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16 May 2019 10:27

Wakefield Trinity Castleford Tigers David Fifita

London Broncos buck expectations with buffalo farmer Eddie Battye

That's the easiest conclusion to make following Wednesday evening's NFL schedule release, where Oakland was granted a brutal start to their season. The sentiment is rooted in reality, considering the Raiders play their first two games at Oakland Coliseum but don't return home until Nov. 3. They play five straight games away from home over a stretch that plays out this way: There have been some times where (the Raiders) got a favorable schedule and things didn't work out well for them, and others where they were upset about their schedule and had great success." Let's start with this: The Raiders' delay in securing an approved stadium lease for 2019 didn't factor into the schedule or its release date because the league started scheduling under the assumption the Silver and Black would be playing in Oakland. 9-15, giving schedule makers a window to have the Raiders play a Monday night opener--West Coast teams are almost always featured in the second portion of the opening night doubleheader--and a Sunday afternoon game in Week 2. The Raiders had to go on the road in Week 3 with the A's playing at home and were consequently shipped to Minnesota against the Vikings.

The A's are away in the NFL's Week 4, but the Raiders requested a game farther east before heading to London to battle Chicago in Week 5 (as a side note, international dates are generally decided in advance of the regular schedule). They ended up in Indianapolis in Week 4, one of just two Raiders road opponents from the Eastern Time Zone. There were no direct conflicts against coming home for Week 7 or Week 8--the Raiders play at Green Bay and Houston, respectively--but the A's made the playoffs last year and so there's a chance of a postseason conflict again this season. Even still, Weeks 7 and 8 are a spot where the NFL could have worked a home game into the mix and kept their fingers crossed to avoid an A's conflict. Along with the Raiders, Tampa Bay also plays five straight away from home. Additionally, Oakland's AFC West-rival Chargers play four straight away from Carson. It's no coincidence that all three have international home games, undoubtedly a complicating factor when trying to create a schedule. Even so, the NFL doesn't like teams playing more than three straight away from home and it's something they'll work to avoid in the future, where possible. Danny Ward insists his London Broncos outfit remain grounded after an impressive start to their first season back in the Super League. The Broncos weren't given a chance of survival this season following their promotion from the Championship last season, however, with seven games on the board they have given themselves hope by claiming three major scalps. "We're not totally blind but we don't talk about winning certain games, or four-week periods or anything like that. We don't talk about staying up or the play-offs, and it was the same last year, we didn't mention the top four or promotion. "It's just not how we work - it's all about coming in every week and trying to be better. Hull FC travel to London this weekend, looking to get back to winning ways after their defeat to Wakefield Trinity and while Ward admits his side still have work to do before they are the finished article, he is hoping the Black and Whites become their latest high profile casualty. We're well and truly grounded and not getting carried away because we've been disappointed with how we've performed at times and know we can do better," he added. Follow Hull FC News on Facebook - Like our Facebook page to get the latest news in your feed and join in the lively discussions in the comments. Click here to follow Hull Live on Instagram. According to Elliott Harrison of NFL.com, the Chiefs are involved in four of the NFL's Top 11 games in 2019. No. 11 - Week 5 – Colts @ Chiefs – "Andrew Luck and Patrick Mahomes might rule the AFC for the next 10 years, while the former could even the score fromlast season's playoff loss." Ex-Raider Khalil Mack is more than familiar with this group, having routinely wreaked havoc on the Chiefs back when he played in the AFC West. No. 6 – Week 8 – Packers @ Chiefs – "This might be the lone time we ever see Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes go against one another. Rodgers will be closing in on 40 years old the next time the schedule allows for the Packers and Chiefs to play one another. The general feeling around Super League heading into this season was that having secured promotion against all the odds from the Championship last season, the Broncos would be back in the second tier this time next year. Tucked away in Ealing this London side – full of young, unfancied English talent and led by one of the best young coaches in the game in Danny Ward – are well worth the public's time. Their four-year spell outside Super League after relegation in 2014 has been tough for both the club and the sport's growth in the south of England but it is clear there is something to build on this season. Here London were facing a Wakefield side who many suspect are capable of competing for the Super League title this season but the Broncos won handsomely. Leading 26-18 at half-time courtesy of a superb attacking display, they added three more tries after the break to ensure it would be the small but rowdy band of London supporters who were celebrating. "Lots has been written about where we're going to finish this season but we've not paid any attention to that," Ward said. In London's previous Super League experience they lived a nomadic life, playing at six venues across the city since the turn of the century. Battye is one of many in this London squad who are playing in Super League for the first time, having spent his career in the lower reaches of English rugby. Tries for Rhys Williams, Kieran Dixon, Battye and Matty Fozard – all crafted by the stand-off Jordan Abdull, another player who was not wanted by any other Super League club – put London 26-18 ahead at the break and from there they did not relent. Kyle Wood reduced the deficit midway through the second half with a Wakefield try but this was always likely to be London's day. First Williams claimed his second after yet more free-flowing attacking play, before Battye crashed over in more simplistic fashion to complete his own double. At the final whistle the players and coaching staff wasted no time in mixing with supporters as the PA system blasted out London Calling by the Clash. London Walker; Dixon, Fleming, Kear, Williams; Abdull, Cunningham; Richards, Fozard, Mason, Pitts, Gee, Yates. Tries Fleming, Williams 2, Dixon, Battye 2, Fozard, Kear. Joe Burgess scored a hat-trick as Wigan Warriors thrashed Catalans Dragons 42-0, while Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity also recorded Super League wins on Sunday. Champions Wigan scored seven tries as they emphatically secured back-to-back wins to move up to eighth – two points clear of bottom side Leeds Rhinos with a game in hand. Burgess showed great agility to open the scoring when George Williams picked him out with a precise kick to the corner and the influential Oliver Gildart set him up for a second before claiming a try of his own. Huddersfield have now won three of their past four games after a 38-26 success at London Broncos. Akuila Uate scored two of seven tries for the Giants, with a double from Kieran Dixon unable to prevent London from suffering a third loss in four outings.