London Broncos set to go full-time as hero Iliess Macani makes bold Super League claim

LONDON BRONCOS are set to go full-time following their Championship Grand Final heroics at the weekend.

The capital club finished fifth in the second tier during the 2023 season but stunned Sheffield Eagles, Featherstone Rovers and Toulouse Olympique on the road to earn promotion back to the big time for the first time since 2019.

It’s a truly incredible feat for a side that lost four of their opening five games of the season, with head coach Mike Eccles being named Championship Coach of the Year at a lavish awards ceremony last week.

But, very few people in rugby league would have expected the Broncos to travel to Toulouse and beat the French team on their own patch, especially when considering that only Featherstone have been successful at the Stade Ernest Wallon in 2023.

One of the heroes of Sunday afternoon was Tottenham-born winger Iliess Macani, who has earned a reputation for himself over the years for being a tough, strong ball-carrier and great finisher.

Macani scored twice against Toulouse, but it was his work coming out of defence that impressed Viaplay viewers more, with some shocked at the 29-year-old not being snapped up by a Super League side before.

Now, the Londoner has explained how Eccles has instilled a belief within the squad unrivalled elsewhere.

“It’s an unreal feeling and I’m just so glad the hard work paid off,” Macani told League Express.

“We knew as a club internally as a group that we had the potential to go far but we kept it in house and knew the process and how hard it would be.

“Mike has always been a leader at the Broncos the whole time he has been here and has lead from the front. He has always promoted everyone being accountable and it has definitely rubbed off on the team.”

Meanwhile, the Broncos are set to go full-time in order to compete, with Macani keen to make a bold claim that London “will get it right” this time around after being relegated twice before.

“I believe the club’s plan is to be full-time, as I can’t see how the club can compete in Super League as a part-time team,” Macani continued.

“I am sure because of the amazing feat the club has achieved, we will retain as many players as possible. I hope the club can make sure we retain as much of the squad as possible because we have shown we are a good team.

“The promotion is massive for the club and very important for rugby league. There have been previous attempts at being a consistent Super League team, but it has always ended with relegation – this time we will get it right.”

For Macani, staying in 2024 would mean giving up his day job but he is keen to stay: “I’d like to stay but we’ll see what is on offer. I’d like to stay in London, so definitely plan on being in the capital.”

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