A small London club of Kiwi expats is starting to make waves.
Wests Warriors recently booked their place in the third round of the Challenge Cup with a 26-0 win against Featherstone Lions.
The London-based amateur team were only formed back in 2014 and are making their debut appearance in the competition, which adds to the scale of their achievement.
The club actually started off playing nines before tournament success in that format of the game ignited the desire to create a 13-a-side team.
Warriors head coach Kim Parkinson says he has seen a “quite remarkable” development in the club over the past few years.
At the beginning they didn’t even have enough players to fill a match day squad.
Success in the London Challenge Cup and social media helped to drive interest and they now are at the stage where they are looking to set up a first and second team.
Parkinson explained there are several other aspirations the club want to realize off the back of the success.
“We didn’t really have goals at that stage but now things have gone so well we want to lock in a home venue,” he told Love Rugby League.
“We also want to go to schools and start producing which will hopefully allow us to create a junior Warriors team.
“We want it to include all ages from as soon as they can lace up their boots really.”
The club might be overawed they are into the third round but it is interesting to note that 90% of the team didn’t even know what the Challenge Cup was.
It is hard to comprehend how much the Chiswick side upset the odds against the Lions but Parkinson believes they were helped by a lack of respect from their opponents.
“It seems like a northern thing that they think the teams based in the capital are going to be a lot weaker,” he said.
“That’s fair enough because it’s been proven over the years that London doesn’t have strong Rugby League teams.
“We’re trying to make a point that just because we’re in London doesn’t mean we can’t play footy as well.”
One of the biggest draws for the club to beat Haydock and earn a draw against a Championship team is the financial incentive.
The Warriors don’t receive a lot of help from the RFL and players have to pay their own registration fees.
They also struggle to attract sponsors that can offer significant financial investment – the club has one that can make contributions of £250 or £500 – so a tie against one of the top-flight teams would be hugely beneficial.
Looking ahead to their third round clash, Parkinson is fully aware they start as the “smallest and least experienced” team but is assured of his side’s ability.
“Our belief is that no one can beat us at the moment,” he said.
“If you go out there lacking that confidence and doubting you’re going to win the match you’re already letting yourself down.”