HE has been rated the fastest man in Super League and one of its deadliest finishers – but there is so much more to Huddersfield Giants’ new signing Jodie Broughton than rugby prowess.
Unusually in this modern age of full-time professionalism, the prolific winger also holds down a job outside of the sport – as a quantity surveyor.
Whereas many of his colleagues descend on the local Nandos or Starbucks after training, Broughton, instead, will don his hard helmet and head off to a building site across the Pennines.
It is nothing unusual for the 26-year-old who, he admits, has never known anything else.
“I began work for Wates Living Space as a commercial trainee the exact same week I started in Leeds Rhinos’ Academy,” he recalled to the Yorkshire Post.
“I’d just left sixth-form and was working full-time then training on a night with the Under-19s.
“There were people like Gaz Moore, Ben Jones-Bishop and Luke Gale all in there and the year after we moved into the 21s with players like Nick Scruton and Ian Kirke, so there’s plenty who went on and played Super League.
“I always made it apparent to work, though, that if I got the opportunity to go full-time with rugby I’d take it.
“When I did, they said would I like to see how it goes for a couple of months – try and work around it – and we’ve just carried on like that ever since.
“I do about 16 hours a week. I’m just doing a job in Oldham at the minute – five sites, loads of new houses – but think I’ll be moving to a refurb job in Wakefield soon.
“It tends to be that on my day off I go in for a full day and then work two afternoons.
“If I can’t make it occasionally I’ll go in on a weekend. I just have to liaise with people on site but generally they are very good.
“The guy I’m working with now is an ex-pro player himself – Jon Liddell – with Leeds and York so he knows how it works.
“I’ve a good relationship with him and he gives me a lot of advice on stuff.”
Broughton, who eventually left home-town Leeds for Salford City Reds without making a first-team appearance, added: “I do it for enjoyment more than anything.
“It’s funny because people say ‘why don’t you do something sporty?’ But this just takes me away from rugby and it’s something to fall back on when I’m finished playing.
“Hopefully, by the time it comes to retirement I can slot straight into that and not have that uneasy transition some have.”
Retirement, however, is a long way off for a player who hopes to see his prime years coincide with trophy success at Huddersfield.
While still at Headingley, he got a taste of Super League on loan at Hull FC, showing an early glimpse of his predatory instinct by scoring six tries in 12 games spread over 2008 and 2009.
That alerted Salford, who offered him a deal and duly benefitted greatly as he grabbed 53 tries in 93 Super League games over four years, Broughton gradually establishing himself as one of the game’s most exciting wingers.
Ironically, though, just as Marwan Koukash’s millions look set to transform Salford from strugglers to top-four contenders, Broughton opted to join Huddersfield for 2014.
“Some people say that,” he said, when asked if he thought it might be the wrong time to move.
“I wish them all the best but I think Huddersfield is the right club at this stage of my career.
“I’ve signed for four seasons so that takes me through to my later years. I still live in Leeds so it’s not too far and the coaching staff and whole set-up here is brilliant.
“But the main reason I signed is I know Huddersfield will challenge for trophies over the time I’m here. They won the League Leaders’ Shield last season and, though they missed out on the Grand Final, have got a lot of players here on long-term deals like ‘Man of Steel’ Danny Brough plus a lot of young homegrown lads.
“They are really building for the future and I can see us winning more silverware.”
Of course, given the success of Paul Anderson’s side last term – they finished top for the first time in 81 years – simply getting in the Huddersfield team could be a major task for the new arrival.
Current wingers Jermaine McGillvary and Aaron Murphy each scored 20 tries apiece last season and Broughton conceded: “They didn’t do too much wrong last year. They are two outstanding players and Ben Blackmore’s coming through as well. He’s a really exciting prospect. I’ve no right to be in last year’s team straight away without pushing in, working hard. I have to take my chance when I get it.”
You sense he will grasp it, though, as clearly he is not afraid of hard graft nor easily deterred.
Broughton recollects his early days with the notoriously robust Queens amateur club in Leeds.
“I played two games at open age for them,” he said.
“The first was all right but I got my bottom teeth knocked out in the first 10 seconds of the next!
“It was against East Leeds and some guy just stuck his elbow up and knocked them clean out.
“I had to have them put back in my a dentist the next week.
“I was only 16 years old but I enjoyed playing for that club.”