The future's bright for London Broncos youth
The London Broncos Under-16s returned from a very successful 12-day tour of Perpignan and the Catalan region which included two victories over the Ambition Dragons (Catalans’ version of the Scholarship).
This is the third successive year the Broncos under-16s have toured in the South of France. To raise funds players took part in a cycle and rowing challenge over the distance from London to Perpignan in a 12 hour period. In the event, held at Feltham Community College, they nearly doubled the required distance.
This combined with personal contributions, tea and coffee stalls at fixtures manned by the parents and a donation from the club chairman David Hughes ensured the tour could take place.
They won the first game 20-4 and the second 34-25, with the latter being played at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium in Perpignan, home of the Catalan Dragons.
Head of Youth Performance Phil Jones said: “The tour was again a great success. It allows the lads to eat and breathe rugby league and also explore a different culture.
“All of the players were a credit to themselves, their parents, their London Junior League club and the London Broncos. The staff on the tour put in long hours to ensure that it was a successful 12 days.
“Finally it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the chairman, David Hughes, who was even there to support the lads prior to the Super League match.”
The Broncos have fielded a number of London-developed players in recent Super League games. In fact of the 33 players in the squad (excluding loans), 16 have come through the club’s system.
Hackney-born wing Kieran Dixon is fifth in the Super League try scoring charts, while Tony Clubb became the first locally produced player to be appointed captain of the London side recently.
Harry Little (19) and Joel Wicks (18) both made the step up to the Super League from the club’s under-19s team and have played two and three games respectively. Little and Wicks were among eight London-developed players to feature in the Round 19 game against the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Another under-19s player, half back James Woodburn Hall (18), made his second and third appearances in Super League against Salford City Reds and Catalan Dragons having made his debut in Round 10.
Mike Bishay (20) and Erjon Dollapi (20) have also made the step up to the first team this season, having spent time on dual registration with Hemel Stags and London Skolars respectively. Bishay has made four Super League appearances this season since his debut in Round 17, while Dollapi has appeared eight times following his debut in Round 10.
The under-19s currently sit ninth in their league having won eight games so far this season, including wins over Wigan Warriors, Bradford Bulls and Hull FC. They have lost a number of matches by just a few points and with seven games remaining head coach James Massara will be looking finish strongly and climb the table.
London Broncos Chief Executive Gus Mackay added: “Investment over the years is now beginning to reap rewards with players coming through into the first team squad. This is important for the development of the game in London which in turn will provide us with a competitive Super League squad as well as providing players for future England representation.”