FORMER Farrer First XIII skipper Jack “Curly” Broughton was back in Tamworth on Saturday when the Cronulla Sharks took on the Newcastle Knights in an U20s trial at Scully Park.
Broughton is in his second year with the Sharks after captaining Farrer to the ARL Schoolboy Trophy two years ago.
The Knights beat the Sharks 24-12 at Scully Park but Broughton, his teammates and coaching staff believe they are heading in the right direction.
“We’ve had a really good pre-season,” Broughton said. “We’ve got a new-look squad but it’s been really good. We’re happy with what we got out of that game.
“We’ve already played Manly and Penrith and we lost those games as well, but we’re happy with how we’re going. The pre-season is over and we’re ready to start in two weeks.”
Broughton lived at Bendemeer while boarding at Farrer and was also part of a University Shield-winning side in 2010 in his second last year at school.
He joined Cronulla last year and ended up playing quite a few lower grade games.
This year he is aiming for more starts in the re-branded Holden Cup.
“I played four games in the 20s last year but more importantly I played a lot of games in the NSW Cup,” Broughton said.
“It was really good. It’s slower but a lot more physical.
“I had a run with guys like Richie Fa’aoso and Jaiman Lowe from Melbourne, because they play with our NSW Cup side. I want to play a lot more games this year. That’s the aim.”
Like many other players in their last year of U20s, Broughton is playing for a senior contract.
But if he doesn’t remain in the NRL system he will have another career path to follow.
“I’m signed until the end of the year and then I’ll go from there,” he said. “I’m hoping to continue with my footy but I’m going to uni as well. Farrer has set me up with a lot of options so I’m lucky.”
He is studying computer science at uni.
Broughton, who was also school captain at Farrer, also remains committed to his old school.
He doesn’t get home very often but is still keen to help the new crop of Farrer boys when he can.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to come home more often,” he said. “When footy’s finished I’d like to come back and help Farrer out. I’m grateful for everything Farrer did for me.”
He is also still in touch with his old Farrer teammates.
A few are still in the NRL system and Broughton rates Matt Allwood as the best chance of making it to first grade in the near future.
The centre was one of the standouts for Canberra in the U20s last year and is now part of the Raiders’ first grade squad.
Click the photo to see more images from the NRL trial