Harlequins Rugby League
Learn more about Harlequins Rugby League
|Harlequins Rugby League|
|Full name||Harlequins Rugby League Club|
|Colours||Blue, red, brown, grey and green|
|League||Super League (Europe)|
Harlequins Rugby League is a rugby league club representing the greater London area. They are currently the premier rugby league side in London, and play in the Super League. They have since been joined in the professional ranks by the London Skolars in 2003. The capital also has a number of amateur teams.
Until the end of the 2005 playing season they were known as London Broncos, playing their last game under that name on 23 September 2005 and changing their name officially on 17 October 2005. They had also previously been known as Fulham and London Crusaders.
The club play at the Twickenham Stoop, home of the Harlequins rugby union club. They wear a home shirt very similar to the union club's famous multi-coloured quartered jersey (light blue, magenta, chocolate, French grey, black & light green). The away shirt is predominantly white, with magenta and blue along the shoulders and sleeves.
 Previous rugby league clubs in London
Professional Rugby League was briefly represented in London in the 1930s by London Highfield (who played only one season), Acton & Willesden (also one season) and Streatham & Mitcham (one and a half seasons). All were ultimately driven out of business through poor finances.
Thereafter, the sport in England remained exclusively a northern game until June 1980, when Fulham Football Club announced the formation of a rugby league team, with the primary intention of creating another income stream for the soccer club. The Rugby Football League (RFL), keen to expand the sport beyond its traditional northern heartland, instantly accepted the new club and one of the game's leading players, Reg Bowden, was recruited to act as player-coach. Within weeks, Bowden had assembled a team of experienced players, together with a few youngsters. Nearly 10,000 curious fans turned up for the opening game at Craven Cottage, most of whom were watching their first ever live Rugby League match. The newly formed side surprisingly beat highly regarded Wigan 24-5. Fulham went on to win the Division Two Championship and secured promotion.
After the euphoria generated in their initial season, immediate relegation in 1981-82 was a sobering reality check and at the end of their fourth season continuing financial losses saw the plug pulled by the parent soccer club. However with the backing of supporters Roy and Barbara Close, and with an enthusiastic new coach Roy Lester, Fulham still had a future. Between 1984 and 1994 the club spent periods based at Crystal Palace, Chiswick and Barnet. This decade was noted for its continued struggle both on and off the pitch, but the club still managed to keep its head just above water.
 London Crusaders
A 1991 name change to 'London Crusaders' coincided with an entertaining period on the pitch. The climax of this spell was a 1994 appearance in the Divisional Premiership Final under coach Tony Gordon.
 London Broncos
In the spring of 1994 it was announced that the Australian ARL side Brisbane Broncos was buying the club, which would be renamed 'London Broncos'. During these years, the club played most of its matches at the windswept minor athletics stadium at Copthall, in Mill Hill, London. They also played matches at the home grounds of Brentford FC and semi professional football side Hendon FC.
In 1996, despite not playing in the top flight, the London Broncos were selected by the RFL to be part of the new Super League on the basis that it was essential for the sport to have a high profile representative in the capital . The club moved to The Valley, the home ground of Charlton Athletic F.C.. The 1996 season brought the best attendances since the inaugural season at Craven Cottage. After two years they moved once again, to the Harlequin rugby union club's Stoop Memorial Ground. Richard Branson's Virgin Group became majority shareholders, and the immediate future looked very bright. In 1997, after a remarkably good season they finished second in Super League. Highlights that year included victories at the Stoop over Canberra in the World Club Challenge and Bradford and Wigan in Super League.
Success continued in 1998 with a first appearance in the Challenge Cup semi-finals, losing to Wigan. Head coach Tony Currie left the club at the end of the 1998 Super League season and was replaced by Dan Stains.
In 1999, the club went one better having its best cup run to date. Following a famous semi final victory over Castleford, the Broncos reached the Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium for the first time, but were defeated 52-16 by Leeds. The club sacked Stains after the Broncos endured a long losing streak during the Super League campaign. Tony Rea was appointed temporary joint head coach with Stains' assistant Les Kiss. Rea and Kiss manage to steer Broncos out of slump.
After a second brief spell back at The Valley, fervent supporter David Hughes purchased the majority shareholding from Virgin in a major restructuring of the club. In 2000, John Monie was appointed head coach. Monie only stayed in the job until the last month of the 2000 Super League season with the club endured a mediocre season during his tenure. Rea takes over caretaker coach until the end of the season and Broncos sail to mid-table security.
Rea was persuaded at the end of the 2000 season to become head coach on a full-time basis, resigning his Chief Executive role.
In 2002, the Broncos moved back across London to play at Griffin Park as tenants of Brentford FC. 2003 marked the club's first Super League play off appearance, losing in the first round to St Helens 24-6 at Knowsley Road.
The 2005 season was marked by significant activity off the pitch as the club welcomed new chairman and majority shareholder Ian Lenagan. This was followed by the announcement of a partnership with Harlequins Rugby Union club that would see the side return to Twickenham Stoop as Harlequins RL for the 2006 season.
 Harlequins Rugby League
On 8th July 2006, after a disappointing run of form for the team, the Harlequins Rugby League club announced a re-organisation of the coaching set-up. Rea was replaced as head coach by Leeds Rhinos' assistant coach Brian McDermott, but was appointed to his current position on the club's board of directors.
The team completed its first season as Harlequins RL with 7th place in Super League XI. Although finishing strongly to avoid relegation, the run of 4 consecutive home defeats at the start of the season proved difficult to overcome.
 Previous kits
The different incarnations of the club have each worn different kits. Fulham used an all black kit with white chevron and red trim. Under the Crusaders the kit used the same colours but in a variety of designs, but still mainly black and whith the Broncos name they wore red, yellow and blue in a variety of styles, with red being the main colour for the last 5 years
 Head Coach
 Playing Squad
 2006 Squad
 Transfer for 2007 (In)
|Image:Flag of Australia.svg||Scott Hill||Melbourne Storm||SO||2006|
|Image:Flag of France.svg||Julien Rinaldi||Catalans Dragons||SH/H||2006|
|Image:Flag of England (bordered).svg||Jon Grayshon||Huddersfield Giants||P||2006|
|Image:Flag of England (bordered).svg||David Tootill||Leeds Rhinos||P||2006|
|Image:Flag of New Zealand.svg||Sione Faumuina||New Zealand Warriors||SR||2006|
|Image:Flag of England (bordered).svg||Chris Melling||Wigan Warriors||H||2006|
|Image:Flag of England (bordered).svg||Danny Orr||Wigan Warriors||SO||2006|
 Transfer for 2007 (Out)
 Current and former players of note
- Ritchie Barnett
- Jim Dymock
- Shaun Edwards
- Abi Ekoku
- John Gallagher
- Peter Gill
- Thomas Leuluai
- Tony Martin
- Terry Matterson
- Hussein M'Barki
- Denis Moran
- Martin Offiah
- Henry Paul
- Tony Rea
- Steele Retchless
- Steve Rosolen
- Danny Williams
 Individual player records
- Most goals in a game: 13 by Rob Purdham vs Barrow Raiders, May 20th 2006
- Most tries in a game: 5 by Martin Offiah vs Whitehaven, 14th March 1999
- Most points in a game: 34 by Rob Purdham vs Barrow Raiders, May 20th 2006
- Most goals in a season: 159 by John Gallagher, 1993-94
- Most tries in a season: 43 by Mark Johnson, 1993-94
- Most Points in a season: 384 by John Gallagher, 1993-94
- Most career goals: 309 by Steve Diamond, 1981-84
- Most career tries: 86 by Scott Roskell, 1992-97
- Most career points: 691 by Steve Diamond, 1981-84
- Most career appearances: 202 by Steele Retchless, 1998-2004
- Most tackles made in any Super League Match: 66 by Steele Retchless (against Bradford in 1998. This is an all-time Super League record).
 Team records
- Largest attendance (any competition): 15,013 vs Wakefield Trinity at Craven Cottage on 15th February 1981
- Largest attendance (Super League): 9,638 vs Paris St. Germain at The Valley on 4th April 1996
- Biggest victory (any competition): 82-0 vs Highfield on 12th November 1995
- Biggest victory (Super League): 72-8 vs Wakefield on 27th February 2005
 See also
 External links
- Official website
- Send In The Clowns fans website
- BBC London interactive site featuring live game commentry, the Thursday night magazine show and interviews.
- Harlequins RL Fans Forum "Send In The Clowns" on RLFANS.COM
- New chairman plus ground share with Quins
- Partnership with Quins, including name change - accessed from BBC on 26 July 2005
- Pictures featuring the London Broncos/Harlequins Rugby League
|Rugby league in Britain and Ireland|