BRODIE Croft prepared for rugby league opponents to give him the bird – by seeing father John killed by ostriches!
The Salford star has left players wondering where to look as he and the Red Devils dazzled their way to the play-offs.
But his training in getting those against him to do that began at a very young age, watching his father try to control the birds when they lived on an ostrich farm in Queensland.
And there are more similarities than you think.
Croft, who was there until he was five, said: “They’re fast, they’re strong and they’re vicious – just like rugby league players.
“I would sit on a motorcycle and watch. Looking back and seeing how they attacked dad a couple of times, I guess that made me want to show my tougher side.
“I saw them take Dad out, but he’s a rough guy and he wiped it off like water off a duck’s back. If an ostrich caught him, he wouldn’t show it. I guess that’s where I got my tougher side from.
“Mum and Dad are actually over and he was having a few chats with the boys when they asked him about the ostriches!
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“He told them how to get them on a truck and tricks like putting a sock over your arm, grabbing the bird and cloaking as they are dangerous.”
Halfback Croft’s performances have put him on the three-man shortlist for English rugby league’s ultimate personal honor, the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel award.
However, the most important thing for him is to regain his love for the game he and his brothers played on a makeshift pitch on their land.
And while he’s a hero at Salford, he and his English wife Safina, who hails from Cambridge and has family just off the M62 in Leeds, enjoy tremendous anonymity.
It takes him back to the days when he thrilled at Melbourne Storm but could still walk down the street unnoticed, which definitely didn’t happen when he was at Brisbane Broncos.
Croft, 24, added ahead of hopes of taking a game from Paul Rowley’s men before the Grand Final by beating Huddersfield: “It helps to a degree.
“It reminds me a bit of when I lived in Melbourne for four years. Despite being such a successful rugby league team, The Storm is an AFL dominated city, much like Manchester and football.
“It’s nice to get some fresh air, to get out and have a normal life. You get the odd fan, which is nice, but it’s good to have that freedom of movement.
“Before I came here you could say I had lost rugby league a bit. There have been some dark, hard times. It was more frustrating than anything not to be able to produce what I knew I was capable of.
“I had one year left in Brisbane and they didn’t kick me out. I sat down with coach Kevin Walters and he said, ‘We’re really excited that you’re staying here and trying to get things going again’, but I felt like I needed a fresh start.
“How you play on the field often reflects how you are off the field. I settled in early, which helps.
“One of the reasons we came over was knowing that Saf’s family is over here and the stars are kind of aligned.
“She’s settled up north but she still misses Cambridge, it’s sunnier down there – and she’d really like our eldest, who only says a few words, to have an English accent!”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6190526/brodie-croft-salford-huddersfield-australia-old-trafford/ Salford star Brodie Croft says Ostriches have started rugby league education