First of all let me say this. We need a decent Super League team playing out of London. Super League needs it. Every team in Super League needs London to have a Super League presence.
This article is not about the health of Rugby League in London. Rugby League is doing quite well in London, its just at the very top, with the Broncos, that we have a major problem.
The London Broncos have been terrible for a long time now. This season in particular the club looks atrocious.
Even the die hard fans that are still willing to pay good money to see opposition Super League clubs run through the Broncos realize there is a problem with the club right now. They know something needs to change.
When the club brought in Tony Rea it was a concern for me. He is a really bad coach. His record speaks for itself. I think Tony Rea is the worst coach in any professional sport anywhere in the world.
When Craig Gower left there were rumours that he didn’t get on with the coach. Gower managed to somehow pick up a gig with the Newcastle Knights. Either way, he wanted out mid season, and that is fairly rare for a player to do that.
Now we have current London Broncos captain Tony Clubb asking for a release from his contract to go and play with another club. Why? Because he is sick of losing. Because he is sick of the uncertainty. Because he is not enjoying the game any more at a club that is clearly dying.
Normally I’d say Clubb was being selfish. However, this is a player that is from southern England. He came up through the London junior development system. The London Broncos are the only professional club he has ever played for. A club he earned international honours playing for.
To break a player like Clubb, to have him say “Enough is enough” and want to leave London behind to play for another club, surely that is a huge sign that something is very wrong at the Broncos.
Recently London Broncos CEO Gus Mackay told BBC Radio that the decision to cut Super League back from 14 clubs to 12 clubs need to be done in the right way. One of the interesting things Mackay said was:
“The areas which need to be considered are the finances of the club, the performance on the field, your youth performance and your facilities.”
Considering the above, lets look at the London Broncos…
Their finances aren’t a problem. You can’t lose money if you don’t spend money. It is clear that the London Broncos are running on the smell of an oily rag right now.
Their performances on the field are beyond terrible.
The “youth performance” isn’t too bad, but that has less to do with the London Broncos and more to do with the London Rugby League scene in general producing some fairly decent players.
As for their facilities, they don’t know where they will be playing next season!
The addition of Jamie Soward was great, but it had little to do with the London Broncos. It was just lucky that a unique set of circumstances came together at the right time that saw Soward land in the Broncos lap.
Soward will leave at seasons end. He is likely to leave behind a club that will finish dead last on the Super League ladder. One that is now struggling to hold onto London Rugby League born and bred players.
Something needs to change, and change quickly. Whether the club changes hands and a new ownership group takes over, whether they get a new coach in….the club can not continue down this pathway because it will lead them straight into The Championship in 2015.
I think the players are sick of seeing how poorly the club is run. I think they have already had a gutful of Tony Rea. Players don’t head to the London Broncos wanting to lose games by huge margins. Everyone wants to see the Broncos succeed, but I don’t see it happening under this management or with this coach.
I think Clubb’s request to leave the club is a huge warning sign. Something is very wrong with the London Broncos. The Rugby Football League needs to step in before they have another club collapse on them.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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