London Broncos emphasising home comforts ahead of unlikely Super League return

 | January 30 | 

4 mins read

Sadiq Adebiyi London Broncos 2024

Almost nobody expected London Broncos to be lining up in the Betfred Super League in 2024. The capital’s sole remaining club in the professional leagues just about scrapped their way to survival in the Championship two seasons ago and finished fifth in the second tier last term.

But a sensational trio of shock away victories in the play-offs saw them beat Sheffield Eagles, runaway league leaders Featherstone Rovers and massive favourites Toulouse Olympique to regain the top-flight spot they ceded in 2019 by points difference on the final day of the campaign.

London Broncos odds

  • To finish bottom - 1/3
  • To finish bottom with Wigan finishing top - 5/2
  • To end in top six - 10/1

And under Mike Eccles, a former strength and conditioning coach who took over the club at a low ebb midway through their relegation battle in 2022, the Broncos are looking to upset further odds by steering themselves clear of bottom spot in Super League this season.

Experienced prop Rob Butler was a member of the last London side at this level five years ago, and he says the need to make the most of home advantage at Plough Lane will be massive in the Broncos being competitive in 2024.

“We do that journey every other week, we know what it’s like to travel and it can be tough,” Butler tells Betfred. “I’d like to say that we’ve got in down a bit and we’re maybe a lot better at it than other teams through the practice. But to make them do that journey and come down to Plough Lane and make that a tough fortress is going to be very big for us this year, so that home form has to be where we’re at this year.”

London are Super League’s only UK club south of Castleford, making them an isolated group. But Maidstone-born academy product Bill Leyland says that has helped them to form a united squad.

“It’s so exciting, being an academy lad it’s a dream to be in Super League. Just to be in it this season is incredible,” Leyland explains.

“I think our team spirit is our biggest strength because, as we’re all down in London, we’re all just together and we don’t really have anyone else. We’re like a little family away from everything.”

Wigan top, London bottom of Super League at 5/2

The 20-year-old also understands the need to advertise London’s importance to the global game. The club were placed 24th in IMG’s indicative rankings in the autumn ahead of the implementation of a grading system to decide Betfred Super League entry as of 2025. That means a lot of boxes will need to be ticked on and off the field if the Broncos are to be considered for top-flight status in 12 months’ time.

“Growing the game itself is probably one of the most important things you can do, so if we can stay in the Super League and play well that will only help the Super League and help ourselves grow as a team in the sport,” Leyland adds.

Sadiq Adebiyi is another local product to have come through the system, and he returns to the club after spells with Wakefield Trinity and Keighley Cougars. And, having worked with coach Eccles when he was both Head of Strength and Conditioning, then Head of Performance, the utility forward says he’s really been put through his paces by the man in charge during pre-season.

“It was tough! I’m sure everyone knows about how his pre-seasons are. Since day one we’ve hit the ground running, the conditioning and strength stuff, the ball-playing and stuff like that has been tough but enjoyable at the same time,” says the 27-year-old.

“It means everything to me, obviously being from London, growing up in London and my family’s all from London. Representing the club at the top level means the world to me, and just to go out there every week to play for my home town is something I’ve dreamt of and obviously I’ll be living the dream this season.”

The Broncos begin their season will a daunting trip to nine-time Betfred Super League champions St Helens on Friday, February 16. Kick-off is at 8pm, with live coverage on Sky Sports Action and the new SuperLeague+ streaming service.

You can read all our latest Rugby League News and Tips at our dedicated Betfred Insights rugby league content hub.

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