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Broncos flying the flag

A final reminder that, at Boundary Park tomorrow (Sunday. Feb 4) we play Super League’s newest club, promoted London Broncos, whose phenomenal Championship season in 2023, culminating in a Grand Final triumph in France against Toulouse Olympique will ensure that the likes of Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Leeds Rhinos and Catalans Dragons will be appearing in our capital city this year.

That’s got to be good for Rugby League – and although we have been trying to establish our code in London since we had London Highfield, Acton and Willesden and Streatham and Mitcham in the 1930s, you can’t say we have given up. Fast forward 40 years and we had Fulham, then London Crusaders, then London Broncos.

Never, though, has the game in the South been stronger than it is now, with literally dozens of lads attracting interest from the North — just ask Wigan and Saints and testimony in the current Challenge Cup that “southern softies” is nothing more than a grammatical myth. Try telling that tough-guy forward at St Helens that he’s a “southern softie” or, at the other end of the age scale, 21-year-old Billy Leyland, born in Maidstone, Kent and last season’s Championship Young Player Of The Year.

Nearer to home, would you tell Adrian Alexander or Bob Mordell, even now in their Moonlight years, that they are “southern softies”. Of course you wouldn’t. Nor would I, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.

I’ve covered Oldham games at Craven Cottage, Barnet Copthall, The Stoop, Chiswick, Crystal Palace and Brentford FC (were there more ?) but Broncos are now well settled in a Super League-standard home at Wimbledon and, with the obvious exception of tomorrow’s game, I say good luck to them.

They are expected to field a strong squad including two players who need no introduction to Oldham folk — Lee Kershaw on the wing and Sadiq Adebiyi — or Sid as we used to call has had a similar him — in the pack.

A fans’ favourite, Lee is 23 now. Born in Bradford, and a product of Bradford and Bingley RU Club, from where we signed a certain Charlie McAlister, he then played amateur League in Wakefield and attracted Trinity’s interest. It was while he was still a very young man at Belle Vue that he first came to Oldham on loan in order to gain experience. He ultimately made his Super League debut for Trinity against Leeds Rhinos. We don’t want Lee to do his stuff tomorrow, but that game apart we wish him well while on trial with the Broncos.

Nigeran Sid has had a similar relationship with Broncos. He is in his second spell with the Londoners and has had loan spells with several clubs, including Oldham.

We wish you well fellas, but AFTER tomorrow.

Tomorrow, ALL our best wishes are with Sean Long’s men, who have done us proud so far sand are clearly a side that is well equipped to go far.

Broncos have been 80 minutes away from a Challenge Cup win, have finished second in the Championship and have won a Championship Grand Fina; to regain their place at the top table. Not bad for a team of (NOT) “southern softies”.

See you at BP tomorrow !

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