Singleton teens prepare for two grand finals
BY ALEX TIGANI
Many footballers can forge a successful career in their respective code without ever experiencing the emotions of playing in a grand final.
Fortunately, that is not the case for a local quartet this week.
Singleton teenagers Nathan Vaughan, Rory Barry, Max Stone and Ryan Jurkans will travel to Newcastle to represent their town in two grand finals this Saturday.
At 10:30am the crowd will roar at Mount View Park for the start of their under-16 rugby league grand final as the Daniel Higgins’ coached Singleton Greyhounds against the Scone Thoroughbreds.
Regardless of the result, the fab four will then make their way to Townson Oval to represent the Singleton Bulls, under coach Tommy Kotzur, against Nelson Bay in the Hunter Central Coast Rugby under-16 season decider.
Jurkans will be the eldest of the group by 58 days over Vaughan while a premiership medal or two may come as an early birthday present for Barry or Stone who both turn 16 in the coming weeks.
They met up with the Hunter River Times‘ sports editor Alex Tigani earlier this week to answer some grand final week questions.
Alex Tigani: Before we discuss the grand finals, what positions do you all play?
Nathan Vaughan: Union I play Five Eight, League Centre.
Ryan Jurkans: For League second row and for Union fullback.
Rory Barry: League front row, Union flanker.
Max Stone: Centre – Union and Wing – League.
AT: You start this Saturday at Mount View Park. What was your highlight for the Greyhounds in season 2022?
NV: My highlight with the Singleton Greyhounds this year was winning in golden point to Cessnock (winners of minor premiership) in the semi-final 20-16.
RJ and MS: Winning the Semi Finals last weekend and making it to the grand final
RB: My highlight for the year has to be coming from last and losing every week to making the grand final and becoming one of the top teams in the comp and also playing with my mates.
AT: What can you tell us about the Scone Thoroughbreds?
NV: Scone placed 2nd in the minor premiership and have previously beaten us twice this year.
RJ: I play with most of them in Group 21 representative, good team and good blokes.
RB: Scone is a tough team. They have a really good pack as well as a good backline with a lot of talent.
MS: They are a good, strong confident side and will definitely come in as favourites but I know we work well as a team.
AT: What would a rugby league premiership mean to each of you?
NV:If we were to win the premiership it would go down in history as we would be the first singleton rugby league team to win a Newcastle Division 1 Premiership and it would be pretty big accomplishment as this is my first year of league.
RJ: It means everything to me.
RB: Winning a premiership with this team would be an incredible experience and would mean the world to me.
MS: It would mean a lot and I know how much it would mean to the club.
AT: You will then swap the red and white for the red and black. What can you tell us about your rugby union opponent?
NV: Our opposition (Nelson Bay Gropers) have previously beaten us twice this year both times by one try and are our biggest rivals.
RJ: They are a good team, they play hard and fast.
RB: Nelson Bay is a well-structured side, they have been the top teams for years now but I’m positive we can get over them with the side we have put together this year.
MS: They are a strong team that are always our main competitors that is made up of many rep players.
AT: They sound like a tough opponent. What would it mean to defeat them for a premiership double this Saturday?
NV: To win the Union premiership would be a very big accomplishment as every year we have fallen short to Nelson Bay in semi-finals or Grand finals, this will be our first major premiership.
RJ: It means a lot to me as I have enjoyed union as well as league.
RB: It would be definitely an experience to be able to bring home a grand final for league as well as union.
MS: It would mean a lot to beat Nelson Bay as we have been runners up against them previously in the grand finals.
AT: Now, each of you can give me a head start on my Saturday night at the sportsdesk. If you win both, what should our newspaper’s headline be?
NV: Twice in a Life Time.
RJ: Paint the Town Red, 2 grand finals and 2 wins.
RB: Double header, 2 in the bed.
MS: Every Dog and Bull has their day.