Last week Bradford Bulls announced Danny Brough’s immediate retirement from the game shortly before we went to press, so we had little time to do anything in League Express other than giving him a mention in my Talking Rugby League column last Monday.
So now is the time to say a little more about him, even though I’m a week late in doing so.
Danny had an extraordinary career that began with him signing for Wakefield from his amateur club Thornhill Trojans in Dewsbury.
Unfortunately he didn’t do enough to persuade Wakefield to keep him and after returning to the Trojans he signed for Dewsbury, for whom he made his debut against neighbours Batley in 2002.
He made steady progress, signing for York in 2003 before getting his big break with Hull FC in 2005.
It turned out that he had chosen a great time to join the Airlie Birds, because he was a key member of their side that defeated Leeds Rhinos 25-24 in the Challenge Cup Final that year at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. And it was Danny’s field-goal that was the difference between the two sides, making him a genuine contender for the Lance Todd Trophy.
Throughout his career, he was never afraid to speak his mind, especially to coaches. And after John Kear was sacked by Hull in 2006, he didn’t see eye to eye with Kear’s replacement Peter Sharp and missed out on Hull’s Grand Final appearance that year.
He spent the 2007 season at Castleford before joining Wakefield the following year and then spending close on nine seasons at Huddersfield, where he enjoyed great success before returning to Wakefield for two seasons and then spending his final season at Bradford.
Along the way he played 24 times for Scotland, captaining them on most of those occasions, while he also played two games for England but for some reason wasn’t wanted by then England coach Steve McNamara.
Danny won the Albert Goldthorpe Medal three times in 2008, 2013 and 2014 and he was the Man of Steel in 2013.
But perhaps the great achievement he will be remembered for is his astonishing points scoring record.
He ended his career with 3,985 points, the same number as the great John Woods.
Only four players have scored more career points – Neil Fox (6,220), Jim Sullivan (6,022), Kevin Sinfield (4,231) and Gus Risman (4,050).
I’m sure that Danny would have liked to carry on playing beyond 2021 if he could have done.
He’s a keen student of American Football and took careful not of the great quarterback Tom Brady, who led the Buccaneers to Super Bowl glory earlier this year at the age of 43.
It was interesting to see some of the tributes paid to him last week on social media by some of his Bradford team-mates.
Jordan Lilley – “A legend of the game. Honour to have been able to take the field alongside him. Enjoy your retirement mate. What a career.”
George Flanagan – “One of the best blokes you’ll meet absolute gem on and off the field thanks for the advice and help this year mate all the best in retirement Broughy”
David Foggin-Johnston – “Was an honour to play with this man one of the best to do it, even got me over the line a few times. Enjoy retirement.”
Brandon Pickersgill – “One of the best. Pleasure to play with.”
Matty Dawson – Jones – “One of the best to do it. Legend!”
For a long time, Danny Brough has been one of the great characters in Rugby League as well as one of our most talented players. Rugby League will be the poorer without him, although I hope he continues in the game in a coaching capacity to pass on some of those wonderful kicking skills that were always such a great part of his game.
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