Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR: Jack Broadbent determined to prove his worth as injury crisis deepens

One of the mysteries of Leeds Rhinos’ season so far is why Jack Broadbent has spent most of it out in the cold.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 29th April 2022, 4:45 am

The 21-year-old back was a success story last term, scoring nine tries in 14 games, being named Yorkshire Evening Post Shooting Star and securing a call up into the England Knights squad at the end of the year.

But it has been a different story in 2022 with Broadbent featuring in only three of Rhinos’ first 11 competitive games.

The academy product was drafted in last Friday when an injury-hit side beat Toulouse Olympique and is hoping a strong performance then was the start of his road back to being a regular in the side.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Jack Broadbent had a strong game against Toulouse last week. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“It was good to be back in the team and to get a good run out,” Broadbent said.

“I was buzzing to get back out there.

Read More

Read More
Zak Hardaker shock: Why new signing won't play for Leeds Rhinos against Hull KR ...

“I believe in myself and I know I have got that potential.

Jack Broadbent. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“I think I showed that last year, but obviously you have got to go with the coaches’ decision and that was not with me.

“I have worked hard on my game and been trying to prove people wrong and I hope I made some good steps towards doing that last Friday.”

Broadbent started at centre, but had to switch to full-back in the first half after a knee injury forced Liam Sutcliffe out of the game.

“I felt really good, I really dug in and felt like I put a good performance in,” Broadbent added.

Jack Broadbent. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“In the first half in particular, I thought I was having a really good game at centre, then when I moved to full-back that probably carried on.

“In the second half my chances were pretty limited, the game got a bit scrappy, but that comes with playing more.

“Probably last year I was chiming in more, once I got into the rhythm of things.

“I am happy to do anything for the team and I was never going to turn down the challenge [of switching positions].”

Tom Briscoe was also hurt in last week’s game, joining fellow outside-backs Jack Walker, David Fusitu’a, Harry Newman, Richie Myler and Liam Tindall on the casualty list.

Rhinos signed their former Grand Final winner Zak Hardaker at the start of this week in an effort to strengthen the backline, but he has been ruled out of tonight after collapsing during a walk with his young son on Tuesday.

Interim-coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan will have to patch together a side from only 19 available players this evening and has confirmed Broadbent will start at full-back.

It is arguably the worst injury crisis Leeds have faced since Super League began 26 years ago, but means Broadbent now has an opportunity to string a run of games together.

“It’s probably similar to last year, injuries giving me my chance,” he recalled.

“But obviously this year I feel like I was trying to push for a spot even when there weren’t those injuries.

“That’s my goal and focus, for me to still be in the squad even when players aren’t injured.

“When I am getting my chances I want to show I am not there to make up the numbers, I am there to make a difference.”

Though the existing backroom staff will remain in place, a new coach coming in could change the dynamic in Rhinos’ squad.

Australian Rohan Smith will arrive in Leeds next Tuesday and take charge for the first time when Rhinos visit Salford Red Devils on Sunday, May 15.

Broadbent predicted: “I think it will raise everyone’s level.

“He is yet to form his own opinions so whenever his first game is - or first training session - that will be his first impression, so everyone is going to be keen to impress and get off on the right foot.

“People speak very highly of him and say he’s very knowledgeable, he has probably done his homework already, but he will form his own opinions and everyone will be starting from a clean slate and keen to impress.”

Broadbent is out of contract at the end of this season and other clubs are understood to have been keeping a close eye on his situation at Leeds.

He insisted he is “still unsure” about what will happen, but stressed: “I was lacking some game time at the start of the season, but now it is fully on me.

“I am just trying to enjoy my rugby and get a run of games, hopefully.”