London head coach Danny Ward and his assistant Jamie Langley had to convince the Broncos players that promotion to Super League was a realistic target back in November.
The former Leeds and London forward was promoted from the role of assistant coach when Andrew Henderson left the club at the end of last season to join Warrington and few gave the Londoners much hope of promotion.
But Ward was named Championship coach of the year after guiding them to a second-place finish and they toppled hot favourites Toronto Wolfpack 4-2 in the Million Pound Game at the Lamport Stadium to end their four-year exile from the top flight.
“What have we done? Unbelievable,” Ward told Sky Sports. “Speechless.
“What a group of blokes, they have been a credit to London rugby league since day one when we looked around on the first day of pre-season at a room full of kids.
“We lost a lot of experience and we’ve not replaced anyone. Me and Langers had to drill into them that we were going to do something special this year and they took some convincing.
“But they’ve not stopped since, they’ve been outstanding.”
Australian half-back Jarrod Sammut scored London’s points with a penalty goal in each half but they were just as much indebted to Hertfordshire-born full-back Alex Walker, who was at the heart of a tremendous defensive display.
“That s finals football, for you, it’s a different gravy,” Ward said. “Defence wins comps and our defence was outstanding, as was Toronto’s.
“We took our chances. We could have been better in attack but I’m not going to worry too much about that.
“They’ve put me through it this year and I’m glad it’s done now. I can sit back, have a nice glass of scotch and enjoy it.
“The next job is to get these blokes on a plane back to London.”
Half-backs Josh McCrone and Blake Wallace and prop Ashton Sims all reached the Broncos tryline only to be held up and a penalty from Gareth O’Brien, who was Salford’s match-winner in the Million Pound Game in 2016, was all Toronto had to show for their efforts.
Wolfpack coach Paul Rowle said: “Credit to London, I think they were the better team.
“I don’t think anybody predicted that scoreline but we were the second best team and I can’t compliment London enough.
“We congratulate them on their victory and wish them the best of luck in Super League.
“We didn’t play well, we didn’t get any territory and we didn’t put any pressure on them.
“That’s sport, unfortunately this is a bitter pill to swallow but we’ll go again.”