Born and raised in Tottenham, 22 year old Iliess Macani is a London boy through and through, having played his 50th game for London against Whitehaven. He’s the only player in the current squad to have reached such a milestone.
A product of the London Broncos Scholarship and Academy teams, Macani has also played for London Skolars juniors, and is incredibly proud to represent his city.
“I absolutely love London, and can hand on heart say there is no better city.
“Every time I take the field I’m representing my city, so playing for London is a very personal thing for me.
“It’s a tremendous honour to have the most apps in the team right now, and I feel as though I have a little responsibility to tell the new players about the club and a bit about the history and past culture.”
Macani, Bronco number 544, made his first team debut on 9 August 2013 against St Helens – when the club were playing in Super League – going on to score a try. He has since gone on to make over 50 appearances, which is something he’d like to see happen for other young London players following in his footsteps.
“I definitely would like to see a lot more young London players come through and make many appearances, and go on to do great things.
“It [rugby league] has been taking off for a while, just ever so slowly, but we are seeing London players move on and do really well like Keiron Dixon, Dan Sarginson, Denny Solomona and many more.
“The next step now, I believe, is to try and retain that talent and make London the great club it should be.”
The move to Trailfinders Sports Club in Ealing at the end of 2015 means the new home becomes the first facility to have seen all three London Broncos teams train under the one roof – something that has definitely cemented the players as a club, rather than three teams who simply share the same name.
“We’re really enjoying life in Ealing and the facilities at the Trailfinders. It’s a new, fresh start and good to have the whole club in one base. It makes it easier to watch the academy and for them to watch us. We can learn from each other, and give the young players coming through little tips and pointers to help them out.”
The club has experienced early on-field success in the 2016 season, currently sitting third on the table (having previously held top spot), and remain unbeaten at home in the league. Success, that many wouldn’t have predicted for the side from the south.
Macani believes the difference lies within the team. “I believe we got a good preseason under our belt, and kept the good core from the team last year. We added a few players that have added to the team as well.
“We’ve got an edge to our team this year – a lot of desire and grit that has been proven in games like the Featherstone game, to come from behind and get the win.”
Where would he like to see the team finish at the end of the 2016 season? “Most definitely a top four finish is a requirement, and anything less will be rather disappointing.”
Photo credit: Matthew Merrick Photography