The mindset shift that made Salford Red Devils’ Brodie Croft a Man of Steel

KURT HAGGERTY has explained how a crucial mindset shift in Brodie Croft put the Salford Red Devils halfback on the path to becoming Man of Steel.

Croft enjoyed a stunning first season in Super League, helping Salford reach the play-off semi-finals and winning the league’s highest individual honour.

But he was by no means a ready-made star when he arrived, following challenging spells with both Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos in the NRL.

Haggerty says that Croft was still unsure of himself as a player, following expectations that he would be a direct replacement for Melbourne great Cooper Cronk, and he had a negative mindset.

“He started off with an attitude of ‘what if it doesn’t work?’. Then it finished with ‘what if it does work?’,” said the Salford assistant coach of working closely with Croft. 

“The talk was that he was like Cooper Cronk. He isn’t that type of player. He’s probably tried to fit into that Cooper Cronk (type) when it’s not him. 

“He probably thinks ‘they keep telling me I’m Cooper Cronk, so I’ve got to be him’. We just brought out the Brodie Croft, that’s the best way I can put it.

“He found that he’s a running half and luckily, he had another bloke (Marc Sneyd) who is a controlling half, so it matched up.

“Once he found out what kind of player he was, we just worked from there and changed his mindset from ‘what if it doesn’t’ to ‘what if it does’. Then he started expressing himself more and more. 

“Paul (Rowley, Salford head coach) and I spent many meetings with Brodie, helping him and guiding him. He had the answers, he just wasn’t confident enough to go and apply them. 

“We just gave him that assurance that we’ll back him in anything he does, because he’s more than capable of doing it.

“There’s still a lot more in him, a lot more learning, a lot more he can progress to. 

“It’s no shock that he started off a bit rocky with us in terms of what we wanted and upskilling him in particular. 

“He did a lot of hard work, which he needed, but he got himself to the point where he could hit those highs.”

Meanwhile, prop Tyler Dupree has signed a new contract with Salford until the end of the 2025 season.

The former Leeds Rhinos youngster, who started out in Salford’s Scholarship squad, made a strong impression at the AJ Bell Stadium following his mid-season arrival from Widnes Vikings.

He previously had loan spells at Featherstone Rovers, Batley Bulldogs and York City Knights, before signing for Oldham for the 2021 Championship season, finishing that year with the competition’s Young Player of the Year Award.

“I’m over the moon to be extending my stay with a club who gave me the opportunity to fulfil my dream and play in Super League,” said Dupree.

“It’s a great moment for me and my family, and hopefully many more years to come.”

Rowley is delighted that Dupree will stay with his club.

“It’s great news to keep a young English forward within our club,” he said.

“His progression last year was fantastic and a credit to his attitude and work ethic.

“We are really pleased he’s chosen to extend and look forward to helping him fulfil his goals whilst wearing the Salford badge.”