CHRIS Melling reckons London Broncos' future is in safe hands – and he should know a thing or two about it.
Melling became the latest player to announce he is leaving the club at the end of the season, following in the footsteps of Luke Dorn, Chad Randall and Mark Bryant.
It comes at a time when, with no home or new signings confirmed for next season, and with a bottom place finish in the Super League looking certain, many are questioning the club's future.
Even if they survive off the pitch – at The Stoop or elsewhere – an equally poor showing next season would see Broncos relegated following the scrapping of Super League's license system.
But Melling, who is hoping to hook up with a club closer to his native Wigan while also focusing on his physio career, believes rugby league has a bright future in capital regardless.
He said: “The last few years have been frustrating for everybody, from the fans to the players and the managers and coaches, because nobody likes to be at the bottom.
“There has been a lot of bad press surrounding the first team, but in general the rugby league scene is thriving in London, and I have enjoyed being a part of it.
“I do physio work for the U15s and U16s, trying to get their strength and conditioning up from being used to playing half a dozen academy games a season to playing Super League against men who play 30 to 40 games a season.
“When I started doing it, Dan Sarginson was still in the academy, and he has gone on to become a first team regular, while lads like Olsi Krasniqi, Joel Wicks and James Woodburn-Hall have made the step up in more recent times.”
Former Wigan Warriors man Melling has no doubt about his best memory from seven years in London – a win at his old stomping ground of the DW Stadium three years ago.
He added: “Nobody gave us a chance, and we were 20-18 down at half time but came back to win in the second half. The fact it was at Wigan made it all the more special for me too.
“We've had some god spells and some great results like that against bigger clubs, but we haven't been able to hit the ground running on a weekly basis, so the inconsistency kills us.”
Randall and Dorn look to have played their last games for Broncos as they are injured, but Melling and Bryant were part of the squad who lost 26-12 to Huddersfield Giants in what looks set to be club's last ever game at The Stoop. Broncos have this weekend off before completing their season with two games on the road, starting at Bradford Bulls on September 1.