London Broncos star Dean Parata pushing to buck the trend in Super League: ‘We want to compete and win games’

John Davidson
Dean Parata Italy London Broncos Alamy

London Broncos star Dean Parata in action for Italy at the World Cup in 2022 - Alamy

Bookmakers, pundits and rival fans might be already writing the London Broncos off before the Super League season has even started, but loose forward Dean Parata insists his team can shock the competition.

London stunned many last season by knocking off Featherstone and then defeating Toulouse in France in the Championship Grand Final to secure a stunning promotion back into the top flight against the odds.

The Broncos have lost several key figures from that 2023 squad, including half-backs Corey Norman and Henry Raiwalui, and centre Dean Whare.

They have signed Hull KR prop Rhys Kennedy, Keighley pair Sadiq Adebiyi and Robbie Storey, James Meadows from Batley, Gideon Boafo from Newcastle, Italian international Jack Campagnolo and are still on the hunt for more recruits before the new campaign kicks off next month.

Betfred have placed London at huge outsiders, locking them in at 150/1 to win the competition, but Parata believes his side can spring some surprises this year and will use external criticism as strong motivation.

“Our target is to be competitive,” Parata told Love Rugby League.

“Everyone’s going to be writing us off (like) last year, so we want to surprise everyone really and compete and win games, not just be there.

“I found out last year about three games to go in the season, apparently the odds for us winning the comp were like a 100/1. It was insane.

“So we used that, it was one of our catchphrases, our slogans that we would shout at training. It was pretty cool, but it’s probably going to be the same this year.

“I don’t follow the outside noise much but I don’t imagine anyone’s giving us a chance.”

London Broncos not paying attention to outside noise: ‘We’re not focused on anyone else, it’s all about us’

The Australia-born forward, who has spent most his career in the Championship and the NSW Cup, joined London from Featherstone at the end of 2021.

Parata was a pivotal performer for the club last season, winning joint-Championship Player of the Year and scoring six tries in 34 appearances.

He feels the Broncos can flourish by being outside the rugby league bubble in the south, and away from outside noise, to purely focus on themselves.

“It’s good down in London because to be honest I don’t normally pay too much attention, but as a club we don’t take in whatever else is going on in Super League,” the 32-year-old said.

“We’re not talking about anyone else, we’re not focused on anyone else, it’s all about us. We’re away from a lot of that as well… We like it that way.”

While other Super League clubs have gone on pre-season camps in Greece, Spain and Portugal, the Broncos have been grinding away in the capital.

They take on Castleford this Sunday at the Jungle in their first friendly of 2024.

“I spoke to a couple of friends and they’re in Portugal or whatever, but we’re staying in London,” Italy international Parata added.

“We haven’t got the luxury unfortunately of going overseas, we’re stuck here.

“Pre-season has been good, it’s been alright. It’s been different, just adjusting, with a new squad as well.

“But we’re looking alright. I can’t wait for it to be over, to be honest, and for the season to start.”

READ NEXT: London Broncos make eighth new signing ahead of Super League return in shape of Italy World Cup star