Magpies senior womens and mens teams to soar high in 2023

Raymond Terrace Magpies’ 2022 premiership-winning C Grade team are chasing more honours in this year’s Newcastle Hunter Rugby League competition.

LUKE Handsaker is a name synonymous with Raymond Terrace rugby league.

The tireless player-official wears numerous hats and is a real driving force behind the famous Magpies Rugby League Football Club in the Port Stephens region.

Aftter leading the Magpies to a deserved C Grade premiership in the Newcastle Hunter District Rugby League competition last season, the accomplished half back will take over the reins as Club President in 2023.

An excited Handsaker told News Of The Area, “I have some big shoes to fill but believe the club is well placed again to challenge for senior mens and womens trophies this season.

“With Magpies legend Brooke Roach opting to take a well earned rest from his presidential duties and the club coaching coordinator role this year, the club has worked hard in the off season to maintain our player numbers,” revealed Luke.

Raymond Terrace Magpies will field six teams in 2023 – an A Grade Women’s tackle and C and D Grade Women’s League Tag along with sides in the B Grade Men’s, Northern Conference Open Men and Under 18.5s.

Handsaker piloted the Magpies to a C Grade trophy in 2022 as captain-coach – breaking an eight year premiership drought with an emphatic 30-12 Grand Final victory over Awabakal at Lakeside Oval.

Talented centre Rob Chaffey, props Zac Jones and Steve Soper, lock Jackson McIntyre, hooker Evander Waitoa, back rowers Taamo Charlie and Will Watters and prop Nick John will back up again this season as the Magpies push for B Grade honours.

All eight players represented the Newcastle Maitland Region Knights with distinction at last year’s NSW Country Rugby League Championships in Grafton.

The Magpies B Grade stocks will be bolstered by new recruits in prop Will Taano-Roi and centre Montel Kuru from Souths Newcastle and Fingal Bay prop Luke Fleming.

Handsaker will also hand over the coaching duties to experienced mentor James Ross.

The Magpies have also appointed Newcastle representative coach Russell Grigg – who guided NSW Country to a national women’s Championship title – to oversee the Women’s Tackle team in 2023.

With some 20 players involved in the Knights’ Tarsha Gale Cup and NSW Womens Premiership train-on squads and the possible availability of Jillaroos and NSW lock Talesha Quinn and star New Zealand World Cup fullback Shanice Parker, the Raymond Terrace Magpies shape as a force to be reckoned with.

By Chris KARAS

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