Melbourne Victory’s versatile veteran, Leigh Broxham has paid tribute to his side’s efforts and resolve during the busy January period, saying a pre-New Year conversation laid the foundation to tackle the fixture glut.
“We sat down and spoke about [the month] prior to and identified the games and what we wanted to achieve – and we came pretty close,” Broxham said on Wednesday.
“We weren’t able to rotate a lot of players due to injuries, so the boys had to keep playing and did an amazing job.
“And those that were coming back and coming [into the side] were making big impacts. Yeah, it was tough, but if you judge it on points we did quite well.”
Some of the Club’s younger players have shouldered added responsibility during this period, with Tommy Deng holding down the centre of defence alongside Broxham, Elvis Kamsoba and Rahmat Akbari playing increased minutes, Josh Hope having his first starts and Anthony Lesiotis making his debut.
And Broxham believes there’s no better way to fast track their apprenticeships than minutes in the first team.
“It’s good for them on a personal level. I believe the best way to learn is to play games, so them getting the opportunity to play games is massive for them to progress their football.
“You can train as much as you like, but it’s good, them coming in on a controlled basis enables them to perform. They’re doing a good job.”
The Club’s games record holder has played much of this season in the heart of Kevin Muscat’s defence, his performances drawing almost as much praise as his versatility. But where would he like to play if given the choice?
“Up front. They seem to be banging in goals for fun,” he says with a smile.
“I enjoy playing Midfield, outside the diamond… there are probably more thrilling positions than centre back… if there’s nowhere else for me to play I’ll stay there!
“I’m a footballer, growing up you want to play every game every week… I want to play.
“I’m used to it now, I guess. Some positions are more difficult than others due to the pure physicality of them.
“But I’m happy to do it and do the best job that I can, which has enabled me to play so many games over the years. I embrace it now.”
Broxham and his teammates travel to Gosford this Saturday night for an important match against the Mariners, wary that complacency could prove decisive.
“They were dangerous last week and unlucky, and they won the week before. They’ve got nothing to lose and can play with no stress.
“If we don’t perform at 100% we’ll make the game very difficult for us.”