Greyhounds’ coach is itching to play

BY ALEX TIGANI

Could the first-grade inclusion of Singleton Greyhounds coach Jake Hawkins go down as one of the longest awaited debuts in history?

The former Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks star he is still yet to play in an official match for the Greyhounds ten months after he was unveiled as the club’s playing coach.

Admittedly, he did lead the charge for the Greyhounds in the Hunter Valley Nines tournament held at Kurri Kurri in February.

He also impressed onlookers in a trial match against Gunnedah the following month.

Now, he will finally have his chance when the Singleton Greyhounds playoff in the Newcastle and Hunter Community Rugby League on Saturday, July 18.

As predicted in the first edition of The Hunter River Times, the Greyhounds successfully nominated four teams for the revised Newcastle competition following the cancellation of Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 on Sunday, June 14.

Hawkins was relieved to hear the news.

“We found out last week before training that we had been accepted and the season was going ahead,” Hawkins proudly declared.

“I was relieved but (at the same time) stayed a little conservative as it’s been a hell of a ride the past few months.”

Singleton Greyhounds president Brad Schultz has confirmed his first-grade side will play off in the revamped league’s Division A tier.

The club’s second grade side, led by Jay Ferrie who takes the role over from his brother Alex, will participate in Division C.

The Greyhounds women’s league tag line-up will also be competing in the Newcastle competition as will the club’s under-18 side coached by Dan Higgins.

Singleton Greyhounds president Brad Schultz makes a phone call to Newcastle and Hunter Community Rugby League officials.

Last year Singleton celebrated an impressive 44-10 under-18 Group 21 grand final victory over archrival Aberdeen.

Surprisingly, the Tigers will not be participating in the revamped Newcastle league.

The Greyhounds will instead be joined by the Greta Branxton Colts and Denman Devils in the under-18 format.

“I’ve just told the boys that we have a chance to pull the boots on and play footy again,” Hawkins added.

“We needed to train hard and make the most of it.

“I’ve told them to be excited and enjoy the opportunity and that’s been our attitude going into Round 1 across all grades.”

The club hopes to see the final fixture across all draws in the coming days.

Speculation also remains over how many of the Singleton Greyhounds new recruits will appear in Hawkins’ starting line-up on July 18.

“You never know what I have up my sleeve,” he playfully concluded.

“You just never know.”

The Greta Branxton Colts have also signed two men’s teams and a women’s league tag side for the league with the grand final date set for October 24.