IF HE is on the winning side this weekend, teenage centre Jack Broadbent could play in a final at Wembley before he makes his Leeds Rhinos debut.
Broadbent is on loan at his hometown club Batley Bulldogs who visit Sheffield Eagles on Sunday for an 1895 Cup semi-final.
The winners will face either Leigh Centurions or Widnes Vikings at Wembley immediately after next month’s Coral Challenge Cup final.
“Batley have made it clear that’s what they want to do, that’s what they have been talking about,” Broadbent said. “We are 80 minutes away.
“Probably for a few of the players it is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to play at Wembley and we are just going to give it everything we’ve got. It would be quite something to have on my reputation for the rest of my career.”
Eagles – whose assistant-coach is ex-Rhinos centre Keith Senior – play on an artificial pitch at Olympic Legacy Park and have had the upper hand over Bulldogs this year. Batley are also on the back of a defeat, 48-12 at Leigh last Sunday, but Broadbent reckons none of that will matter on Sunday.
He said: “We have spoken about it, they have already beaten us twice convincingly this season, but that’s the motivation to get one back on them.
“We have been building, we didn’t start the first half against Leigh too good, but in the second half we started building for this week. That’s what our focus was as soon as the game had gone, to start preparing for this week. Our form in the cup has been really good and that’s what we are going to take into it.”
Broadbent, 17, scored a brace of tries for Yorkshire against Australian Schoolboys last year after helping Rhinos to the academy Grand Final. He had a spell on dual-registration with Featherstone Rovers earlier this season, scoring two tries in three appearances and has been with Batley since last month.
He played in Bulldogs’ golden-point extra-time win at York City Knights in an 1895 Cup quarter-final and is loving his experience at semi-professional level.
He said: “The coach Matt Diskin played at Leeds and it has been good playing under him and his systems. I played three games on the wing for Featherstone and at Batley I have been in the centres, which is my position, so that has been really good.
“I am learning every week, it has been a massive step up from academy rugby and hopefully it closes the gap between the academy and first team and gets me ready to play for Leeds’ first team. That’s what I want to do and hopefully I will get a chance.”
Rhinos’ academy coaches Rob Burrow and Jonny Wainhouse have been keeping a close eye on Broadbent’s progress at Batley.
“They have been really good,” Broadbent said. “I’ve not been there, but they have still been catching up with me on my game every week. Even though I am not training with them they are still helping me develop and get better.”
Broadbent has time on his side, but can also take inspiration from one of Rhinos’ current first-choice centres, Harry Newman, who – at 19 – has established himself this year after starring in the Championship for Featherstone during 2018.