CHRIS Bailey admits it was a huge blow for London Broncos to lose Craig Gower, but has backed replacement skipper Tony Clubb to step up to the plate.
Gower left the club for what were described as personal reasons two weeks ago, but has since returned to Australia to sign for Newcastle Knights.
Clubb may be aged only 25, but team-mate Bailey (pictured) reckons not only will he thrive as Broncos skipper, but win his England place back following a two-year absence from the national side.
He said: “Tony will be a good captain, all the boys love him. He's a competitor and definitely makes a difference when he's in the side. We've missed him when he's not been there this season.
“He brings and intensity and work rate to the side, and although he is relatively young he has played a lot of Super League games and has bags of experience. He should be playing for England again.
“It was a real shame to lose Craig and he is a winner and so competitive, but he had an opportunity with Newcastle Knights he couldn't refuse. Players like that don't come around very often, and it would be good if we could replace him, but I don't think we can just yet.”
Bailey will be part of an Exiles team who take on an England side minus Clubb in the now annual International Origin clash at Warrington tonight.
The venue for the game will not be lost on Bailey, as Broncos go into the game on the back of a record home defeat of 82-10 to Warrington Wolves last weekend.
But while the rest of the Broncos lads have another week to stew of that result as the Super League takes a week's rest, Bailey will be determined to get it out of his system against England.
He added: “The quicker we forget about that game the better. We made a lot of mistakes, and if you don't turn up and play against good teams like Warrington, they will punish you.
“It's been good getting it out of my system in training with the Exiles, and the game has meant I've had something else to focus on, but we need to get back on track.
“In the meantime, I'd like to think the Exiles call-up is a reward for being pretty consistent on the pitch. It's 2-1 to the Exiles, and I'd love to help keep us in front.”