Mike Eccles glad for three London Broncos players and ‘vastly experienced’ coach

LONDON BRONCOS have extended Italian international hooker Dean Parata’s contract for the 2024 season.

Parata, 32, who was born in Australia, won this year’s Championship Player of the Year award.

He originally came to England to join Barrow from NSW Cup club Blacktown Workers in 2018, before joining Toulouse the following year and then spending two seasons with Featherstone from 2020. 

He joined the Broncos in 2022 and has played 62 games for them, scoring 16 tries, while he played for Italy in the 2013 World Cup and again in 2022.

“Super League needs a team from London in the competition and I’m happy to play my small role in ensuring we stay there,” said Parata.

Meanwhile former Castleford and Warrington assistant coach Ryan Sheridan has moved south to join the Broncos’ backroom team, having been appointed as head coach Mike Eccles’ new assistant ahead of their return to the top flight.

Prior to his latest move, Sheridan had spent more than a decade working with Daryl Powell at Featherstone, Castleford and Warrington, but he will not be joining Powell at Wakefield.

“Ryan is an outstanding acquisition for us,” said Eccles.

“He is vastly experienced at Super League level and will provide a great level of detail and Super League IQ to our programme. Ryan’s CV as a coach since retiring is pretty impressive and I’m delighted we’ve been able to bring him to London.”

The Broncos will also have Jordie Hedges on their coaching team, with the former Doncaster player joining the club from Keighley.

“Jordie has done an excellent job in the background at Keighley over the past few seasons and has come highly recommended by our good friend Rhys Lovegrove and all of the players that have worked with him,” said Eccles.

“Having retired early due to injury from a very promising career, Jordie has become a career coach from an early age. 

“I’m sure that Jordie’s skill set, temperament and approach to coaching will complement Ryan and myself very well. 

“What’s important to me is that we get the chemistry of the staff right to build the best programme possible and best help maximise the potential of the players. 

“Between Ryan, Jordie and myself, I believe we have the right balance to deliver just that.”

The Broncos have also agreed extended contracts with two other players for the 2024 season.

Papua New Guinea World Cup star Emmanuel Waine, 27, is looking forward to having a memorable season in Super League next year.

“I’m really looking forward to being a part of a great team and a great culture which the team has created,” said Waine.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and doing what I do best and making sure London Broncos can really compete.”

Rob Butler has also signed a new contract to remain with the club next season. 

The 25-year-old, who made 17 appearances in 2023 after re-signing with the Broncos in June from Wakefield, has added to the Broncos’ home-grown look in 2023, having begun playing Rugby League in Kent with the Medway Dragons.

“I’m really excited to be back home where it all started and back in Super League,” he said.