Nomadic Broncos go west to settle in Brentford

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The Independent Online

London Broncos have confirmed that they will play their home games next season at Brentford Football Club, and that their long-term future lies in West London.

The club have been looking for a new home since being told they had to leave The Valley, because of Charlton Athletic's plans to replace their pitch.

After exploring other possibilities, the Broncos have settled on Griffin Park, where they played two matches in 1995, but the deal they have struck is initially for only one year.

"I want to see a strong rugby league team competing at the very top level in the game, in front of large crowds of enthusiastic supporters in a stadium that we can call home," the Broncos' chief executive, Nic Cartwright, said.

"We are acutely aware that we need to establish a permanent home if we as a club are to see real longevity or success. The off-season was spent exploring a number of long-term options, whilst also ensuring that the short term was addressed.

"It was not possible for us to tie up the ideal situation we were after for the long term, but we have struck a very good deal with Brentford on a one-year option and there are still a number of avenues for us to explore.

"We chose Brentford because it was the best site available for the short-term and was located close to the other options that may become available to us in the long-term. We are still in discussion with a number of potential long-term sites and these discussions will continue until the long-term future of rugby league in London is assured.

"I must stress that Brentford FC are also keen to explore the possibility of a longer-term arrangement, but could not commit to this in the time frame of our negotiations."

Cartwright is convinced that the club's future now lies in the west of the city, whether at Brentford or elsewhere. The first scheduled match at their new home is against Wigan – who attracted a crowd of more than 8,000 when they played there in 1995 – on 9 March, although they will play there a month earlier if they are drawn at home in the Challenge Cup.

The Broncos will have to play at least one home match "on the road" in order to allow time for re-seeding. Plans to take the fixture against Leeds to Belfast look like falling through, with the south of France now a more likely option. There could be a French application for a Super League franchise for 2003 and this is seen as a way of testing the water.

Keighley have appointed their former player, Gary Moorby, as their new coach. Moorby, who also played for St Helens and has been on the coaching staff at Halifax, succeeds Steve Deakin, who is now the Broncos' No 2. Paul Moses, who has been acting as caretaker at Keighley, is to be Moorby's assistant.

Chris Langley of Huddersfield and Featherstone's Jim Carlton have escaped with £50 fines and no suspensions after being sent off for fighting.

Hull KR and Leigh have been ordered to replay their Northern Ford Premiership match, which was abandoned after 51 minutes on Sunday because of a floodlight failure. Rovers have also been given a suspended £1,000 fine for not ensuring that their lights were in working order.