Why 2022 was a success for our region
BY ALEX TIGANI
Imagine being a rugby league fan in the early 1980s?
The Eels and the Bulldogs are dominating forces while NSWRL clubs prepare to welcome Canberra, Newcastle and Brisbane to the fold while at local level Muswellbrook and Aberdeen are closing in on Group 21 forces Werris Creek, Quirrindi and Scone.
Now imagine you are transported four decades ahead to the year 2022 and you ask about rugby league in the Upper Hunter.
Well, we would have to declare the year a success. Here is why.
The year started when a 31-year-old from Martindale was finally granted an opportunity at topflight, scoring a memorable try for the Newcastle Knights.
The Knights also came within a whisker of claiming an under-18 crown against the Roosters at the new Parramatta Stadium in April.
This side was captained by a Muswellbrook Ram and featured a fierce Singleton duo.
Some of these Upper Hunter teenagers go on to play for the NSW Country under-19 side. One went on to achieve Origin glory on a chilly Thursday night in June at Leichhardt Oval.
Then there was a 28-year-old Scone Grammar teacher that claimed the ultimate.
Two topflight grand final wins (one for the Roosters in Brisbane and one for Newcastle in Sydney), an Origin victory in Canberra and a World Cup victory for Australia in England.
It is at this point where I would like to proudly point out that these feats were all achieved by women from the Upper Hunter.