It’s been a terrific season for Catalans Dragons’ winger Jodie Broughton, with the pacy 28-year-old leaving some of the country’s finest defences in tatters. But the Leeds-born star told Ladbrokes News that lifting the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup is what would make this year a real success.
The Perpignan outfit haven’t reached the final since 2007, but Broughton believes that he can fulfil the “biggest dream” of Catalans fans, by bringing the prestigious trophy to Stade Gilbert Brutus. We caught up with him ahead of Saturday’s hotly-anticipated quarter-final clash against Hull FC.
Ladbrokes News: Catalans were beaten finalists in the 2007 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final. Are you confident that the squad you have right now can go one further and lift the trophy?
Jodie Broughton: Absolutely. We’ll need to stay injury-free and play to the best of our potential, but if we can do that, then we’re a match for anyone in the competition.
LN: Obviously it’s also a trophy which the fans would love to see the team bring back to Perpignan. What does the competition mean to you personally, and to Catalans supporters?
JB: I think it’s the most prestigious thing you can win in rugby league. I grew up watching the Challenge Cup as a young kid, even before Super League started. I vividly remember watching those cup ties, and it’s the competition that means the most to me.
When Catalans fans discuss the trophies, they always focus on the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup. There’s even a bar across the road from where I live called Le Wembley! I think the biggest dream for every Dragons fan is to see us lift the cup.
LN: You’ve been in fantastic form recently, obviously scoring those two tries at St Helens in the last home game. Do you feel that Laurent Frayssinous and the coaches at Catalans are helping you to develop your game?
JB: Yes, definitely. It isn’t just the coaches though – I’ve also learnt a lot from having some fantastic players around me. When you’re training with the likes of Todd Carney, Glenn Stewart, Tony Gigot – players who’ve been big names at the highest levels of the game – you’re always bound to improve.
The coaches do deserve huge credit, though. They have given me something of a free role, where I’m told what they want from me in certain areas of the field, but to go about things in my own way. I’m really enjoying that extra freedom and I feel it’s benefited my game.
LN: You didn’t feature in the last round of the cup at Batley, but Catalans won comfortably. Do you feel it’s tricky facing the smaller teams who are always very fired up for those games, and were you impressed by how your teammates played?
JB: Batley is a difficult place to go, and not just because of the big hill at Mount Pleasant!
We have a lot of seasoned internationals who maybe aren’t really used to those surroundings, and could have been a bit rattled by it, but they weren’t fazed at all.
The first half was tough and Batley were very up for it, but in the second half, we ran away with the game. I think our levels of fitness and skill really showed as the game went on.
LN: Catalans narrowly lost at Hull FC (28-26) in Super League back in April, but you’ve been on a great run since. Do you feel the Dragons have improved since that game, and who do you feel will be your key men in a huge clash like this?
JB: We’ve been in good form, and I think our one poor performance in that time, when we lost to Wakefield, gave us a big kick up the backside!
I think our half-backs will be key in getting a result this weekend. Todd Carney and Richie Myler are both crucial in a game like this, and Richie was instrumental in most of the tries last time we played them. If we stick to our game-plan and produce our best form, we know we can beat Hull.
LN: This could well be the tie of the round, with some superb players (yourself obviously included) in both sides. Have you been impressed with Hull this season?
JB: I have been hugely impressed with them. They’ve got a fantastic squad and you can see how good their team camaraderie is, as well. When you watch Hull FC, you can see everyone celebrate together. But it’s our job to give them nothing to celebrate about on Saturday!
LN: Finally, are you excited by the chance to face your former club again?
JB: Yeah, definitely. I have a lot of gratitude towards the club. They gave me my debut back in 2008. It’s always exciting going back there, and I’m sure there will be a huge crowd for this fixture. It will be a tough game, but I can’t wait.
And you can get all match markets and enhanced specials here, as Jodie and his Catalans team-mates head to Hull for their crucial Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final clash.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.