STEP forward the real Danny Brough! After spending the start of his Huddersfield Giants career in the shadows, the 27-year-old goalkicking half-back is ready to shine brightly on the Galpharm stage.
There were signs towards the end of last season that the Scotland international was warming to the claret and gold task following his move from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on March 24. Who could forget, for instance, his man-of-the-match performance in the stunning play-off victory at Warrington Wolves?
But by his own admission Brough made a conscious effort not to run before he could walk. He didn’t want to make the mistake of arriving with all guns blazing.
Instead, he came in quietly, determined to listen and learn, while those around him in the first-team squad took the lead.
And he is confident the approach has paid off.
Besides moving to a new club, he showed his commitment to the Giants’ cause by moving house from his home town of Dewsbury to the heart of Huddersfield and within a stone’s throw of the Galpharm Stadium. It was a sign of how deadly serious he is to stay around until at least the end of his initial contract at the end of 2015.
And there’s also no doubt that if he can reach his full potential during that time, Brough is a player more than capable of being crowned Super League Man of Steel and Huddersfield’s decision to prise him away from Wakefield was an incredibly smart move.
Brough has already shown during his career that he can be among the brightest of stars.
He landed four goals and a drop goal in Hull FC’s 2005 Challenge Cup win over Leeds Rhinos at the Millennium Stadium, with many claiming he was unlucky not to win the Lance Todd Trophy as the game’s outstanding player, while he was named man-of-the-match for Castleford in their 2007 National League I Grand Final triumph which earned the Tigers a place back in Super League.
And then during his time at Wakefield, he collected the Albert Goldthorpe Medal after being voted the most consistent Super League player in 2008.
But Brough is 100% confident that under Giants chief Nathan Brown (inset) he can finally break all the shackles and show the entire rugby league just how good he can be.
“I’m confident I’ll benefit as much as anyone from this pre-season, and I’d like to think my performances in the pre-season games reflected that,” said Brough, who was clearly a star in both the 18-10 home triumph over Hull KR and the 36-12 triumph at St Helens.
“To be honest, I found it hard coming into the club in the middle of last season. It was at that time I really appreciated how important pre-season training is.
“It meant I came into the club having to get to know the players and then start to learn the plays, which is pretty tough, particularly when you’re a half-back.
“And I also didn’t want to step on any toes when I arrived. I made sure I kept very much within myself and let others take the lead, because I knew that if I didn’t I could upset the apple cart.
“But as I started to get to know the squad a lot better and became more familiar with the plays, I began to contribute a lot more and, by the end of the season, I felt my form was starting to improve.
“That gave me a lot more confidence when this pre-season got under way, and I’ve taken more of a lead in training as a result.
“And I have to admit I’ve never had a pre-season like it and I feel I’m advancing with every training session I have.
“I always thought I’d benefit from working under Nathan Brown, and that’s definitely been the case. He’s spent a lot of time with me over the winter and I’ve learned so much off him.
“He’s already added a lot to my game and there’s no doubt he’s a coach who’s getting the best out of me.
“I know there are still areas of my game that need improving, with the aim of becoming more consistent right up there, but under Browny I know I’ve got every chance.
“I’m feeling really positive about the season ahead.”
One of the features of Brough’s starring pre-season roles was his kicking game.
He landed all three of his conversions against Rovers and then recorded a six-from-six haul against Saints, while his kicks in open play were also of the highest order
And he couldn’t have been happier about that.
“I’ve been pleased with my kicking,” he added.
“But just like with ball in hand, there’s still more practice to do.
“I already have a few specific kicking sessions with Browny and some of the other boys a couple of times a week, and they’ll continue.
“And I’m more than happy doing these extras because the work’s paying off, that’s the key.”