At only 24, Bradford born Ben Hellewell has achieved his fair share in rugby league.
As a youngster, the Scotland international came up through the scholarship and academy ranks at Bradford Bulls, before signing a two year deal with Warrington. After struggling to break into an already strong team, Hellewell returned to West Yorkshire, signing with Featherstone Rovers, also for two seasons.
At the end of 2014, he signed with London, where he has now found a home. Hellewell played his 50th game for the club earlier this year – a feat only accomplished by a handful of players in the current side.
“My favourite thing about playing for the Broncos is that I get to play the game I love every week with some of my best mates. Everybody gets along with each other – with no egos in the team – which makes us a tight knit group of blokes that share the same dream,” said Hellewell.
“Reaching the 50th game for London this season is a huge achievement for me because it’s a milestone I haven’t reached with the clubs I have previously been at, and to do it with a club as good as London Broncos makes me very proud. I am one of only a handful of players in the team today to reach the big 50, and I hope the journey continues for every one of us.
“Playing for the Broncos means a lot to me, because although we are a great team and we compete at a high level, the sport of rugby league is not as popular down south as it is up north. For us – both as players and as a team – to act as role models to people young or old, who have never played or been to watch a game before to experience this great sport, makes me immensely proud.”
It’s no secret the team’s 2016 performance has been an incredible turnaround from the previous year, and if you ask any of the players what it comes down to, all have a similar response – hard work, and belief in each other. Hellewell is no different.
“The key to our success this year is down to the amount of effort we put in for each other week in, and week out, whether it’s in training during the week, or on game day.
“We set ourselves a goal of reaching the top four at the start of the season, and with every single person dedicating themselves to that target we managed to exceed expectations and secure that top two spot before the season had even finished.
“The team has worked extremely hard to go above and beyond the limits of what outsiders expected us to achieve. As players and coaching staff, we knew we had the capability to succeed because of the hard work we put in throughout the season. Starting in pre-season, and all the way through to now, the intensity in training hasn’t changed, and it has reaped its rewards on game day.”
With six huge Super 8s matches still ahead of the team, Hellewell is looking forward to demonstrating that London is well and truly capable of competing on the big stage.
“I’m extremely excited for what’s to come in this Super 8s competition, and I’m looking forward to every single one of the games because of the competitive nature of it all, but the one I’m looking forward to the most is probably Leeds at home.
“They’re the current Super League champions and it’s also on TV, so we can show everybody watching that we can compete with the best in the game.
“Obviously our goal is to get into Super League by the end of the seven games, but there are seven teams in our way chasing the same goal as us.
“We faced one of those teams in a tough Batley Bulldogs side, but we know in our ability that if we put in 100% in every game we will succeed.”
Hellewell currently lives with Eddie Battye, Matt Garside and Will Barthau, in what sounds like domestic bliss.
“It’s safe to say living with Garside and Battye is annoying when they’re constantly bickering at each other – it’s like living with a married couple, although they’d probably say I’m the annoying one.
“All three of them do a good job at cleaning the house whereas I stand back and watch them do a great job.
“I’d say Garside and Eddie are the ones that cook the most, but I don’t like to show them up with my many signature dishes so I just resort to being the sous chef.”
When asked who’s the most annoying to sit next to on an away trip: “There’s not many annoying lads to sit next to, but Jamie Thackray has some great stories over the 40 years he’s played the game.
“Stories like playing for Great Britain (GB) and the fact that he single handedly won the Challenge Cup with Hull FC, but hearing the same stories over and over again it can become quite annoying.”
Hellewell has recently extended his time with the Broncos, signing on to stay for another season in the capital.
“Re-signing was an easy decision for me, because ever since I first signed for the club last year, everybody involved – whether it’s the players, coaching staff or the back room staff – have made me feel welcome and assured me that I’ve made friends for life.
“We are a close knit group here and it’s getting better year after year, so I am enjoying myself and long may it continue.”