Salford star Brodie Croft says ostriches started rugby league education
BRODIE Croft was prepared for rugby league opponents giving him the bird – by seeing father John taken out by ostriches!
The Salford star has left players standing, wondering where to look as he and the Red Devils dazzled their way to the play-offs.
But his education in making those against him do that started at a very young age, as he looked on while his dad tried to control the birds as they lived on an ostrich farm in Queensland.
And there are more similarities than you would think.
Croft, who was there until he was five-years-old, said: “They’re quick, they’re strong and they’re vicious – just like rugby league players.
“I’d sit on a motorbike and watch. Looking back and seeing them tackle dad a few times, I guess it got me going and showing my tougher side.
“I saw them take dad out but he’s a rough and tumble guy and he brushed it off like water off a duck’s back. If an ostrich got him, he wouldn’t show it. I guess that’s where I got my tougher side from.
“Mum and dad are actually over and he’s had a few conversations with the boys as they were asking him about the ostriches!
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“He told them about mustering them on to a truck and tricks like putting a sock over your arm, grabbing the bird and putting it over them as they’re dangerous.”
Half back Croft’s displays have put him on the three-man shortlist for English rugby league’s ultimate personal honour, the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel prize.
The main thing for him, though, is regaining his love for the game he and his brothers played on a makeshift pitch on their land.
And even though he is a hero in Salford, the relative anonymity he and English wife Safina, who hails from Cambridge and has family just up the M62 in Leeds, enjoy is huge.
It takes him back to the days he wowed at Melbourne Storm but could still walk down the street unnoticed, which definitely did not happen while he was at Brisbane Broncos.
Croft, 24, added before he hopes to take Paul Rowley’s men one match from the Grand Final by beating Huddersfield: “That helps to some extent.
“It reminds me a bit of when I lived in Melbourne for four years. Although the Storm is such a successful rugby league team, it’s an AFL-dominated city, much like Manchester and football.
“It’s nice to get that bit of fresh air, to be able to go out and live a normal life. You get the odd fan, which is nice, but it’s good to have that free roam.
“Before I came here, you could say I’d fallen out of love with rugby league a bit. There were some dark, tough times. It was frustration more than anything at not being able to produce what I knew I was capable of.
“I had a year left at Brisbane and they weren’t kicking me out. I sat with coach Kevin Walters and he said, ‘We’re more than happy for you to stay here and try to get things going again,’ but I felt I needed a fresh start.
“How you play on the field often reflects how you are off the field. I got settled early, which helps.
“One of the reasons we came over was knowing Saf’s family is over here and the stars kind of aligned.
“She’s settled up north but she still misses Cambridge, it is sunnier down there – and she definitely wants our eldest, who’s just saying a few words, to have an English accent!”
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