When Danny Ward took over at the end of the 2017 season many doubted the Broncos credentials. With one game left in the regular season, the Head Coach is hoping to prove the doubters wrong and make the top four and the Middle 8’s Qualifiers.
As we get closer to your 23rd game in charge here, in the league, how has it all been for you?
It’s been good and I have enjoyed every minute. Of course, it has had its ups and downs and been a bit stressful at times but we are in a good place, the boys are playing well at the moment and yes its been great.
I think everyone would agree that the start we had was unexpected and we had ups and downs but where do you see this squad now going into the final game and potentially the qualifiers?
I think they are in a pretty good place and as I said playing well at the minute. We have been stringing some big results in big games together towards the end now and its well documented that we had a great start with a bit of a dip halfway through and since then we have been building towards where we are now. As they say “It’s not how you start it’s how you finish” so we just have to put everything we have into this last regular season game up at Barrow and then hopefully that will send us into the eights in a bit of form.
There was a lot of talk at the start of the season concerning the loss of Barthau and Ackers and obviously Hendo. Do you think we have put those doubters right now?
Well, we will see on Monday, won’t we! We have said from the start that we did not care about what people said outside of the four walls at Broncos. We knew what people were saying about us this year and about the state of the squad and where we would finish. We didn’t take any notice and just kept everything between ourselves and worked hard and that was what mattered. The opinion of the boys and the coaching staff was all that was important to us and we knew the quality of the squad and where we could get to. We couldn’t focus on people bigging us up with a pat on the back and then just knocking us down. We had a belief in these boys from the start and that was all that we focused on.
You resisted the temptation to bring in big names to replace those players that left and went with the youth at the club. Has that paid off do you think?
I think it has paid off massively for us to be honest. We have seen the lads who we have brought in to the squad and thrown into games step up in a big way. London have always been massive on youth development for a number of years. It’s been going on for some time and not just this season even when I was playing here they produced great young talent. We have tried our best to just give them a good pathway and a great environment here at the club to be able to succeed at first-team level. They have had no fear about what to expect or what was coming up and they have all shone this season. Those young lads have probably been the highlight of the season for me.
We could finish only three points down on last season’s tally. Is that a reflection on how well you have prepared the boys for the year?
I think so. It will be a fantastic achievement to finish in the top four and whether its second or third considering the strength of the competition as the table shows with the top six ahead of everyone else. Everyone has strengthened and everyone has got better and the quality throughout the league has been clear for all to see. Teams like Batley and Dewsbury and Barrow have all played well and its true now that are no easy games in this league. The League table won’t lie at the end of the year and we will be where we are due so we just have to concentrate on this one last fixture and take it from there wherever that may be.
Many voices throughout the League say London don’t deserve to be at the top table as they don’t bring any fans. What would you say to those fans who have travelled many miles this year to away games?
I would say to our fans just keep on doing what you are doing. They have been fantastic all season. At Featherstone, on the weekend, the boys really appreciated the noise and showed the fans that after the game as they do recognise the sacrifices that fans make. They have been in numbers to Toronto and Toulouse and we really do have some great fans here who know their rugby league and we have given them a good season so far and we want to carry on their journey for them as well as ours. We have performed on the field and really hope we can give them a lot more to cheer about this year.