Expansionist Blog: London’s local lads have long-term vision for Super League glory

Drew Darbyshire

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

London are a club who pride themselves on giving youth a chance and everyone has bought into Danny Ward’s long-term dream of achieving Super League success.

Ward took over the head coaching reins from Andrew Henderson in the off-season after spending time as assistant coach at the Broncos.

He has done a magnificent job in his debut season as a head coach. The 38-year-old guided London to finishing second in the Championship after the regular campaign, only behind big spenders Toronto Wolfpack.

And Ward is enjoying every minute of his time in the capital.

He said: “It has been a rollercoaster ride this year and you deal with a lot more stuff than when you are an assistant coach but I’m loving it.

“The players have been great to work with and they have bought into what we are trying to do, and it is a fantastic place to work.”

There are currently 12 players in London’s first-team who have come through the academy and every single one of them has played their part for the Broncos this season.

James Meadows, Matt Davis, Dan Hindmarsh and Alex Walker have all impressed in the Championship and are up there with the hottest prospects in the UK.

And Ward wants to see even more London youngsters in the squad.

He added: “The academy is something we pride ourselves on down here but that is nothing new really.

“We have been producing talented kids for a long time due to the fantastic work that previous people here have done. We just try now to give them a pathway into the first-team and we want to build a club around these young lads.

“If you look at the likes of Wigan and Leeds, they have conveyer belts of kids coming through and that is what we want to be like. We have a good junior set up and our aim is to build our team around local lads.”

The Broncos are currently competing in The Qualifiers as they hope to gain promotion into Super League.

Ward hasn’t put a timeframe on when London will be back in Super League, but he has huge aspirations for the capital club.

He explained: “We have put ourselves in the frame to get promoted to Super League this year by getting a spot in The Qualifiers.

“The long-term plan is to be a sustainable Super League team and to be one of the top clubs in Super League. We have got that ambition and we want to build a team based on our youth structure.

“We want to build a strong and competitive side who can compete at the top level. We don’t just want to get in Super League, our long-term goal is to be one of the best teams in the country.

“It is a long-term vision, it is not just going to happen straight away or next year, but we are confident that we can grow the game down here and that is our vision for our future.”