Broxham's meteoric rise

Three months ago, Leigh Broxham was just another talented young player with dreams of hopefully playing in the Hyundai A-League in the not to distant future.

Three months ago, Leigh Broxham was just another talented young player with dreams of hopefully playing in the Hyundai A-League in the not to distant future. But not even he expected the meteoric rise to his career since January, which now sees him as a key player for the Qantas Under 23-s, as they try to advance through a tough Olympic Games qualifying group.

Broxham, a former Qantas Joey (Under 17) player, is certainly living the dream and making the most of the opportunities that are currently coming his way.

First there was Ernie Merrick offering him a contract to play with Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League; second was his debut against Perth Glory; third was making an appearance in Melbourne-s grand final win and finally fourth, being included in the Qantas Under 23 squad.

“Since I signed (for Melbourne) in January, I didn-t really expect to be where I am,” said a modest Broxham, from his hotel room in Adelaide, where the Under 23-s are preparing for the key match against Jordan.

“It-s just gone fast, I have to keep my head down and keep working hard and hopefully I keep improving.”

The 19-year-old was really looking to third season of the Hyundai A-League to try and make his mark and is quite overwhelmed that it has happened just a tad quicker than he expected.

“I was doing kind of like an apprenticeship at Melbourne, like preparing the kit, pick up gear and pretty much do all the stuff in the gear room and make sure the players were all sorted and I would train with the boys during the day.

“I did that to try and get something for next season, but obviously it-s happened a bit quicker.”

On Wednesday night though, Broxham is likely to be stepping out for the Qantas Under 23-s against Jordan in what is a crucial match at Hindmarsh Stadium. Having drawn their away game in Iran two weeks ago, home wins are seen as essential to progressing as one of the two top teams from their group.

An injury to central midfielder Stuart Musialik has presented Broxham with the chance to press his claims further and give coach Rob Baan the depth he is searching for.

While Broxham concedes that upon Musialik-s return, he is likely to drop back to the bench, in the meantime he will do everything he can to keep Australia-s positive start going in the right direction.

“Stuey (Stuart Musialik) is a good player and has had played most of the season with Newcastle and when he comes back he will probably slot back in, but while he is gone I want to prove to Rob that if he needs me, he can rely on me.

“We are on home turf; we always train at Hindmarsh, so I think we are all very confident that we will get a result. All the boys will be back and ready for Wednesday, so I think we will be fine.

“We don-t have a problem defensively and obviously at home we want to score a few goals as well and I think we are capable of doing that. The individuals going forward are the best young players in the A-League, so I don-t think we should have any problems scoring goals.

No doubt the experience he got with Melbourne towards their march to the Championship will help Broxham on Wednesday.

“It (the grand final) was something that I have dreamed of, but never thought would happen. All the boys thought we would make the final, but I didn-t think I would be on the field, yet along get half an hour run, given where I was when I first joined the boys at the start of the season. It was unreal.

There is no doubt that Baan will be looking to Broxham to be the lynchpin between the defence and the team going forward, a role that requires a lot of discipline and but tenacity as well.

“I like to think of myself as a disciplined player,” he concedes, when asked how he best describes himself as a player. “I try to do what the coach asks of me, get the team playing in terms of getting the ball from the back and get the ball moving forward. I am good at keeping the ball and I don-t mind getting stuck in for the challenges.”

No doubt if Broxham can do his job effectively, then the Qantas Under 23-s have a better than even chance of getting the required win.