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London Broncos Celebrate Rugby
League in the South
London Broncos are making big plans right now in preparation for the club's tenth anniversary in August this year.
Despite recent talk 'outside' the club questioning the future of top-flight professional rugby league in the capital, the Broncos remain as committed as ever to their long-term plan.
Broncos CEO Nic Cartwright's comments about the importance of London to the game's development in the UK have created quite a stir.
The team might well be sitting second from bottom right now on the Tetley's Super League table, but there are many other key performance indicators that speak glowingly for the game in the south of England.
So, in the year of the Broncos 10th Anniversary, here are ten good reasons (just for starters) for rugby league to celebrate our game in the south:
Figures released by Active Sport, the funded Sport England programme, clearly demonstrate the aggressive development our game has made in London at the grass roots level. Of the ten sports measured in the Active Sport programme, rugby league has recorded a level of participation that is 60% greater than its nearest rival (rugby union), 235% more than Tennis, and 251% greater than Basketball over the same six-month period.
The Active Sport figures also support rugby league's multicultural appeal in and around London. Of new participants from 'ethnic minorities', rugby league recorded a figure 334% greater than rugby union.
There is a record number of amateur teams playing in London right now - representing a 33% increase over the past twelve month period.
London Leisure College has won the National College Cup for the past two seasons.
151 schools from London and the South played in this year's Powergen Champions Schools Tournament.
On a representative front, last year saw three Broncos play for GB U/19 Students, one for BARLA U/18, and two for Scotland and Wales U19 Students respectively. This year three Broncos Academy players will tour Australia with BARLA U18's, two have played (and won) for West Indies in the York 9's, one player has represented Scotland Students, and one was called for to play for Lancashire Origin U18.
London Broncos Junior Academy is currently experiencing its best season in four years, boasting six players on part time traineeships.
In National League 2, London Skolars in their second year, have already surpassed last year's achievements, and in National League 3, of the four southern teams involved in the 14 team competition, both South London Storm and St Albans Centurions are currently in the top six.
London Broncos Summer Festival of League will see 330 year-four children from the Hounslow and Ealing boroughs participate in a five-week coaching programme, leading in to London Broncos next home game against Leeds Rhinos - 18 July.
London Broncos Cheer-Dance Academy will have 100 children attend and perform at Griffin Park for the next home game.
That's the good news.
As for the 'relegation' issue, it's not a subject the club is even thinking about.
But Cartwright did say this: "Rules are rules and we know exactly where we stand. If we finish bottom, we go down."
However, having looked at some of the aforementioned points, no-one in their right mind could possibly say that London Broncos are not immensely important to our game."
Our Super League team is the face of this club and it's understandable that the team's performance, and the number of points we have on the table, is ultimately what we as an organization are judged by."
We have not won as many games thus far as we would have liked but there are a lot of factors contributing to this. We don't like to talk too much about the injury situation because we prefer to get on with the job."
But when you look at the key players we have had missing, some who have not even played a single game this season, it's pretty obvious it's going to take its toll."
We've already used 30 players this season. Our captain has been out for a number of weeks, our club captain has not yet played at all, nor has our England representative from last year (Rob Purdham)."
Having said all that, the mood is very positive. We know where we need to be and we have every confidence that Tony and the players will get the results we need. We are very fortunate to have such committed individuals like Tony, who care so much about the club."
Our players are certainly giving the job at hand their full commitment and the effort levels are there, as is the desire. They have our full backing and I'm sure the hard work will be rewarded."
I would hope that every rugby league supporter in the country believes that the Tetley's Super League competition is far better off with London Broncos than without. It goes without saying that we as a club believe this, and we also believe in our team, and our fans."
Our next home game against the competition leaders is a wonderful opportunity for all of us. What I will say is that if you are a rugby league fan in London, and you also feel strongly about our position in the game, then come to the Leeds game and make your support known."
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