March 9 2014 Latest news:
By Greg Miles
Sunday, April 29, 2012
London Broncos star Tony Clubb looking forward to bringing rugby league to Priestfield Stadium.
IF there are two things to know about London Broncos’ Kent-born star Tony Clubb, it’s that his favourite film is The Little Mermaid, and he is looking forward to spending a lot of time on the children’s rides at Chessington World of Adventures in the future.
They’re not exactly the first things that spring to mind when you think of a strapping lad like 6ft 2inch Clubb, who will be bringing his Super League team mates to Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium for a league match against Hull FC in May.
Admittedly the first might be down to a prank by whoever edits the Broncos’ official website, but the second is true for the 24-year-old who lives near the Surrey theme park, as he is expecting his first child in the next few weeks.
“I have never watched the Little Mermaid,” he said. “I think someone is pulling my leg.”
Rollercoaster isn’t a word that you would choose to describe Clubb’s career, but the whole concept of rugby league is one that certainly came out of the blue for the man from Gravesend who has been a regular in the Broncos side making 127 appearances to date.
“To be honest with you I didn’t know what rugby league was,” he said. “One of my friends I played union with played league. He said ‘come and try this sport’ I went along to a few training sessions and I absolutely loved it.
“You can run as hard and as fast as you want, your job is just to give it to them, it’s a good professional sport.
“When I was younger I was a winger and I just stood there on the wing not really doing much and getting cold. In league I got involved a lot.”
Thankfully he has wisened up to what the game is all about since his first days in a league shirt as a 13-year-old.
He has been at Broncos for the past seven seasons, and has also represented England for whom he is just one of ten players to have ever scored four tries in one match, a feat he achieved against Papua New Guinea in 2010.
Looking back on his early days now he admits he never thought about doing anything other than playing rugby.
“I enjoyed playing for my local team Greenwich Admirals, I just enjoyed playing rugby league, I never thought about anything else,” he said.
“Every year I got asked to come back and play then the Broncos asked me to go over to France to do a pre-season tour for two weeks, once I came back they said they wanted to sign me for two years.
“I honestly don’t know what else I would have done. I had barely just come out of school, I was going to college to do sports science.
“I have been quite blessed really, I have gone on to play for my country a few times.”
He is one of very few southerners to embrace the game at a professional level, which is one of the reasons that his side will be playing at Priestfield on May 20 as the Super League experience is spread around the country and not confined to the capital or the north.
“I haven’t been there for a long time, for many, many years,” he said. “When I went there the other day I was pretty impressed by what they have got. It’s a nice stadium.”
He says it was a bit of a surprise to see first hand just how passionate northerners are about the sport, something he found out when making his debut for the Broncos as an 18-year-old against the Bradford Bulls.
“They go mental for the sport up there, it opens your eyes a bit,” he said. “There are so many sports that you have got to compete with down here, slowly but surely I’m sure we will get there.
“It’s going to take a lot of effort and a lot of time. I would like to see it take off.
“Hopefully in the next few years we can get a few more amateur teams.”
One bonus of the fixture for Clubb is that at least his family and friends from Kent won’t have to travel too to the other side of London to watch him play.