Joe Grima hopes to gee up the Broncos

New head coach of Super League's bottom club – played 12, lost 12 – has first win of season in sights during Magic Weekend

Several Super League clubs go into the annual Magic Weekend hoping that it can sprinkle some transformative dust on their season, but for one of their number, defeat at the Etihad on Saturday will hint that it can only get grimmer.

Joe Grima will be in his second game in charge of the London Broncos when they take on the Catalan Dragons in the first match of the two-day showcase, with every team in Super League playing. He knows that it could be a long time before they have a better chance of winning their first league match of the season.

The Australian, who was promoted earlier this month after Tony Rea left the club, says the Broncos have forgotten how to win matches. Saturday's match against a Catalan side which have forgotten how to travel successfully is by far their biggest opportunity of breaking their duck – and hopefully gaining their first point of the campaign which stands at played 12, lost 12 and with a -353 points difference.

Grima admits to flagging the game up to his players as a "must win, can win" game. "But that's true of other games," Grima says. "We are capable of winning games if we play for the full 80 minutes."

Their last match, against last season's tabletoppers, Huddersfield, was a case in point. London led for most of the first half before going down 30-16. For a team thrown together at short notice after a winter of uncertainty, that was no small achievement. For all their travails, the Broncos have a remarkably settled line-up. "We have to," says Grima. "We've got no depth."

Rea's departure brought to an end a 19-year association with the Broncos, who he joined as a player in 1995. He left in 2008, but returned in 2012 to lead an outfit with serious financial problems.

Grima says Rea was due to leave at the end of the season and his departure after they hit the bottom of the league "was only bringing forward what was going to happen anyway". "I was always going to take over and Tony move into a director of rugby role," he adds.

Grima is now flying solo, with no technical back-up and no assistant. "Very busy," is the way he describes his life now. It is a far cry from the way he has worked in the past.

He spent 19 years as a lower-grades player and assistant coach at Parramatta, Cronulla and St George-Illawarra, before coming to England with a head coaching role very much in mind. The one he has inherited is far from an easy project. The Broncos have even been overtaken in the table by Bradford, who were docked six points for entering administration, and were the overwhelming favourites to be relegated from the competition at the end of this season.

That presents obvious problems, but it also carries one advantage. The Broncos have been moulded by adversity into a unified, stubborn outfit.

They are not without talent either, with Grima singling out the Albanian-born prop Olsi Krasniqi and the pacy utility back, Mason Caton-Brown. Then there is Iliess Macani, who has caught the eye at full-back, and the prospect in six weeks or so of finally seeing Kieran Dixon back on the pitch this season after injury.

Grima is also impressed by the rangy forward, Mike McMeeken, a regular this campaign who had a run-out with the capital's junior partners, the London Skolars, last week.

Given the talent he has, Grima refuses to accept the inevitability of relegation to the Championship. "We don't use the R-word a lot, but it's not a done deal," he says. "There's still more than half the games to go."

If they do go down, he insists, "it would not be the end of the world. We can take a step back and re-group."

Grima, carrying so much of the burden single-handedly, needs help with keeping his players positive. That is where his senior men come in; players like his captain, Matt Cook, and the much-travelled Scott Moore.

"He's certainly got energy and enthusiasm," Moore says of his coach. Regardless of what happens as the Etihad is filling up Saturday lunchtime, Grima will need both of those qualities.

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories
Ashya King: We need to stop being cowardly about death

We need to stop being cowardly about death

Ashya King's story has made us confront the idea of terminal illness, in an age when we've lost the ability to discuss how we face our final days
They talk the talk, but do our leaders have the stomach to face up to the Russians?

They talk the talk, but do our leaders have the stomach to face up to the Russians?

Nato has a commitment to defend the Baltic states, unlike Ukraine. But those in charge seem less than committed, says Rupert Cornwell
Heaven on wheels: Meet the skateboarding padre

Heaven on wheels: Meet the skateboarding padre

Skateboards are no longer just for kids, the oldies are getting in on the act too
Can breakdance divert the young men of Tunisia from the killing fields of Iraq and Syria?

Can breakdance save the Arab Spring generation?

Sarfraz Manzoor gets down with the B-boys (and girls) of north Africa
Face of an angel, but has Cara Delevingne the talent to act?

Face of an angel, but has Cara Delevingne the talent to act?

A film based on the Meredith Kercher murder is a challenging first role for the supermodel