Travel buddies Jodie Broughton and Aaron Murphy are refusing to cut out the banter despite the battle for a winger’s spot at Huddersfield Giants.
The duo, along with Anthony Mullally, share the drive into training each day at Huddersfield from their homes in Leeds.
Broughton has been forced to watch from the sidelines for the majority of the season, as former Wakefield winger Murphy took his chance, scoring nine tries in 16 league outings.
But a knee injury to Murphy meant a recall for 27-year-old Broughton, who has impressed since his return and is hoping to keep the shirt for tomorrow’s visit of Hull KR.
With Murphy back fit, it is a welcome selection headache for head coach Paul Anderson.
But Broughton revealed there is no ill-feeling between the pair, and their off-field friendship and car-sharing has actually spurred them on.
“There always is (banter) when we are in the car, we travel together every day,” said Leeds-born Broughton. “That’s not a bad thing, we keep each other on our toes and try to help each other out when we can.
“If we feel there’s something each other should be doing more, we discuss it with each other.
“Me, Murphy and Mullally we all drive in together, so it’s always fun and games. We have a bit of banter about who is playing and who is not.
“It’s good friendships, and really developed over the last two years. We all live in Leeds, so meet in the morning and drive over together.”
Former Hull FC winger Broughton has had to be patient this season, having made just seven appearances.
In his first season at the John Smith’s Stadium, after moving from Salford, he scored 11 tries in 21 games.
But with four tries in his last four outings – including back-to-back efforts in wins over Warrington and Widnes – Broughton is certainly hitting form as the season reaches its climax.
“It’s been good to get back playing, and, fortunately, we have been in a fair bit of form these last few weeks,” he said.
“My own form has got better as time’s gone on. It’s just about doing what you have been practicing into the game.
“I am probably match-fit now and raring to go this weekend. I have been in the tries, when you have a good strike-rate you’re more likely to be in the team, but I am just happy to be back in the team.
“All I can do is play as well as I can and them leave the decision to Baloo (Anderson). He will make the decision he feels right.
“But if I keep performing like I have been, I am going to make it a bit difficult for him. We have competition all over the field. It keeps everybody on their toes.”
Broughton praised Anderson for helping him, even when he was forced to watch from the sidelines earlier in the campaign.
“It’s always nice to get feedback,” he added. “When I wasn’t playing I would ask Baloo, ‘Is there anything more or anything less you want me to do?’ He was good with me, told me to just carry on, and when I get the opportunity to just take it. That’s what I did.
“I have just been patient. I couldn’t really complain, because the boys were playing really well, even when we weren’t winning. It’s hard for a coach to drop a player who is in form.
“The way Murphy is, he’s probably one of the most consistent players there is, so chances were only coming through injuries.”
Huddersfield can rubber-stamp their place in the Super 8s tomorrow with a win.
Not that the Giants are settling for the current fourth-placed spot in Super League.
Broughton believes it is the most competitive Super League he has been involved in, with just 11 points dividing leaders Leeds Rhinos to ninth-placed Hull FC.
“It’s so close,” he said. “We have got four games left, they are difficult, but I think they are all winnable for us.
“Catalans and St Helens away will be very difficult, but we just need to build on the back of what we have been doing.
“Everyone is beating everyone, bar Wakefield, who have been in trouble for the last few months.
“I have never seen it to so tight before. You look at Hull FC, they had a great run of form, but were pushed down to ninth in midweek.
“It just shows, you need to get wins behind you and do what you can to get into the top eight.
“The way Baloo has put it to us, we have got four games left, and if we win all four we could finish second, if not better, depending how other results go.
“We don’t want to finish fourth we want to finish as high up the table as we can do.”
Tomorrow’s visitors Hull KR may be playing their third game in 10 days – Huddersfield have had a fortnight off – but Broughton is expecting a tough game.
“It’s to our advantage that Hull KR have had so many games in such a short space of time. But, you have to play the cards you’re dealt with. We will go into the game with the right mindset and not worry too much about them.”