A six o’clock start on a Saturday morning for some, is not the best way to begin a weekend, but for the London Broncos academy side, it’s becoming a regular occurrence.
“Some of the boys were up at 3:00am to get here on time,” said academy coach, Jamie Langley.
“It’s an extremely long day for the lads, from leaving home, travelling to the match, and then getting back home again.”
Langley has been in charge of the academy for 18 months now, and coupled with Head of Youth, Rob Powell, both have seen a change in the fortunes of many of the young men who have crossed their paths.
Young players like Ben Pointer, Sadiq Adebiyi and Lewis Bienek have all come through the system, and have now gone onto ply their trade as professionals within the Broncos first team squad.
“We have some very talented players within the ranks, and I can see a few of them definitely making the step up to the professional game,” added Langley.
Six hours after leaving the capital last Saturday, the coach finally arrived at it destination and the team were greeted by a spirited performance from their hosts. Even after the long journey north, London Broncos academy team secured their fourth win of the season and stayed tenth in the RFL academy league.
“The boys played well considering the circumstances,” Langley said. “I felt sorry for the Newcastle lads, as they were in tears at the end”.
Newcastle have not won a game in three years, and at one point, had London 16-4 down. Naturally, the home side thought it was to be their day, but the Broncos dug deep to make the long journey home a little more comfortable.
Langley, a former professional himself, said, “Rugby league is improving all the time on every level in the capital, and I can honestly say the Broncos have built a pathway and are fully focused on developing the players of tomorrow.”
Looking at the numbers of players under the age of 19 at the club, rugby league in the capital is in very young, but very capable hands.