During his career, Danny Brough has been a menace, a nuisance, a pain in the arse. He has tormented opponents, and, at times, team-mates, heck, even referees, in equal measure.
Few players will have had as many unpleasantries aimed their way. He’s been heckled ever since his time with Dewsbury and York. He hasn’t always helped himself; the mullet from his time at Hull and his efforts to remonstrate with the officials have made him something of an easy target.
But his undisputed talent has played its part too. Many loath Brough for being as good as he is. They hate how often he has terrorised their side, how frequent he has left a bitter taste in the mouth.
Brough has enjoyed a career to envy. Trophies haven’t been as frequent as he would have hoped; he won the Challenge Cup with Hull FC in 2005, promotion with Castleford in 2007 and the League Leaders’ Shield with Huddersfield in 2013. But as an individual, he was voted as the third-best player in the world after guiding the Giants to their first table-topping campaign in 81 years.
He’s won the Man Of Steel, he’s won the Albert Goldthorpe medal twice. He is Scotland’s all-time leading appearance maker. Then there’s a whole host of point-scoring accomplishments.
At the ripe age of 37, Brough knows his days as one of Super League’s tormentors-in-chief aren’t going to last for much longer. His game is changing, for better and worse in some parts.
“I don’t feel I can kick the ball as far as I used to,” he said.
“When you go over your 30s, you tend to slow down playing at the line.
“It’s weird really, I can’t explain it, but you see more somehow. More than when you’re younger. As you grow into an older bloke you generally talk a bit more and control things. If you see something, you call for the ball and get it, that’s how it is. But I’ve learnt to play with a partner.
“I am proud of what I’ve achieved; I admire more other players than myself, I just who I am, but I’m pleased with what I’ve done so far.”
It’s the last two words of that sentence that sum Brough up. So far. He’s not ready to hang the boots up yet, far from it. He’s not happy to cruise towards retirement, he wants to do more.
“Another bash at a Challenge Cup with the Wakey lads is a goal.
“The team we’ve got could win a one-off competition, but we’re not as consistent as we’d like to be. But that works for the Cup. That would be something I’d love to do again.”
While he retains dreams of a Wembley appearance, he’d be equally happy playing on a local paddock if the opportunity to stay at the top doesn’t emerge at the end of the year, with his contract set to expire.
“If nothing came up I’d play amateur, play with my mates and have the crack. I’m one of them. I’m easy, if I can help anyone I will.
“After that, I wouldn’t mind going into a coaching role, if that doesn’t come about, I’ll get a job wherever, I’m not fussy.”