• David Mead of the Broncos celebrates scoring a try during the Round 11 match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos at the SCG in Sydney. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)Source: AAP Image/Joel Carrett
The 30-year-old from Kempsey starred for Brisbane in his first NRL match in more than 2500 days.
24 May 2021 - 11:37 AM  UPDATED 24 May 2021 - 11:48 AM

In the seven years Albert Kelly was away from the NRL he never lost his confidence, saying it's a halfback's dream to play behind the Brisbane pack.

His performance for the Broncos masterminded a stunning upset victory over Sydney Roosters on Saturday night that shocked many, but not Kelly.

The 30-year-old former Cronulla and Gold Coast half says you could have asked him in 2014 or today and he'd tell you the same thing.

"I know for a fact that I've still got it," he said.

"You could have asked me that seven years ago. It's a game, and I love playing it.

"When I debuted it was special but to come here after seven years and do it again, it was a very emotional week for myself and my family, so I'm just proud.

"I got the chance and took it with both hands. It's overwhelming really."

After leaving the Titans, Kelly started his journey in the Super League and found success with Hull KR and Hull FC.

However, at the start of this summer he was offered a train and trial deal with Brisbane and felt it was time to bring his family home.

"I've been playing over there overweight for the last year or two, I've come home and knew what was ahead of me, what I had to sacrifice and how much hard work I'd have to put in," he said.

"I did that, and I'm just really happy to be in this position at the moment."

Any opportunity, no matter how small, he was going to take it.

"The hunger was already there, it was just the opportunity. I never really had an opportunity. I made the call to come home," Kelly said.

"It wasn't even a big opportunity, it was a small one.

"I robbed my kids of their families so for them to come home and see their grandparents and cousins meant more to me than an opportunity. But I got both."

Putting polish on the ends of sets was all the Broncos needed from Kelly, who wants to keep playing first grade for Kevin Walters.

For Kelly there is no better job than playing behind a pack with Tevita Pangai Junior, Payne Haas and Matt Lodge.

"I get excited. Them breaking the line, popping the ball up. It's a dream job for a halfback," he said.

"If the engine is going through the middle it makes it easier on the outside backs.

"(All they've needed is) a little bit of direction, a confidence boost.

"I bring a different dimension to other halfbacks.

"I can see other players who might not be performing and I can tap into their confidence, and that's what I'm here for."

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