London buoyed by upgrade to Elite Academy status

James Gordon

London Broncos’ head of youth development Rob Powell says the club’s new elite academy license is a significant development for the future of rugby league in the capital.

The Broncos were one of 10 clubs to be awarded the new status, which will be operational from the 2022 season until 2027.

Alongside Newcastle Thunder, they were the only clubs outside of Super League to earn elite status.

The announcement caused much controversy, with Bradford, Castleford and Hull KR all left off the elite academy list.

But for London, their elite academy is an upgrade from their current Category 2 academy status.

Powell said: “I would like to thank Chairman David Hughes and CEO Jason Loubser for their dedication to
Academy Rugby League in London. Their support of the Academy and its application has been outstanding.

“First team coach Danny Ward and his staff have been instrumental too by providing a vision that strives to promote and develop local players and support staff.

“Without their support plus the London Junior League Committee, the RFL and Community Clubs in our region, this would not be possible. To the parents and players too, all of whom champion our programmes.

“We are excited about what the future holds. We have an opportunity to drive this forward and create a Super League quality first-team built around our local Academy products.”

A 100-page document which analysed all elements of provision within the Broncos’ academy including medical, strength and conditioning, coaching and player welfare was submitted.

The document also included a six-year visionary plan and four-year development strategy.

Powell added: “The announcement means we can continue to provide an aspirational pathway for local players to reach the very highest level of our sport.

“A huge amount of work has gone into making our Elite Academy status possible and we have continually improved our service to the city’s young players in recent years.

“Behind our Academy are a very professional group of volunteers, part-time and full-time staff who invest an unbelievable volume of time, emotional energy and determination to make what we deliver possible.”

The other clubs to be awarded Elite Academy licenses were Catalans, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Newcastle, St Helens, Wakefield, Warrington and Wigan.