The Garry Schofield Column: My prediction for London Broncos in Super League 2024

IF EVER a situation summed up the mess that is the IMG club-grading system, it’s that of the surviving professional club from the capital.

London has been talked of as being so crucial to the future of the game for so long, yet we seem to be going backwards rather than forwards Darn Sarf.

Okay, the demise of Skolars (and let’s not forget Hemel Stags previously fell by the wayside) may be due to a whole range of factors.

But the criteria brought in by the game’s new power brokers, who had spoken of the importance of having a good foothold in such a massive and important city, has made life so much harder for the Broncos – and in my view, left our ‘sport’ looking stupid.

We had a great story of a club upsetting the odds just by making the play-offs – never mind going on to win them, and promotion to Super League, by the hardest route possible.

Then, before the champagne had gone flat, the Broncos discovered that staying in the top flight for 2025, when the ‘new era’ properly kicks in, was well-nigh impossible. Talk about bursting their balloon!

They could win the title and still be relegated. It’s like a non-league team being drawn against Manchester United in the FA Cup and then being told the tie won’t take place. What a ridiculous state of affairs!

Even if survival had been solely down to what happens on the pitch (which, to me, it should be) survival would have been difficult, although they came agonisingly close under Danny Ward back in 2019, and Mike Eccles has shown himself to be a talented coach who can get a tune from the players at his disposal.

But without the chance of staying up – and don’t supporters across a number of sports like to sing that? – where’s the incentive for the Broncos to invest significantly in the squad, and how does the club sell itself to the wider public when the results count for so little?

It’s a glorious opportunity gone to waste, and I feel for all those involved down there, as well as the loyal fans.

The best thing the Broncos players can do is embrace the challenge of being where they are, make the most of the experience they will gain (and of course, they will be in the shop window) and work their socks off to avoid ending up bottom and so prove my prediction wrong and underline what a daft system we now have.

London Broncos – 12th