Leeds head coach Brian McDermott wants to see London Broncos back in Super League.
McDermott, who coached at the Broncos between 2006-2010, returns to the capital to face his old club in the Qualifiers this weekend as London go in search of a return to Super League after a two-year hiatus.
For McDermott, who takes his Leeds side to London on the back of seven wins in their last eight games, a victory would all but secure them a place in Super League next season having won their opening two games in the Qualifiers.
And McDermott hopes that one day, his Rhinos side will be joined in the top flight by the Broncos, who have enjoyed a resurgent period under head coach Andrew Henderson.
“I’d like to see them back in Super League,” said McDermott.
“I think the game is a bit more well balanced, publically it’s a bit more well balanced if they’re in Super League. For them to be in the Qualifiers is where they need to be by the way. I know they didn’t make it last year and that would be a huge disappointment to the club. I think the year after getting relegated, it shook everyone up a little bit. The recruitment you’ve got to go through, they have been on a huge recruitment drive for two years now.
“I’m not sure where their end goal is, whether they want to get back in Super League or whether they are happy competing there, and they’re maybe having a couple of seasons and just regrouping before they make a real charge for Super League.”
McDermott believes that the sport would benefit from having a team in London representing the game in the south.
“They need to have something to aspire to, the kids.
“I’ve often said and it’s true, rugby league as a sport has never been an issue down there. I know it’s not a hotbed, but the sport in itself isn’t frowned upon. Most players, most mums and dads, most coaches, most schools down there like the sport. I think you’ll find a lot of schoolmasters, predominant rugby union schools, put rugby league in their curriculum, for skill, for fitness and different aspects. The sport has never been a problem, but the pinnacle down there has been so turbulent and transient over the last 20 years, it’s hard to pin down.”
For the time being, however, McDermott is plotting another Qualifiers victory in what McDermott believes is a pivotal period for the club.
“We’ve got some important games coming up that are hugely, hugely important for the future of this club and that’s where it lies. I know that sounds heavy and we’re in a good run of form and you might call it momentum, but we’re not letting any of that alter our focus in the next five weeks.”