FOR Adam Edwards, rugby has not only been a lifelong passion but a pathway to realising some of his most cherished dreams.
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From boarding a plane in the Shaky Isles bound for Australia in 2007 as an 18 year old the versatile backrower rolled the dice for a chance to don the Gropers jersey in rugby paradise.
Edwards quickly rose through the lower ranks to the top grade at the Nelson Bay Rugby Club where he made his mark as a powerhouse on the ball.
“Those early days playing with the likes of Richie Gamble, Adam ‘Woody’ Wood and Grant ‘Goonie’ Vincent really developed my playing style,” said Edwards.
“Watching Woody and Goonie attack the breakdown inspired me to really work on that area of my game.”
Edwards took the helm as player-coach in 2017 and 2019 and was a part of the 2018 team that almost got to the last dance after years out of finals contention in the Newcastle & Hunter Rugby Union ( NHRU).
Now, after lining up for the Newcastle & Hunter Wildfires in their 22-15 victory over Illawarra in the Steel City Challenge, Edwards is keen to settle into his senior playing role and enjoy his time on the pitch.
“It’s an old cliche but I’m really enjoying whatever opportunities are coming my way with rugby,” said Edwards.
“It’s been an amazing rep season with the Wildfires and something I haven’t experienced for almost 17 years now.
“Lining up with some great players from all the other NHRU clubs is really an honour.”
Through all his achievements Edwards puts one milestone ahead of the rest and that’s settling with his young family on the Tomaree Peninsula.
“I’ve had a magic time playing rugby in and around Port Stephens but the best thing that’s happened through it all is getting to raise our son Noah here with my partner Kailee,” said Edwards.
“It’s a really special place, almost as good as Wanganui!”
The Nelson Bay Gropers kick-start their 2020 season against Singleton at Rugby Park on Saturday, 28 March.
By Mitch LEES