Photo: @TheRFL Twitter
Head Coach Jermaine Coleman has wasted no time getting to work in his new role at the London Broncos and he took time out to speak to Broncos Media to update supporters on the progress made so far and his vision for the club in 2022 and beyond.
The Leeds born Coach has had a frustrating year in 2021, a year in which he should have been leading his Jamaica RL side into the Rugby League World Cup following a wonderful qualifying campaign which has seen the young Coach win a lot of admirers for his work with the Reggae Warriors. Coleman has of course also been the Head Coach of our neighbours London Skolars for 7 years and he believes the tough job he was given at the Skolars has given him the grounding he needs to step up to the Championship with the Broncos in 2022.
He said “Working with the Skolars has been fantastic for me and it gave me the experience I needed to learn and improve as Coach in a pretty difficult environment at times simply due to the nature of the clubs’ finances and location outside of the Rugby League Heartlands.”
“We had some good times at the Skolars and making the play offs was a proud moment for me given the budget I had to work with in comparison to some of the other clubs in League 1 that year and I had hoped that we could have kicked on but it was not meant to be.”
Whilst Rugby League players across the game are enjoying a period of well-deserved downtime there is no time for Holidays for Coaching staff and Coleman has spent the last 3 weeks calling players around the UK and Australia as he assembles his squad for 2022. With several players already signed, key members of the Broncos squad retained and several targets edging closer to agreeing deals Coleman is pleased with how the recruitment is going so far.
“For me, the first job was to get key players from the current Broncos squad retained and I have been able to do that with several of them which I am really pleased about. These players will be a key part of what we do next year so getting them on board early means they can now enjoy another month off with peace of mind for both of us.”
“We have also managed to secure some really exciting young players from around the UK, players I have watched for some time, and they will hopefully grab this opportunity to join a big Championship club and thrive in the environment we are going to create. To make this work we need the right mix of experienced players and hungry young players but there are several other factors to consider such as attitude, willingness to buy into our culture, and commitment to helping the club move forward off the field too.”
“There are players from Australia who have agreed terms however the Visa process is a complicated one therefore we are waiting with fingers crossed to see if those players can join us in November for Pre-Season but we have a number of targets that are playing, or have played Super League recently that will hopefully give us additional options in the positions we needed to strengthen.”
“The key thing for me is that we are signing players up on multiyear deals which will stop the problem the Broncos have had in recent seasons where our best talent was being picked off before the seasons end. We have some fantastic young players in London and we want them to remain as London Rugby League players for their whole careers.”
A common dismissal of a Club like the Broncos being able to become Part-Time has been that there is not a player pool big enough to build a competitive squad but Coleman was quick to praise the work done by Community Coaches across London, including our own West London Community CIC, that are developing young players in London and the South East which provides our Academy with fresh talent year on year.
He said “There are so many Community Clubs out there doing amazing work such as Brixton Bulls and Invicta Panthers with their Junior sections growing all of the time. We also have John Keyes and his West London CIC sending people like Dalton Grant into Primary Schools to spread the Rugby League gospel and this is going to hopefully ramp up in the years to come.”
“There are players of such vast Nationalities playing Rugby League in our area now which in turn opens up potential supporter markets for our Commercial team to tap into.”
“London is such a vast City and as Staff, Players and Supporters we must all get behind anything to do with this great game to ensure that participation continues to grow in the Community and we see our crowds return to the sort of numbers they can be. Our Club needs its supporters more than ever now after a very tough time.”