Powell happy to face mid-season inquest into Broncos' poor show


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The Independent Online

Under-pressure London Broncos 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 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 the Stobart Super League after winning just two of their first 13 matches and crashed out of the Carnegie Challenge Cup in meek fashion last Sunday with a 50-14 defeat at Huddersfield.

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. 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. 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.

"There 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. There are no problems of 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.

The Broncos go "on the road" again on Sunday when they host Hull at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium, part of a bid to gauge interest in the game in other areas of the south-east. A fortnight ago London drew a crowd of 2,844 when they played Bradford at Leyton Orient; they are hoping to top 4,000 in Kent, where interest in rugby league has been generated by the rapid progress made by the amateur club Medway Dragons.

"There is genuine interest in that area," said Powell. "It's an untapped area and apart from cricket there isn't a lot of sport in Gillingham."