Kit man to captain: Broxham’s Victorious rise

It may seem easy to stay at a club like Melbourne Victory that regularly challenges for silverware, but Leigh Broxham has had to work very hard to get to 200 Hyundai A-League matches.

The versatile 28-year-old first joined the Big V as a kit man, before earning a playing contract and making his debut late in the 2006-07 campaign. 

He eventually played in Victory’s 6-0 grand final demolition of Adelaide United.

An attacking midfielder in his youth, Broxham has progressively moved further back on the pitch throughout his career. 

While it is arguably only since Kevin Muscat became coach that the ex-Knox City junior has been granted a consistent spot in Victory’s first-team squad.

Broxham is set to make his 200th appearance for Victory against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night, and with Carl Valeri out with illness, he will lead the club as captain.

Leigh Broxham celebrates scoring against Sydney FC in last season's Grand Final.

Muscat reckons Broxham’s story should be an inspiration to all young footballers.

“He’s certainly a talented footballer but he’s had to nearly every season come back in and prove to different coaches that he’s got good qualities, and he’s had to do that on maybe three or four occasions,” Victory’s coach said on Friday.

“The fact that he finds himself so well respected around the football club and a good performer now, he’s earned everything that he’s got so far in his career and he’s by no stretch of the imagination finished also.

“That’s just the type of character he is – those challenges, to be able to get up and prove himself again has made him what he is.”

Broxham was less effusive when asked about the effort he has put in to reach a double-century of A-League games.

“Yeah, I’ve had to work hard at everything I’ve done over my career but that being said, there’s a lot of people in my situation and a lot of people have some sort of story how they started,” he told reporters this week.

“Yeah, it’s been difficult at times but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far and I think it’ll be something I look back on when I’m finished. 

“But for the time being, I’m just happy with how things are going and look back at it later on.”

Melbourne Victory's Leigh Broxham celebrates scoring against Adelaide United.

Only Archie Thompson (217) has played more A-League games for Victory than Broxham. 

With the veteran striker likely to retire sooner rather than later, Broxham should become Victory’s games record holder by the end of his career if he remains a one-club man.

In fact, Broxham reckons he could play 300 matches, which would take him well past former Central Coast Mariners midfielder John Hutchinson (228) for the most games played for one A-League club.

But while two grand final wins, a Westfield FFA Cup triumph and three Hyundai A-League premierships have been highlights of Broxham’s career, he insists the pressure at Victory has ensured he’s never been afforded the luxury of slacking off.

“Every game we play every week is a big game, it’s a massive game, and sometimes you can say ‘you’ve got a big crowd, it’s easy to play’ but it’s challenging every week,” he said.

“Every team comes to Melbourne and they want to beat you, and it’s been the same the whole time I’ve been here.

“It’s difficult playing for the club sometimes but that being said, they give us the best of everything available in Australia and the people are great. I’ve met some lifelong friends here.”

Ben Kantarovski fights for the ball with Victory midfielder Leigh Broxham.

When asked what the highlights of his 10-year career have been so far, Broxham turns straight to last season’s 3-0 triumph over Sydney FC to help Victory to their third A-League championship.

“Scoring in a grand final was pretty special and, you know, winning a grand final in my first year – things like that… they’re all highlights and winning the FFA Cup this year was pretty special as well,” he said.

“So, yeah, there’s a lot of highlights in there and hopefully there’s some room for some more.”