“Casual Connor” Broadhurst strikes up 150 Hostplus Cup games this weekend with the same relaxed manner that has defined his long career.
The calm approach shone last October as thousands of nervous Devils fans shook and shivered through the final minutes of the grand final against Wynnum Manly.
With the scores tied at 10-all with seven minutes remaining, Broadhurst took the ball on the last tackle.
His kick found winger Jon Reuben whose fast feet and hands sparked a stunning movement that eventually returned to Broadhurst for a second kick that sat up for a Michael Molo try.
There was no more important attacking moment in modern Devils history but Broadhurst wasn’t finished.
He was asked to kick the conversion because first-choice kicker Tyrone Roberts had left the field. No problem except Broadhurst hadn’t practised for weeks and he had to deal with of a howling wind and Wynnum’s relocated “Chook Pen” giving their advice metres from the kick.
“I completely forgot I had to kick – I was already walking back for the restart,” Broadhurst said.
“I hadn’t practised for a while because I didn’t think I’d be needed. But I wasn’t nervous. I knew the two points were really important in the context of the game but I just followed my routine. I was pretty relieved though when it went over.”
Broadhurst’s calmness doesn’t surprise those who watch him keep a smile on his face and a relaxed attitude before games – he admits he has been called “Casual Connor” more than once.
Broadhurst’s 150 games have included two premierships – he won his first with Burleigh Bears in 2016 – Queensland Residents selection and a remarkable record of longevity.
Broadhurst keeps his fingers crossed when he says the last game he missed came early in 2016 when he made way for a player dropping back from the Titans’ NRL program.
That reliability made him a key member of coach Rohan Smith’s squads after he was signed from the CQ Capras for the 2019 season. Broadhurst has mixed between centres and five-eighth with the same professionalism.
Only a season lost to Covid and a season shorted from the usual 23 games to 19 games the last two years have prevented him reaching the 150 milestone earlier.
Broadhurst remains on the NRL radar with his consistency, skill and the on-field leadership that have been important to a Devils team making a run at the finals.
“My ambition has always been to play NRL and that remains a goal especially with the pathway that has been established through the Devils for players in recent years,” Broadhurst said.
“I’m grateful to get to a number like 150 but I’ve always been fortunate to play with so many good people and to have good coaches. I’ve got no plans to stop yet so I’ll just keep enjoying it.”
The Devils moved into fifth place – one point behind third – with a win over the Capras in Rockhampton last week.
Broadhurst was raised in central Queensland and he had family in the stands – and on the field – for his 149th game.
Capras halfback Jack Madden is Broadhurst’s first cousin. They attended St Brendan’s College together – Madden is one year older than Broadhurst – and they played for the school’s renowned rugby league team together.
“It was good to get that win last week and we’re starting to get ourselves going towards the finals,” Broadhurst said.
“We’ve got two tough games left but the pleasing thing is that our defence is improving. We’re looking forward to the next two weeks.”
The Devils host the Ipswich Jets at Bishop Park on Saturday for Old Boys’ Day, which will mark Broadhurst’s 150th game.