Forward Wellington Albert cannot wait to take to the state-of-the-art Cherry Red Records Stadium pitch after revealing more about where his passion for Rugby League started.
The Papua New Guinea international signed up to London Broncos’ 2022 Betfred Championship campaign in November, joining from Keighley Cougars after a previous stint with Super League giants Leeds Rhinos.
The 27-year-old said stepping out on the Wimbledon turf will be a far cry from his first memories of Rugby League back home, where he and his younger brother Stanton used to improvise by tying ropes together and filling water bottles to create their own balls.
“Rugby League is massive back home,” said Albert. “But growing up me and my brother didn’t always have a ball to play with, so we used to improvise and make our own – it’s funny looking back.
“We’d play by the river and that’s when I realised I wanted to play Rugby League when I’m older.
“Joining London Broncos is a really exciting step for my career. My first impressions are very good, the backroom staff, coaching team and my teammates are all working hard to make this year as successful as possible.
“We want to hit the ground running and start this new era for the club in a positive light. I can’t wait to see how the year develops.”
Albert hopes to play his first competitive match for the Broncos in February after recovering from a broken fibula and dislocated ankle while training with Keighley last year.
The adaptable forward admits he has an extra incentive to play well in 2022 with a place in Papua New Guinea’s World Cup squad up for grabs.
“My injury was terrible, and I felt the need for a change,” said Albert. “I’m hopeful by mid-February I’ll be able to challenge for a spot in the first-team.
“It’s been a long time since I played my last game, but the support from the Broncos’ staff has been excellent. My priority is to reach the stage where I’m fully recovered, then I want to play consistently through the season and help the team be successful.
“It’s an exciting new era for the club and you can feel the energy in and around the team. It’s great to be part of.”
Albert will be looking towards some extra support from the touchline through the season with his three-year-old son expected to attend all home matches.
He added: “He’s very energetic and clever for his age! I love being around him and watching him learn new skills every day.
“I’m sure he’ll want to play Rugby League in the future. Maybe it might be with London Broncos, who knows.”
London Broncos start their 2022 Betfred Championship campaign at home to Widnes Vikings on Sunday, January 30 (3pm).
The match will mark the club’s first home game at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Wimbledon. Tickets are available to purchase now by clicking here.