HUNSLET HAWKS and new signing Brooke Broughton share the same ambition, to get back to a higher level.
Broughton is determined to return to Super League and wants to help Hunslet Hawks regain their place in the Kingstone Press Championship in the process.
The 23-year-old prop or second-rower joined Hawks from York City Knights on a one-year deal and made his first appearance in the New Year’s Day pre-season defeat at Featherstone Rovers.
Brother of Huddersfield Giants winger Jodie Broughton, he also started in Leeds Rhinos’ academy before spells at Warrington Wolves and Doncaster.
He was recommended to Hunslet – where his father Stan Warriner played in the 1980s – by new Rovers coach John Bastian, who worked with him at Leeds and Warrington.
After a series of moves so early in his career, he said: “I want to stay with a team where I am enjoying my rugby and playing regularly.
“It has got to come from me. I have got to be playing well, but I just want to cement a spot and then hopefully try and get back into Super League.
“I would love to be able to get back up there, but I’ve just got to make my way at the moment. I had my chance and I’ve come back down, so I have got to set a platform for myself.”
Broughton doesn’t have to look far to see it can be done. Prop Andy Yates was released by St Helens, joined Hunslet and then got picked up by Leeds on a full-time deal.
“There’s no reason why I can’t do it,” he said. “It is all up to me. I’ve had a good platform at Leeds and Warrington and I learned a lot of things, now I’ve got to take them on to the pitch.”
Broughton was one of Hawks’ most impressive players in the 26-0 defeat three days ago, played in driving rain on a muddy pitch
“I enjoyed it – I don’t mind playing in those conditions,” he said. “It slows it down a bit and kind of suits my game plan and the way I play.”
Three of Rovers’ tries came from kicks and Broughton feels the Championship One side showed real signs of promise, despite the scoreline.
Their season does not start until Sunday, March 2 – two weeks after Super League and the Championship kick-off – and he reckons there’s plenty of time to add a cutting edge to a much-improved defence. “In the middle we’ve recruited a lot of big players, so we can dominate in that area,” Broughton said.
“We just need to keep hold of the ball and take our chances when we get them. Wednesday was our first full-a-side session together. We only threw ourselves together a few weeks ago so we are doing well. There’s a lot of experience in the squad.
“Marchy (David March) is eight games off 400 first-team appearances so he brings a lot to the team, even though he didn’t play this week.
“There’s other players who have played in Super League or been in a Super League environment. We’ve got a good group of players who want to train and play well.”
Hawks will start as one of the title favourites, but Broughton warned: “I expect it to be tough.
“We have got to earn the right to win games, but I think if we tough it out, play with the experience we’ve got and throw the ball about, we will break teams down. It is a massive year, we need to get back up to where we belong.”
Hawks’ next pre-season game is the annual Lazenby Cup fixture at home to Leeds Rhinos on Sunday, January 26 (2pm).
Hunslet are also set to visit newly-promoted Championship outfit Rochdale Hornets on Sunday, February 9 (3pm) and are looking to arrange another game before the start of their league campaign.