach Joe Grima is hoping his team can follow the example of Barclays Premier League survivors Sunderland in extricating themselves from the First Utility Super League mire.

Grima, who takes charge of the Londoners for the first time in tomorrow afternoon's game against Huddersfield Giants at Barnet, has inherited a team that looks destined for relegation after losing their first 11 matches.

Their sorry plight became even worse at the weekend when fellow strugglers Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats both pulled off surprise victories but Grima, who has been fast-tracked into his new role after Tony Rea left the job, believes there is plenty of time to turn around the Broncos' fortunes.

"I think every team outside the top eight has got a battle on its hands," Grima said. "Four weeks ago people were talking about Sunderland being relegated but now look at them.

"If we happen to win a few games, particularly in the next two to three weeks, it could sling-shot us into staying in Super League."

Grima, who played and coached at Parramatta for 19 years before working as an assistant coach at Cronulla and St George Illawarra, admits he was taken aback by his sudden elevation by owner David Hughes into the hot seat at The Hive.

"It was a bit of a shock to get a call from David," said Grima, who joined the club in February. "The idea was that me and Tony would coach together for the remainder of the year and that he would then take a step back.

"So the way it's panned out is certainly different to what I expected but I'm happy that the opportunity has come about. It's something I've always dreamed about, coaching a first team in the NRL or Super League."

Grima concedes he has had little opportunity to make his mark as the Londoners prepare to take on a side who have won their last three matches.

"My big thing for this week is to promote enthusiasm and energy into the team and make sure everyone knows their roles," he said. "The players have been understanding of the situation and they've been showing me a lot of respect."

Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson, who met Grima during a recent trip to Australia, believes the change of coach makes the Broncos especially dangerous.

"The new coach has an opportunity to right a few wrongs and he will want to open his career with a win," Anderson said. "We need to go down there, be professional and come back with the win.

"We went to Catalans after they hadn't won in five and gave them their first win and we don't want a repeat of that."

Salford captain Adrian Morley is hoping to celebrate his 37th birthday by helping the Red Devils halt a four-match losing run when they host Hull KR at the AJ Bell Stadium tomorrow evening.

"It would be a nice birthday treat," Morley said. "It's been a while between wins so hopefully we'll get the job done on Saturday."

Salford have dropped out of the top eight following their recent slump to pile the pressure on new coach Iestyn Harris but Morley is confident they can quickly pull away from the relegation zone.

"It's been quite frustrating but I'm sure when we do get the win, spirits will lift and we'll string a few wins together," he said.

"We've not been getting blown away by any means. Most of the games we've been in a position where we could possibly have gone on and won.

"I think confidence is a bit low - losing becomes a habit just as winning does - but I am confident when we do get a win, you will see a different team. Hull KR are in a similar position to us in the table so it's a game we want to be winning."

Meanwhile, Morley has yet to decide if he is to continue his reign as Super League's oldest player.

The former Warrington Wolves captain, who is six months older than Leeds Rhinos prop Jamie Peacock who is playing on in 2015, arrived at Salford in the winter on a 12-month deal and will decide in the next few weeks whether to extend his stay at his home-town club.

"I've spoken very briefly to Iestyn and we've both agreed we're going to wait until later on in the year, probably three quarters of the way through the season," Morley said.

"We'll have a chat then about whether I want to carry on and whether he wants me to but there's no pressure from either side to sort out a deal for next year."

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