Leigh Broxham says Melbourne Victory have drawn ‘a line in the sand’ ahead of his 300th Hyundai A-League appearance against Perth Glory this weekend, as they desperately to improve on their poor start to the 2019/20 campaign.
Broxham is set to become the first player in league history to play 300 games for a single club when Victory host Glory at AAMI Park on Friday night.
But despite all the highs of his storied playing career the 31-year-old approaches the milestone game on the back of the Victory’s worst-ever start to a Hyundai A-League campaign.
He’s seen it all in Victory’s navy blue since making his debut for the club in 2007, but as his side stare down the barrel of a rare wasted season, Broxham is determined to stop the rut with an instant improvement against the Glory.
“It’s a bit of a line in the sand,” Broxham said.
“We’ve got to start picking up points or the season is going to get too far away from us.
“Coming up until Christmas in the next month, four games or so, is probably quite a thick line in the sand I think.
“This game on the weekend, Perth, are struggling a bit too and we’re close to each other points-wise.”
Broxham made his Victory debut as a 19-year-old against the Glory in 2007, coming off the bench to replace Steve Pantelidis with half an hour to play.
As a wide-eyed teenager chasing his first professional contract, Broxham would never have imagined just where his career would take him: to 300 senior caps and beyond.
“You don’t think about stuff like that. You start out with small goals of getting yourself into a team or playing as many games as you can," Broxham said.
“At that point, it was to get my first team contract.
“I’ve always had a dream to become a professional footballer and this club gave me that opportunity and, as everything has turned out, I’m still here and it’s been a great journey and it’s been an honour.
“I get to play football every week in front of my family and friends and it’s been awesome.”
After making his Victory debut, Broxham came off the bench three more times in that season, including in Victory's 6-0 win over Adelaide United in the 2006/07 Grand Final.
“We were just talking about how it first started and now I’ve played 300 A-League games. It’s definitely gone quickly,” Broxham said.
“[I made my] A-League debut and after three games I came on in a Grand Final.
“It was a bit of a circus, we won the game 6-0, and that’s just how football is.
“The [2014/15] Grand Final here at AAMI Park was pretty special.
“We played well. I scored, just in case anyone forgot, so I felt on top of the world at that point.
“There’s lots of good moments but those two are probably right up there.”
With memories of all three Hyundai A-League Championships reminding him of how good things can be, Broxham understands just how dire a situation Victory currently find themselves in, with only one win to their name sitting in 10th position on five points.
But he’s eager for his side to bounce back in his milestone match against the Glory, and feels the responsibility, as a leader in the dressing room, to help lead Victory’s resurgence and save a season which is already slipping away.
“It’s a completely different feeling for me now,” Broxham said.
“As part of the leadership group, you’ve got to identify what’s going on so I’m a lot more accountable now I think.
“It’s not good enough from our point of view. We want to be winning games every week.
“A few little things we’ve looked at, we can improve, and a bit of continuity will help too.
“Holding everyone accountable, I think every single player just looking at themselves and not pointing fingers because that can become very toxic in the current environment.”
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory (Friday, November 29 2019)
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT
Venue: AAMI Park
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports