Broxham continues to 'bring it' for Victory
Every now and then a player comes along who couldn’t, shouldn’t but does. That player is Leigh Broxham.
Every now and then a player comes along who couldn-t, shouldn-t but does. That player is Leigh Broxham.
Amidst the razzle dazzle of Melbourne Victory-s 3-1 romp over their bitter rivals Sydney FC all the talk was about the diminutive Kiwi in navy blue who led his opponents on a dizzying escapade and scored twice.
Rightly so, but riding shotgun alongside him in a central midfield role was the man they call “the Brox from Knox”.
Marco Rojas wasn-t the only one laying siege to the Sydney FC goal in that first 45 minutes. Victory fans were treated to the rare sight of Leigh Broxham, so long the custodian of the keys to the defence, bombing forward and fizzing a couple of tasty shots toward Vedran Janjetovic-s goal.
Many thought that the arrival of Ange Postecoglou-s total football philosophy would see the end of Broxham-s career at Victory, but it hasn't.
Broxham made his way through the ranks under Ernie Merrick-s tutelage where he started life as a football team assistant and went on to become a member of the clubs- 2007 Grand Final winning side.
Merrick deployed Broxham as a trouble shooter. Often charged with the responsibility of being the custodian with the keys to the back gate, he was asked to do the hard graft in front of the back four where stopping your opponents game was more important than playing your own.
It was a role the combative midfielder enjoyed but one that became a straightjacket.
Football, like any craft, can be lost to an artisan if it isn-t practiced. For the better part of 2 years Broxham-s game seemed to be eroded by the focus on others rather than his own game.
Many expected that as a product of the Merrick era at Victory Leigh Broxham would be one player that would struggle to find a place at the table under Postecoglou-s reign.
Certainly the coach has some very clear non negotiable principals in his team template and that has been made clear by the departure of the likes of Ante Covic and the retirement of Danny Allsopp.
Yet Postecolgou kept faith in Broxham and Billy Celeski, two players I thought would also have their papers stamped by the new boss. Both have proved me wrong. Celeski has become an essential part of Postecoglou-s midfield dynamic providing the hard graft alongside Mark Milligan that allows Rojas, Flores and Thompson to go to work.
Broxham is still Mr. Fixit, but has a wider brief than ever and flourishing as a result.
When Postecolgou found his defence ravaged by injury and suspension ahead of the Newcastle Jets visit just after Xmas he had no hesitation nominating Borxham as his preferred candidate to slot into a central defensive role to mind Emile Heskey.
That Broxham did a superb job would have surprised everyone but the coach. Postecoglou is nothing if not direct with his players and there-s little doubt he would have clearly outlined what was expected of both these players as they adjusted to the new regime he had installed.
Not all players respond well to being challenged as evidenced by the departures of the likes of Craig Moore, Charlie Miller and Danny Tiatto on Postecoglou-s arrival in Brisbane.
Others thrive on the challenge and an opportunity to redefine their careers and defy the expectation of others. Postecoglou, like all great coaches, is masterful at reading personality and temperament.
With Leigh Broxham he knew he had a player who would never be the headline act but who his team could not do without.
And whilst we never thought he should or could be part of a championship winning team again, he just might.