Champion fullback Will Dunn an inspiration for Nelson Bay Gropers

Outstanding Nelson Bay Gropers fullback Will Dunn has proved an asset for the Hunter Suburban Rugby premiers.

RUGBY is in the blood of premiership-winning Nelson Bay Gropers fullback Will Dunn.

Since bursting onto the Hunter Suburban Rugby scene last season, the power running custodian has set tongues wagging with his dynamic displays for the much-vaunted premiers.

Having spearheaded the Gropers to a Presidents Cup premiership title in his debut season with the club, the dashing Dunn has established himself as one of the competition’s major attacking weapons.

With twenty tries in twenty fixtures, the quicksilver back continues to make an impact on the Suburban Rugby scene with his explosive running, sure catching under pressure and turn of speed.

Dunn capped a memorable 2023 season when he helped Nelson Bay to Grand final glory and received the prestigious Cyril Burke Trophy at the Hunter Rugby Awards Night.

This award is voted on by the Hunter Rugby Referees Association for the best and fairest player in the Suburban competition.

It is named after the local NSW Waratahs and Australian Wallabies half back who collected the Anderson Medal on a record four occasions.

Will also shared the Gropers’ Best Back Award with mercurial five eighth Illisoni Vonomatairu.

At the age of 33 the fullback is nearing the end of his long playing career but still has the explosive speed and power to set the Groperdome alight and thrill the local home crowd with long range tries.

With his experience he is one of the leaders of the Gropers backline and is mentoring several of the young rookies who have joined the club in 2024.

Dunn grew up in Auckland and hails from good rugby stock.

His father represented the New Zealand province of Northland with distinction before Will moved to Sydney’s northern beaches at a young age.

Will represented the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the NSWRL S.G Ball Cup competition in 2008 before joining Newport Rugby club.

He figured prominently when the Breakers were declared joint Barraclough Cup champions with Brothers after finishing 13-all in the Grand Final.

Will’s final season at Newport was in 2022 when he was part of the club’s minor premiership-winning third grade side in the Blunt Cup.

Current Nelson Bay strapper Hugh Thompson – a former Manly Marlins prop and coach – was quick to recommend the talented Dunn to the Gropers when the Kiwi relocated to Port Stephens.

Nelson Bay coach Michael Wiringi told News Of The Area that the blockbusting fullback “has proved a valuable asset and genuine match winner for our club over the past eighteen months”.

“Will is a vital cog in our quest for back to back titles,” declared Wiringi.

The Gropers claimed a forfeit victory over Newcastle Griffins last weekend and will be chasing a sixth successive win this Saturday when they tackle Medowie Marauders in a local derby clash at Boyd Oval from 3pm.

By Chris KARAS

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