21 hours ago
London Broncos: On the road
London Broncos are used to breaking new ground; it simply comes with the territory for a rugby league business operating in a non-traditional rugby league market.
The Broncos have for ten years been Super League's southern pioneers, paving the way forward for the thirteen-a-side game in the capital and surrounding areas.
Along the way there have been many challenges including the necessity to hit the road every year whilst waiting for their landlords' grass to grow.
When Super League itself was in its adventurous, pioneering years, the Broncos found themselves on the road, not then through necessity, but rather for the greater good of the game.
In 1998 London played Bradford in Edinburgh, and the following year another joint venture with the governing body saw the Broncos on the road to Leicester, again against the Bulls.
Those two Welsh road trips were punctuated by a second visit to Leicester, again against Bradford, in 2001.
In 2003 London took it its first home game to France (and fourth game out of England) when playing Warrington in Carcasonne.
Last season the Broncos returned for their third visit to Leicester against this Saturday's opponents, Hull FC, and then next weekend the club will play its second home game of the season on the road, when it takes Leeds to Perpignan (Sat 9th July).
If your head is spinning as you digest this complex itinerary, spare a thought for the fans who are yet to miss a trip!
And also for the organisers who, on Saturday, will attempt for the eighth time, to transplant match day operations in a 'foreign' stadium.
Broncos Operations Manger, Dom Fenton has been with the club for the past decade and has not missed a road game. While he understands the reasoning behind the club's travels, he prays for a world of stability:
"From a logistics point of view, it can be a nightmare. But as with anything in life, if you plan well enough, you're bound to get a smoother outcome."
With road games there can often be those 'unforeseen circumstances' which crop up from time to time that you just can't plan for."
But our supporters are just brilliant. They have dealt with the issues of road games for the best part of a decade and they are very understanding."
They know it's not ideal but they also know it is part and parcel with our situation right now."
I think people tend to forget, or at least take for granted, that our players and supporters in reality play a game on the road every other week."
Other teams generally make one trip per year to London to play yet we're up and back 17 times this season. There's no question it's an added drain on resources, but again, we plan well enough to ensure our travels are as uncomplicated as possible.?
It's just a part of life at London."
London Broncos players and coaching staff alone this season will cover more than 10,000 miles, spending upward of 180 hours, on their way to and from work!
While London's travels over the years may have caused a few headaches for the playing staff (and Operations Manager), have these travels been good for the game?
In light of recent events, the answer is a resounding yes.
We have a French team (Les Catalans) arriving in Super League next season, for the first time a French team (Toulouse) will play in the semi finals of the Challenge Cup, and last week a Welsh team (Bridgend) was admitted to National League Two for next season.
Rugby league life in London may come with additional obstacles but it is definitely for the greater good of the game.
Ticket info for Saturday?s game at Bridgend:
Adult Grandstand tickets can be bought in advance from ?15 ? these will be ?18 on the day. There will be no concessions for Grandstand seats on the day.
General admission is to the ground on the day for adults will cost ?15 adults, ?7 concession and ?5 children under 16. London Broncos Season Ticket Holders can turn up on the day with their season ticket and gain free ground admission. Kick off on Saturday at The Brewery Field is 3pm.
More information for both road games is available at http://www.londonbroncos.co.uk
The Broncos are next back at Griffin Park on Sunday 24th July against Huddersfield Giants. Discounted tickets booked in advance are now on sale for all home games - 0871 222 1132.