London Broncos boss won’t ‘beg players’ to join club: ‘They’ve got to want to come for the right reasons’

Ben Olawumi
London Broncos

London Broncos in action against Widnes Vikings at Plough Lane in 2022 - Alamy

London Broncos boss Mike Eccles says he won’t ‘beg players’ to join the club, and admits they ‘will have to build into the season’.

The Broncos have thus far added seven new faces to their pack ahead of a first campaign in Super League since 2019, the latest of those additions being former Hull FC & Toronto Wolfpack ace Hakim Miloudi.

Notably, only one of the seven to join so far came from another Super League club, that one being Australian prop Rhys Kennedy following his departure from Hull KR. The remainder link up with the capital outfit from clubs in the Championship and League 1.

Eccles gave an exclusive interview to Love Rugby League before the turn of the year, admitting his squad will still contain part-time players following a shock promotion.

And while that’s the case, he is still searching for that bit of ‘star quality’, but won’t roll out the red carpet for anyone.

London Broncos boss Mike Eccles won’t ‘beg players’ to join club: ‘They’ve got to want to come for the right reasons’

The Broncos chief provided a squad update via their YouTube channel earlier this week, detailing the difficulties they’ve had in getting deals over the line.

He said: “It’s tough and it’s not easy. I’m not sure anybody has been promoted as late as us, and in terms of time, I think we’ve probably had less than anyone has ever had.

“We’ve spoken to so many players, and a few deals have fallen through. We’ve missed out on a few deals as well for one reason or another, but it’s got to be right.

“You can’t beg people to come to London, it doesn’t work. They’ve got to want to come for the right reasons, and that’s really important to me.

“I’ve just got to stay patient, more patient than I’d have wanted, but I’ve got to stay strong and stay patient to bring the right players into the club to maximise our potential.”

Broncos to continue search for star quality ahead of season start

Eccles – whose official title is Director of Rugby and Performance – has been involved with London for over a decade.

Taking interim charge of the side in May 2022 following Jermaine Coleman‘s departure, the Leigh native saw his position at the helm made permanent ahead of last season.

He knows the club more than most, and says work will continue behind the scenes to get the squad into a better place before their season begins on February 16 against St Helens.

The 38-year-old continued: “Since I’ve taken over, I’ve always tried to keep the nucleus of the squad together, and going from year one into year two, I wanted to retain as many players as I could.

“It’s been the same this year. Obviously we’ve lost a few players, but we were always going to lose people whether we were in the Championship or Super League.

“The squad will evolve, we’re still heavily involved in talking with agents and trying to get players in. It feels a little bit like copy and paste from last year to be honest.

“We’ll have to build into the season again, albeit we can’t do it like we did last year in the Championship, we understand that, and there will be more signings before the season starts.”

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