Mike Eccles explains why London Broncos are unable to sign senior players on loan

LONDON are being punished by their geography in the loan market, according to their director of rugby Mike Eccles.

The club has been forced into short-term recruitment after a spate of injuries early in the season that has sidelined players such as Lewis Bienek, Ethan Natoli, Bill Leyland and Josh Rourke.

Huddersfield’s Fenton Rogers, Reiss Butterworth of Hull KR, and Wigan’s Harvey Makin have since joined on month-long loans, with Makin still at the Broncos.

That trio had only three Super League appearances between them before joining (Rogers played once for Huddersfield last season, while Butterworth made two appearances for the Giants four years ago).

Eccles confessed his frustration at being unable to bring more experienced players into a squad with little previous top-level exposure.

“The thing with London is, to recruit a senior player they’ve probably got a wife and kids and a life back north. They can’t just pop over,” he said.

“We played Hull FC the other week – Matty Russell and Joe Bullock just go over (on loan). That’s a long transfer from Warrington to Hull, but it’s nothing compared to (coming) here. 

“It’s hard to recruit a player in-season in London. It requires them to be quite young. 

“I think Reiss Butterworth has been fantastic. Harvey Makin has been fantastic.

“But ideally you’d be picking up a player who’s played 200 games of Super League, like some of the other clubs do when they do business. Unfortunately that’s not an option for us.”

London recruited players in mid-season to great effect last year, helping lift the club into the Championship play-offs and on to promotion.

But they will be picky about making any similar such moves this time.

“There’s just not a great deal available,” added Eccles.

“The word is out, but I don’t want to bring in players that are (only) as good as what we’ve got.

“Last year we had Corey (Norman) and Dean Whare, and they breathed a lot of confidence into the rest of the players. We’re looking for a similar influence if we do recruit long-term.

“There is a bit of short-termism around it at the moment, to get through and get some troops back (from injury). 

“But we’re certainly not set up to do that, to bring players in short-term. 

“There’s conflicts of interest as well – we bring in Fenton, then we play Huddersfield. We bring in Reiss Butterworth and then we play Hull KR (last Friday). That’s another reason why it doesn’t quite work.”