BRADFORD Bulls coach Mick Potter hopes tomorrow’s new venture at Leyton Orient will finally help invigorate rugby league in the capital.
His side face joint-bottom London Broncos as their opponents go ‘on the road’ from their traditional Twickenham Stoop home in a bid to raise the club’s limited profile.
Crowds at their current ground have toiled to rise above 3,000 as London’s worthiness as a Super League club continues to be questioned.
Last year’s average home gate was just 3,174 – the lowest in the club’s history apart from 1999 when, ironically, they reached the Challenge Cup final with Martin Offiah and Shaun Edwards – while just an embarrassing 1,766 turned out to see them against Crusaders.
This season, despite heavy investment on the playing squad from owner David Hughes, they have floundered again and twice already their attendances have failed to reach 2,000.
“They have struggled at the Stoop for years to get good crowds and I think this (playing at Leyton Orient) has to be good for the game,” said Potter, ahead of the trip to east London.
He added: “There are a lot of rugby league followers in London and it may be easier to get to than the Stoop.
“It is a football ground and we have played on those before but hopefully it will be good, they get a decent crowd which makes a good atmosphere, and the Broncos go back there again.”
The club have tried the strategy before. Indeed, their last win over Bradford as London Broncos (before switching names to Harlequins RL in another bid to raise awareness) was a 15-14 thriller at Griffin Park, Brentford in April 2002.
London are also scheduled to face Hull FC at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium a fortnight tomorrow.
Before that, they have a Challenge Cup quarter-final at Huddersfield Giants next Sunday and Potter admitted: “I’m hoping they’ll have one eye on their game next week.
“I don’t know that but I am hoping it’s going to be the case and we can get the two points.”
With Adrian Purtell injured, Elliot Kear makes a timely return for Bradford tomorrow.
The Wales winger has been sidelined since breaking a hand against Warrington Wolves in March.