While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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The London Broncos are poised to fight on in English Superleague as they continue to battle opposing teams on a number of fronts. In the past month Broncos management has seen Wigan, Bradford, Leigh and Salford vote to eliminate the club from Superleague after the Bronco?s liquidation. To add to London?s problems, Vinnie Anderson abandoned negotiations in order to sign with St Helens, and Broncos contracted forward, Lee Hopkins, has reportedly been approached by Wigan.
The Broncos have handled their treatment by other clubs with a degree of class, not once speaking out despite the many opportunities they have been presented with. Instead CEO Nic Cartwright is focused on the job at hand telling the BBC there is ??still a lot of work to do?, and declaring the Broncos as being ??very grateful to the game for supporting us?. However other clubs? attitudes towards London are surely playing on the minds of Broncos players as they take the field each week.
Victories such as London?s 34-20 humbling of Wigan on the weekend now mean much more than just two premiership points. The turmoil of near extinction seems to have given the team a new found resolve. Discussing the possibility of Hopkins jumping ship coach Tony Rea told The Guardian this week that his players are ?too committed to each other (to leave)?. With the risk of being without a team hanging over their heads the players seem to have gotten on with the job.
Fans are also galvanizing their support with 5,057 supporters turning up to the London-Wigan clash, a modest crowd by Superleague standards, but the third highest crowd for London in the last 3 years. With the team currently third on the ladder due to solid wins over Warrington, Wigan and Wakefield it is hoped these fans will continue to come back..
Perhaps more importantly to their long term survival, London has a vibrant youthful team that has been as entertaining to watch as it has been successful. These are marketable types, such as the colossal Solomon Haumono, man-mountain Mark Tookey and the quirky Mark McLinden. These players have the skills to play entertaining football, and the added bonus of having been developed in the NRL system, where organizing community coaching clinics is a part of every player?s routine. By marketing these stars correctly, and continuing to promote Rugby League through schools, London will ensure their long term survival.
In the meantime players and administrators are quietly considering the one thing that will go a long way to ensuring London?s survival: Silverware. At least in this area the Bronco?s know their fate is in their own hands.