Not many players can say they have been universally liked by teammates and hated as an opposition player but as Danny Brough shuts the book on his playing career he has certainly achieved greatness, and in Eorl Crabtree’s words become a Super League legend.
Brough has played over 500 competitive Rugby League fixtures. He turned out for seven clubs between 2002 and 2021 – a near 20-year career mostly played in England’s top division.
Brough spent most of his career at the Giants, staying eight years at the John Smith’s Stadium. He made his debut for Huddersfield in 2010 and played around 250 games for the club, half of his overall career total.
Brough won the league leader’s shield with the Giants in 2013, the first time in 81 years the club had topped the division. He also won the Man of Steel award that year for being the best player in the league. Brough has represented Scotland at three World Cups – 2008, 2013 and 2017.
He is the fifth highest points scorer in Rugby League history amassing 3,985 points and second in Super League terms behind Leeds legend Kevin Sinfield.
Starting his career back in 2002 at hometown club Dewsbury he has now decided to call time on his career 19 years later at Betfred Championship side Bradford Bulls.
Former Huddersfield teammate Eorl Crabtree, who played with Brough for six out of his nine years at the Giants, said: “Firstly to play until 38 at such a high level is quite an achievement.
“I feel sad that Danny has had to make this decision because he’s the type of guy that loves the game so much. If he could play until he was 90 he would!
“Danny is a very different type of guy to me. He is relentless in his intense all-action drive where I am more relaxed. We both have the same passion for the sport but have different ways of showing it.
“He is a good friend of mine and we got on well when we played together. He was a dream to play with because even in his position you just knew he didn’t mind making the big tackles. He could kick 40/20s for fun and, best of all, he could control a game. He would control its pace and flow and there aren’t many players that can do that.”
Brough was infamous for not getting on with officials, and whilst Crabtree accepts Brough sometimes went a bit far it was just because of his character in the game.
Eorl added: “We all know Danny had the ability on the pitch. That was never in question. He did sometimes go a bit far with referees but that’s only because he was so passionate to win. He couldn’t help himself! He probably will look back and think at some points he let himself down but, let’s be fair, the game needs its Danny Broughs.
“I am concerned at the lack of characters in our game. Rugby League needs those and at the moment there aren’t any. With Danny now retiring we have lost one of the game’s best players and characters.
“I hope Danny continues to go on to some part of the sport whether that be coaching or behind the scenes at a club, we can’t lose him or people like him. Danny has all the right intentions and you can never, ever deny his love for the sport.
“In my view he is a Rugby League and Super League legend for how he has played over the years and the stamp he has had on various clubs. Yes he didn’t win a lot but sometimes you can be called a legend for doing more than winning things.
“I wish my friend all the very best.”