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London coach unfazed by mid-season review

Under-pressure London coach Rob Powell remains undaunted by the club's decision to hold a mid-season review into his under-performing team.
London coach unfazed by mid-season review
by NRL

Under-pressure London coach Rob Powell remains undaunted by the club's decision to hold a mid-season review into his under-performing team.

Broncos chairman David Hughes, who has poured millions of pounds into the London club and agreed to spend up to the salary cap this year in a bid to transform their fortunes, yesterday announced he would be leading an inquest into the club's disastrous season so far.

Despite the arrival in pre-season of a host of experienced overseas players, Powell's men are joint bottom of Stobart Super League after winning just two of their first 13 matches and they crashed out of the Carnegie Challenge Cup in meek fashion last Sunday with a 50-14 defeat at Huddersfield Giants.

Powell, at 31 the youngest coach in Super League by some distance, says he is as keen as his chairman to unearth the reasons for the under-performance of his team and is happy to play his part in the review.

"It's just a reality of where we're at," he said. "Everybody at the club needs to be accountable.

"It's a results-based industry and we have won just two league games so naturally the chairman is not happy. There is nothing untoward or sinister about it.

"It is what it is, questions have to be asked so that we can move forward.

"The players are clearly not performing to the potential we know they've got.

"I'm not passing the buck onto the players, it's my responsibility to best prepare the players to perform and we've got to get to the bottom of why they've under-performed.

"What I would say is there that is no problem with discipline. Obviously things are not going as well as we would have liked but our behaviour as a group is intact.

"The guys are doing things really well and there are no problems or people falling off the boat or wanting to go elsewhere."

Sheffield-born Powell, who cut his coaching teeth at Newcastle University, is in his second season as head coach of the Broncos, having succeeded Brian McDermott when he returned to Leeds Rhinos.

Meanwhile, the Broncos go 'on the road' again on Sunday when they host Hull FC at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium.

The move is part of a bid to gauge interest in the professional game in other areas of the south-east.

A fortnight ago London drew a crowd of 2,844 when they played Bradford Bulls at Leyton Orient and are hoping to top 4,000 in Kent, where interest in rugby league has been generated by the rapid progress made by amateur club Medway Dragons.

"There is genuine interest in that area," said Powell. "There are some good things going on there.

"It's right to expose the game to different places. It's not technically in London, it's in Kent, but it's an untapped area and apart from cricket, there is not a lot of sport in Gillingham.

"Medway is probably the strongest junior club in the south of England and, in fact, a lot better than some of the northern set-ups."

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