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The Interview – Ben Hellewell

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100 games by a player for any side in any sport is an outstanding achievement. Scottish International Ben Hellewell has reached that milestone this season and we caught up with him to talk London, Rugby and life.

Ben, how does it feel to come to a club like London and end up playing 100 times for the club?
It’s been an absolute privilege to play for a club like London Broncos. When I first signed I was sceptical to be honest. I had never lived away from home and London seemed such a daunting place but I got the call from Andrew Henderson and told me there was a full time opportunity and I could not refuse the chance to be a part of something special. Four years later and I can say I have enjoyed every minute of the journey.

You left your family back in Bradford when you moved. Could you tell us about your family?
They are a massive part of my life and I miss them all constantly. Everybody in my family has played Rugby really. My dads’ side of the family especially where my Grandad played rugby. My Uncle played for Bradford Northern and my Dad played semi-professionally for Bramley so it was in the genes and obviously they have been the biggest influence on my career. They were the driving force getting me to training each week both as an amateur and a pro so I cannot thank them enough for getting me where I am today.

Moving to the capital must have been a massive change for you?
I had been to London before as a player when I came with Warrington and Bradford but had not spent any length of time here. It was a shock when I first moved down but it’s the kind of place you can adapt to quite quickly. The lads around me then helped enormously and with so many different characters around life wasn’t too bad.

You must have seen many characters here in your four years?
Definitely. There have been some big names and big personalities here in my time. In my first year I really looked up to Nick Slyney as a player. Even though he played in a different position to me the way he came back from injury to play a full season and get player of the year was incredible and an inspiration. The we had Wes Naiqama who I had watched playing as a kid and I was a massive fan of. Richie Mathers who had played for Leeds Rhinos and Great Britain was here for a while and then Jamie Soward who had played for New South wales came in too. These guys were massive characters and amazing people to learn from.

Now we are in the Qualifiers again does living with three other players keep you more grounded or are you just a group of lads living the dream?
It does keep us grounded to be fair as we go through the same emotions as each other constantly. There are a few lads here now from London but mainly it has been players from up north and abroad. We have all had to get used to the lifestyle and surroundings here and having each other really helps. We are all in the same boat so we have a great bond here. Its probably the best gelled group I have ever been involved with and a lot of the others feel the same.

Now you have a girlfriend but with your career down here to you get to spend much time together?
Funnily enough we do spend a fair amount of time together. She used to live down here in Acton so we were together a lot. She has moved back up north now so it’s a bit less now but when we go to away games she comes and watches and we get some time together that way. She doesn’t work on weekends either so I see her a fair amount. I do Facetime her everyday as well which is something to look forward to.

We saw a lot of fans go to the game at Widnes and they do travel a lot. What do the fans mean to you?
They are massive for a club of our size. They don’t necessarily come in huge numbers but we know they are there as they are so vocal. The whole team appreciate what they do and their support and without those hardcore fans there would not be a London Broncos now. Hopefully they will be travelling to Toronto and Hull KR in full voice as we carry on the journey we are all on in the hunt for a place in Super League.

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