It is fair to say Will Lovell’s journey from promising junior to captain at London Broncos has hardly followed a conventional route.
Not just because he hails from the rugby union hotbed of Northampton, but also due to having to contend with injuries and being released by the club earlier in his career.
All of those hurdles have been successfully overcome, however, and seen him handed the captaincy for the 2020 season as the Broncos fight to regain their Super League status – although even Lovell cannot believe how he has come to arrive at this point.
Overwhelmed with all the support! Can鈥檛 wait to get started 馃憤馃徎馃弶 https://t.co/ovD2qPKPLl
— Will Lovell (@LovellWill) January 10, 2020
“It’s crazy,” Lovell told Sky Sports. “These are the conversations I have with my parents and say ‘how has it come around this way?’
“Everything happens for a reason, as they say, but it’s been a fantastic journey so far and hopefully we can go well again this year.
“Coming through the system at London from the U16s, the U18s and the reserves, it’s something you never really expect. It’s a huge honour for me and my family, and I’m really proud about it.”
Originally a promising union player at Northampton Saints, Lovell got his start in the 13-man code playing in the junior set-up at amateur club Northampton Demons and was then picked up at U16s level by the team which at that time were known as Harlequins RL.
A sign of how highly-regarded the second row was came aged just 19 when he made his debut for the re-formed Broncos at Magic Weekend in 2012, featuring off the interchange bench in the 42-18 defeat to Catalans Dragons at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium.
Lovell would go on to make 10 further Super League appearances for the club that season, but injury problems led to him being released following the team’s relegation to the Championship in 2014 and moving to the capital’s other professional team, London Skolars.
Two seasons of impressive displays for the part-timers in League One saw him return to the Broncos on a short-term deal, only for injury to wreck his playing hopes again and leading to him working in the club’s community department.
Nevertheless, he impressed enough in training to earn a full-time contract for 2018 and has been a mainstay of the squad ever since, with head coach Danny Ward hailing Lovell as the perfect person to take over the captaincy following Jay Pitts’ departure to Wakefield Trinity at the end of last season.