When Rob Butler started the 2019 season, out on dual-reg, little did he know how it would become a year to remember.
Starting nearly every Super League game for London Broncos and ending with a call up to the England Knights made Rob Butler a name that was talked about throughout the Rugby League press. With big hits and his first try for London 2019 turned out to be very special indeed.
We caught up with the Kent born Prop Forward to find out more.
Rob, would you agree that 2019 has been the most amazing year on many levels but yet disappointing at the same time?
Oh yes for sure. Swings and roundabouts kind of sums it up to be fair. Personally I really enjoyed 2019 and had a great year but we didn’t finish the season how we would have liked and that puts a downer on it really. Luckily I went into England camp and it took my mind off of the disappointment.
You mentioned the England camp and I think its fair to say that it was furthest from your mind at the start of the season?
Yes. At the beginning of the year I just wanted to get as many games under my belt as I could. I thought I would be lucky to get a game here and there but before I knew it I was kind of a regular in the side each week.
Danny Ward clearly saw something in the videos of you on dual-reg and in training?
I guess so. I’m not sure what he saw to be honest and to think of it he still hasn’t told me what he saw back then. He tells me to just keep doing and being me and that’s all I can do really. I will turn up each week and do my job and if that keeps me in the squad then I will be very happy.
I think you would agree that last season was an incredible journey for the club but what was the highlight of the Super League Season for you?
Oh wow. I don’t think I can pick one individual moment if I’m honest there were so many highlights. Winning games that we were not expected to win against such big teams as Wigan, St Helens and Catalans away twice. For me it was about being out there with the boys playing at the top level and having the chance to play with my mates. It’s a dream job for me and going out and getting the result alongside good mates well there is no feeling like it.
You obviously came through the Academy here and as you say play with your mates. Does it make a difference having those boys that you grew up with like Sadiq Adebiyi, Dan Hindmarsh, James Meadows playing alongside you?
Absolutely. You always want to win no matter who is out there with you but you have the added incentive of also winning for your mate too. I go out there and look around and they are my actual mates that I am playing with. It means a lot to me having them there and it means they can give you some harsh truths and also take them back too because we have that close relationship. At the end of the day though we are mates but we all want the same thing and that is to just go out and get the job done.
Walking into the England Knights camp you probably could have been forgiven if you had been slightly in awe of names you had only seen on TV. How was it that first day?
It felt a little bit odd really that first day but they welcomed me in with open arms which was fantastic. I got to know a lot of the lads very quickly but if I’m honest it was very different to what I had expected. It was tough going into the environment as the only southerner there, which felt a bit odd, but I loved every minute of it in the end and it was an opportunity for which I am very grateful.
Now we should talk about your biggest fans in your parents. I know how much you hate Dads social media activities but they are always there for you I think you’d agree?
Lets not get into this Facebook stuff I’ve had enough of that all season! (laughs) He is an embarrassment on Social media and I wish he had never got it but I would not change him for the world as he is such a great bloke. He has always supported me as has Mum, she just doesn’t put it all over Social! My whole family have been incredibly supportive my brothers, my girlfriend are always there and travel up and down the country to support me. I could not ask anymore from them as without there help and support I would not be where I am now. All the hours of driving me around in the Academy are paying off! I am so grateful and I probably don’t say it enough and I hope Dad reads this!
So 2020 is ahead of us so what is there to look forward to now?
There is so much to look forward to, to be honest. We will look to get back to winning ways first and foremost I think. We were so close to staying up and achieving our goal last year. We have very high expectations of ourselves for the new season and we have set the standards high again for 2020. The big thing last season was we were competitive in every game and that is something we will keep hold of in the new season too as we look towards getting back up to Super League at the first time of asking.