Josh Walters will forever be etched in Leeds Rhinos’ history books after he scored the match-winning try in the 2015 Super League Grand Final in front of 73,512 fans.
It was a moment the 26-year-old will cherish for the rest of his life. Four years after his Grand Final heroics, he opted for fresh beginnings when signing with London Broncos.
At the time of joining the Broncos were well placed in the Super League. But a dramatic twist in the battle to avoid relegation saw the club become the first to win 10 Super League fixtures and still be relegated.
It means Walters’ ambitions have shifted, and the Broncos’ attempt to return to the top-flight continues tomorrow when Bradford Bulls visit the Trailfinders Sports Club.
The challenge of helping the Broncos return to Super League is one that drives the adaptable second row.
“I was only speaking to Cory (Aston) on Thursday about how we both signed for the Broncos when the club was in the Super League,” said Walters. “Of course, the pandemic halted our plans to immediately return to the top-flight, but there is a fantastic spirit and buzz in the squad right now.
“Everyone is focused on the same goal, it’s an exciting time. Joining the Broncos has sparked my enthusiasm for the sport again. I considered moving to Australia, but when Danny (Ward, Head Coach) called asking about my availability I did not look back.
“Living and playing in London is a completely different experience to what I am used to up north. There is huge opportunity for the club to grow with fans returning to stadiums and the World Cup on the horizon.”
Walters’ family will travel from the north to be in attendance for the match. It will be a first Rugby League experience for his girlfriend too, who he lives with in Fulham.
His family will join hundreds of others in attending their first sporting fixture since the pandemic forced matches to take place behind closed doors. For Walters, the return of supporters will come as a huge boost.
“It was strange playing behind closed doors at first,” said Walters. “But we have become used to it now so having supporters back will add a fresh element to tomorrow’s game.
“We’ve missed the fans’ support massively. For me it is odd, although I have been a Broncos player for over a year-and-a-half, I have only played at home in front of a crowd on a couple of occasions.
“Bradford Bulls are a household name in sport. They are a tough team to face regardless of their form.
“It so happens they’ve enjoyed a strong start to the season, so we’ll need to be at our best if we’re to continue our positive run of results.”
Fans attending the game are advised to read the Broncos’ recent statement concerning the return of fans to the Trailfinders Sports Club before arriving.
Supporters that cannot attend can still watch the game online. A live stream matchday pass can be purchased here.