Sarginson and Broncos looking up
Having played a key role in the win that lifted London Broncos off the bottom of Stobart Super League, teenager Dan Sarginson is hoping to help propel them towards a brighter future.
The Broncos are enduring a wretched season, undoing the promise of a new dawn with a series of desperately disappointing performances that culminated in a lacklustre effort at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 10 days ago which saw them plunge to the foot of the table.
However, a last-gasp victory over fellow strugglers Widnes Vikings at the weekend may just breathe new life into the Londoners’ ailing campaign.
It was fitting that Sarginson sparked the Broncos’ late fightback against the Vikings for he is the pick of the homegrown players around whom the club are pinning their future hopes.
The 19-year-old utility back was born in Perth, Australia, but came to England at the age of four and, after settling in Hemel Hempstead, speaks with a London accent that is beginning to proliferate around Super League’s southern outpost.
The Broncos lost their most famous son, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, to St Helens two years ago, but his old sparring partner Tony Clubb remains and has been joined by a host of academy products.
Olsi Krasniqi, Keiran Dixon, Ben Bolger, Omari Caro, Michael Channing, Will Lovell and Sarginson are among those to emerge from the London development system to make their Super League debuts in the last three years.
Sarginson made his bow, while still only 17, in a Carnegie Challenge Cup tie at Gateshead just over 12 months ago and has already made 20 Super League appearances, scoring nine tries.
“It’s all happened a bit quick,” he said. “I still haven’t found the position that I want to play yet. I’ve been playing centre and I was at half-back at the weekend.
“It’s really good to be playing week in, week out. I’ve been playing for three years now but I’ve still a lot to learn.
“The older blokes are always pulling me aside and telling me things I didn’t know. There are still rules I don’t know about the game.
“Next season I want a squad number and to cement my place in the team and hopefully move on to England Knights, which is my ambition for this season and next.”
Sarginson, who represented England Under-18s last year against France, was introduced to rugby league by development officer Callum Irving during a visit to his school and took up an invitation to join his local club, Hemel Stags, who will make the step up to Championship One in 2013.
Sarginson, who recently moved to London to be near the Broncos’ training ground, believes the work of the development officers in the south of England is about to pay huge dividends.
“I never knew about rugby league until I had that PE lesson but it’s definitely getting more recognition now, especially in places like Medway, where we played a game on the road,” he said.
“We had a crowd of 3,800 and half of them were probably just players that had come from Medway, which is a massive development.
“There’s a lot more development work going on. People are going round to schools getting people into the game at an early age.
“It’s looking good. There’s a lot more participation and a lot more people know who London Broncos are. It looks like it’s on the way up.”
The Londoners, who abandoned their Harlequins RL name at the end of last season, are still drawing the worst crowds in Super League to the Twickenham Stoop but Sarginson is hoping a few more wins can bring in the fans.
“It’s probably down to a few things,” he said. “We’ve not really put in the performances we needed recently but hopefully we can turn that around. We’ve got the squad to beat any team.”