AS he prepares for his testimonial with almost 500 professional games under his belt, Wakefield Trinity’s Danny Brough has recalled the moment he thought his career was over before it had even begun.
Ironically, it was as a teenager at Belle Vue where he heard the dreaded news every aspiring player fears: the scrum-half was no longer wanted.
Brough had been in Trinity’s academy and reserves system but was released without ever having made his senior debut.
The former Man of Steel, who faces visiting Hull KR tomorrow, said: “I was really disheartened.
“I went back and played one game at Thornhill Trojans, my amateur club in Dewsbury where I’d started playing rugby.
“But then I got signed by Dewsbury Rams. It was all a bit surreal there being a first-team squad rather than just an apprentice.
It was a challenge but a really exciting time to show I could be a first-team player.Danny Brough
“At 18, trying to do that, it was quite tough with some senior players there.
“It was a challenge but a really exciting time to show I could be a first-team player.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Brough played for the National League One side before dropping down to York City Knights where he really shone and earned his first move into Super League with Hull FC.
Brough, 36, had flourished at York under current Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar, who then went on to work at Hull as an assistant.
He recalled: “Rich was a smart player and being a coach you want your six, seven, nine and one to organise and get your hands on the ball more than anyone else. He was really decent, a very smart coach and obviously knew what he was on about.
“I think Steve Ferres was speaking to Hull and (Hull FC chairwoman) Kath Hetherington came to watch York versus Gateshead. Things transpired from there.
“I got the opportunity to sign and that was something I always wanted to do - go back full-time. I took it.”
Since then, via spells at Castleford, Wakefield (twice) and Huddersfield Giants, Brough has gone on to become a master craftsman at the elite level; only Kevin Sinfield had scored more points than him in Super League history.
He is looking forward to tomorrow’s game when former Castleford team-mate Joe Westerman could make his debut for Trinity.
On his testimonial opponents, Brough said: “I spoke to Lee Radford and he said Hull FC weren’t playing any Super League sides in friendlies.
“Jermaine (McGillvary) has his Huddersfield testimonial against Halifax but I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Hull KR.
“My wife’s from east Hull and her dad played for Rovers and all the family are from there.
“It’s a good fit and, hopefully, they bring a few fans as well.”
Wakefield, of course, also start their Super League campaign at Hull KR on January 31.
Both sides only avoided relegation last term on the final night.
On his squad’s chances in 2020, Brough said: “We stand in decent stead as we did last year.
“But every other team has strengthened as well. So it’s always getting harder.
“A lot of it now is turning up on the day and getting your preparation right.
“As you get older you see it a lot more; the teams that turn up well generally go out and win.
“A big part for us is preparing well during the week and getting it right on the weekend.
“Trying to win home games is a key part; if you go away and jag a win it’s really pleasing but you have to win those home games and keep your fans happy.”