5th August 2019, 17:38
Broadbent on his Eagles chance, Wembley and Dad's advice
Blake Broadbent’s rugby journey up until now has been a scattered one.
From his junior days at Oulton Raiders, to the Eagles and Castleford Academy sides, back to Oulton and then finally getting his opportunity with the Sheffield first team – he has done the hard yards both on and off the field.
Growing up as the son of Paul Broadbent, the Eagles’ 1998 Challenge Cup winning captain, a rugby ball has never been too far away from Blake.
“It’s always been rugby as you can probably imagine,” he said about his childhood.
“For as long as I’ve been able to walk, I’ve had a rugby ball in my hands and no matter what I’ve been doing in life – GCSEs, A-Levels - I’ve always done rugby at the same time.
“I’ve had to work hard. It’s not something that has come naturally and growing up when it wasn’t looking likely that anything was going to come of it, I’ve had to work hard and there’s still work to do.
“My dad is a massive inspiration in all aspects of my life really.
“He has always been there for me to guide me and I’ve no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be where I am right now if my dad wasn’t there to help me along the way and pushing me through those gym sessions when I didn’t particularly want to go.
“He has been instrumental in my career and will continue to be I’m sure."
The Eagles’ cup-winning captain as his father, the Lance Todd Trophy winner as his coach, Broadbent Jnr certainly has some experienced figures around to keep him on the straight and narrow.
Even after a game and travelling back home, there’s no prizes for guessing what the main conversation is about.
“You never really escape from it,” said Broadbent.
“You get in the car to go home after the game and I turn to him for some honest advice about how I’ve gone.
“It’s not something you think much of at the time but having someone there who is honest with you and knowledgeable about the game, it’s great to have him there and tell me where I need to fix up and also where I’m going right.”
An old head on young shoulders is probably the best way to describe Broadbent currently.
A red card at Featherstone earlier on in the season, probably his only misdemeanour in the Red and Gold as he has proved to be a consistent performer in the front-row.
Now he has the chance to walk out at the national stadium more than two decades after his father did.
But despite the amount of games he has played this season for the Eagles, he knows his place isn’t guaranteed.
“To think, if I’m selected, I’ll be walking in my dad’s footsteps out at Wembley is surreal,” he added.
“It was discussed at the start of the season but nobody really thought anything of it.
“We got the win against Halifax then Doncaster and there were some tough teams left for the semis and if we had to pick one to play, and no disrespect to Batley, it would have probably been them.
“It wasn’t an easy game at all, we had to work hard for it and that probably made it more rewarding in itself.”
A Wembley trip is always going to be on the mind but Broadbent knows the importance of consistency, and the next few league games are key for the Eagles’ slim top five hopes.
“We talked about Wembley last week but we can’t ignore the league now,” he said.
“There’s four games to go and we need every win to fight for the fifth spot.
“We have our eyes on Halifax and Barrow in the next couple of weeks then we can focus on the final.
“We’re not going down there for the day out, we’re going there to do a job and come back with some silverware.”
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman