Leeds Rhinos: Heartland clubs are reining in the Broncos – McGuire

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
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i really admire the people who have put so much effort into promoting rugby league in London.

It isn’t easy up here in the heartlands, where the sport is well established, so it must be a tough job a couple of hundreds of miles away, where football and rugby union are the main games.

When you look at all the groundwork being done, you can’t help but be impressed. A lot of effort has gone into setting up junior and open-age teams and I know rugby league is now played in schools all over the capital, which is a fantastic achievement.

We are now starting to see players from London and the south east come through into Super League and do well at the top level, lads like Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Michael Channing and Tony Clubb.

But unfortunately the success rugby league is having at grassroots level isn’t being sustained at the top. I know it is really hard for London Broncos, because they’ve never been able to put down firm roots.

They haven’t had a settled ground and the name of the club has changed a few times, which doesn’t help when they are trying to grow their support base.

Sports fans in the capital just don’t seem to have taken to the club and the crowds are very disappointing. That’s not through lack of trying, but it’s just the way it is.

With London struggling for results and crowds down to 1,100 or so people’s patience is wearing thin and I can understand that.

It would be a shame to see Broncos drop out of Super League this year, because I have always enjoyed playing them, especially away.

It is good to go down there and have a night away with the boys and we have had some fantastic battles with them over the years.

London, or Harlequins, have had some good teams, especially when they were able to attract top imports and they have turned us over a few times.

But I do get where people are coming from when they say enough time, effort and money has been put into the top team down there and maybe now it’s time to give a club like Featherstone or Halifax a go and see where they are in four or five years’ time.

To have a club in the capital struggling for results and crowds doesn’t really do the game any good.

That said, London won’t have given up just yet and we aren’t expecting an easy ride against them tonight. It is a difficult one for us because everyone expects us to put a cricket score on them.

Just because people think that’s going to happen doesn’t mean it will.

It will be 13 men against 13 tonight and at some stage – as Brian McDermott has been drilling into us all week – London are going to catch a team off guard and turn them over. We have got to focus on our own game, make sure we are switched on from the first whistle and keep improving.

It is a big one for us because the two points are important.

And we also want to be in decent shape for a massive game at St Helens next Friday.

We are happy with the way we have been going so far this season, but there’s a lot more to come.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

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