Fans’ favourite Wellington Albert reported to pre-season training in positive spirits following his third appearance at the Rugby League World Cup for Papua New Guinea.

The all-action prop returned to the Broncos’ squad three weeks after Papua New Guinea bravely bowed out of the competition to England at Wigan’s DW Stadium in front of more than 23,000 fans.

Albert started in all four of his home nation’s fixtures and described representing his country as a great honour.

Now, the 28-year-old’s attention has switched to the Broncos’ forthcoming Betfred Championship campaign which begins at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Wimbledon on Sunday, February 5, against Batley.

“I’ve had a few weeks off but it’s good to be back after the World Cup campaign with Papua New Guinea,” said Albert. “My body was very sore after the World Cup, so I’ve been recovering mainly after four tough games.

“It’s always good to put the Papua New Guinea jersey on and meet the boys who I grew up playing with. It was a great experience for me.”

Although part of Albert’s first season with the Broncos was impeded by injury, he still made 15 appearances and became a favourite among supporters.

Director of Rugby and Performance Mike Eccles moved quickly to secure his services for 2023, and Albert’s shares the enthusiasm of his teammates and backroom staff ahead of the start of the new season.

“I’m looking forward to next year with the Broncos,” said Albert. “I struggled with injury last year so want to get a full pre-season under my belt.

“It’s really good that we’ve kept most of our players from last season, we finished very strongly so I believe we’ll start well in 2023.”