When Essex boy Rian Horsman pulled on his jersey ahead of the Betfred Challenge Cup game against York last month it was beginning of the final chapter of a dream he had since being a child fantasizing of playing on the pitch at The Stoop with his heroes.
In fact it was at the Stoop where Rian made his real Broncos debut, as a Mascot, and since then his journey has been one that has seen him progress through the Broncos Academy and graduate with flying colours into the First Team squad for 2021.
Horsman told Broncos Media “It was a such a proud moment for me and my family when I made my debut against York. I’ve been playing since I was 8 years old, firstly with Brentwood where my Dad was involved, in the Origin series and with the Scholarship and Academy teams at the Broncos so making the first team was the end of a long journey.”
“When lockdown struck I was worried about having to take a backwards step but thankfully we got through that and Danny gave me my chance to show what I can do.”
As with friend and fellow Academy graduate Oli Leyland the physicality and speed of First Grade Rugby League was a step up from hat they were used to but Horsman is confident that a good Pre-Season and First Team Game time will see him continue his development in 2021.
He said “Physically it is a big step up but I have learnt to just go for it and not hold back. When you have people like Ryan Atkins running at you there is no time to think about it.”
“For me personally the hardest part is being a leader when you have Super League standard players in your side relying on you but I am learning to just do my job and control the team.”
For Rian his journey would not have been possible without the support of his Mum and Dad who were there from day one ensuring he was at training sessions and giving him backing at games from Brentwood to the Broncos Academy.
Horsman added “Mum and Dad spent a lot of time travelling, driving me around and making sure I had everything I needed. My Dad would get the train to Away games in the North and he was also my first Coach and has been a big influence on me and my game.”
Dad Carl is a former Brentwood Eels Chairman & Coach plus London Junior League Chairman and seeing Rian take the field for the Broncos Senior side was a proud moment for him. He told us “Rian has worked extremely hard, shown great dedication and overcome some difficult times to arrive at this point in his life. I’m extremely proud of his achievement and I’m sure his Mum is looking down on him bursting with pride. I can still remember taking him to his first Broncos game as a tiny child and seeing him as a mascot at six years of age, so this must be a dream come true for him.”
It is no secret that the Broncos have a rich history of producing top level Rugby League players with a clear pathway from the Junior Game to the very top and Rian had a message for players at Brentwood Eels and other Community Clubs in the South East who may find themselves running out as Mascots in 2021.
He said “Every player will get their chance, you have to keep working for it until it comes, but it will definitely come. The London Broncos are proof that it does happen with around 70% of our First Team squad home grown and current Academy players already knocking on the door to step up.”
Rian is sponsored by Keith Johnson and Umbertos Restaurant in Hornchurch, an outlet that has also backed his career with continued support, something the club are extremely grateful for.