Broncos set to sign PNG international

London Broncos will soon confirm that they have signed a PNG international to bolster their backline for the 2016 season.

The Championship club has snared a player who can fill in at centre and in the halves for next year. The Broncos are expected to formally announce the signing in the next few days, with the player awaiting his visa approval.

Love Rugby League understands it is PNG Hunters captain Israel Eliab.

Eliab helped the Hunters to a second-place finish in the Queensland Cup this year. The 24-year old played for Papua New Guinea in the 2013 World Cup.

London head coach Andrew Henderson maintains that the player is his last signing for the new campaign.

“He can play stand off and centre,” he said.

“That will complete my squad, that will be the last one.

“I think we’ve made some really shrewd signings, some really shrewd acquisitions.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how they come together over the next couple of months.”

The Broncos have already made overseas captures in prop Mark Ioane from the St George Illawarra Dragons and outside back Nathan Stapleton from the Sydney Roosters.

The club has also added Eddie Battye from Sheffield, James Cunningham from Hull FC, Jack Bussey and Alex Foster from Featherstone Rovers, Scott Leatherbarrow from Batley and Andy Ackers from Swinton Lions.

The likes of Ben Farrar, Glenn Riley, Erjon Dollapi, Ray Nasso, Oscar Thomas, Sean Morris and Joel Wicks have all left London in the off-season.

Henderson confirmed he has permanently retired, after being forced to pull on his playing boots again last season after the Broncos were caught short at hooker mid-way through the campaign.

The 36-year old, who played for Sheffield, Gateshead, Castleford, Barrow and Balmain, made 11 appearances for London in 2015.

Cunningham and Ackers are expected to battle for the number 9 jersey, with William Barthau offering additional cover.

“That’s me, I’m done,” Henderson.

“I’m in a pretty good position. I’ve got James Cunningham there now, I’ve got Andy Ackers.

“Will Barthau can cover at 9 now as well, as I’ve got a bit of cover in the halves with Scott Leatherbarrow and Joe Keyes.

“I never envisaged playing last year, it was needs must. But I’ve been pretty clever this year.

“I’ve said to myself I don’t want to be coming out of retirement for a third time.”

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