Nelson Bay Gropers extend winning streak in Hunter Suburban Rugby series

Rookie Nelson Bay half back Jake Langsford starred in the Gropers’ decisive 41-7 win over Muswellbrook Heelers last Saturday.

REIGNING Hunter Rugby Suburban men’s champions Nelson Bay have an embarrassment of half back riches for their 2024 campaign.

The Gropers unveiled their latest play maker in skilful colt Jake Langsford during the club’s emphatic 41-7 victory over Muswellbrook Heelers last Saturday at Highbrook Park.

Twenty-two-year old Langsford is the latest rookie to don the Gropers’ number nine jumper and produced a masterclass performance in his run on debut.

He joins fellow Nelson Bay young guns Jack Ballard and Khace Petera that have made an impact in the half back role this season.

The Gropers also have the flamboyant Ilisoni Vonomatairatu and stalwart half Danny Murphy on their books.

Langsford, along with powerful flanker Ronan O’Connell and centre Danny Arnfield, turned in top displays as the Gropers continued their purple patch of winning form to move into second spot on the President’s Cup ladder.

A revamped Nelson Bay line up – missing several key players – had too many big guns for the Heelers with the crafty Petera, winger Will Brown, tireless forwards Sam Rocher and skipper Hamish Bartlett, wily hooker Ross Buchan and young fullback Tyler Blue also producing strong games for the premiers.

Michael Wiringi’s charges posted seven tries to secure a fifth consecutive triumph after seven rounds and close the gap on pace setters Singleton Red Bulls.

Nelson Bay (27 points) trail the Red Bulls (29), who were rolled by Cooks Hill Brown Snakes 26-19 at Allan Bull Reserve.

O’Connell (2), Langsford, Brown, Buchan, Petera and forward Jordan Byfield crossed for tries as the Gropers extended their winning streak.

“We rested a few players and blooded several of our promising colts who made an impact,” coach Wiringi told News Of The Area.

“There were encouraging signs moving forward with impressive performances across the park and our talented rookies pressing their claims for selection in the run-on side for the big clashes coming up,” he stated.

The evergreen Buchan was at his cagey best as the Gropers established a 24-0 lead at the break – spinning a clever pass to create the opening try for rugby league convert Brown before fooling the Muswellbrook defence with a neat dummy and turn of speed to dash twenty metres and score a spectacular five pointer.

With gun fullback Will Dunn unavailable, the capable Tyler Blue proved a handy replacement with his sure catching under pressure and attacking skills a feature.

In the versatile Arnfield the Gropers have a centre trump card who led the way in the back division with tackle-busting runs and rugged defence.

Nelson Bay will rush back their big guns for this Saturday’s top-of-the-table tilt with Singleton Red Bulls at Bill Strong Oval at 3pm.

By Chris KARAS

Stalwart hooker Ross Buchan bursts through to score one of the Gropers’ seven tries in the big win over Muswellbrook with winger Will Brown and prop Nathan McLeay in support.

Leave a Reply