Nelson Bay workhorse Lewis Affleck a standout as Gropers sink Medowie in local derby

Experienced Nelson Bay utility half Danny Murphy is chaired from the field by former Medowie Marauders team mates Eric Tolhurst and Sam Ellul after the Gropers 32-0 Suburban Rugby triumph in his final appearance at Boyd Oval.

NELSON Bay Rugby’s unsung hero Lewis Affleck has hit a purple patch of form in the Gropers’ 2024 Hunter Suburban premiership campaign.

After a twelve month sabbatical the underrated lock forward has returned to the premiers with a new zest of life and a lead-by-example motto.

The teak-tough Affleck has lived up to his reputation as a fearless warrior in the Nelson Bay ‘engine room’ with tireless performances for the Gropers this season.

He is the son of stalwart Gropers centre Dave Affleck and the younger brother of second rower Mitch Affleck.

Following the loss of key forwards Isaac Laracy, skipper Hamish Bartlett and Jordan Byfield, the super fit number eight has stepped up to become one of the competition’s most respected figures.

Lion hearted with a massive work rate, Lewis remains a vital cog in the Gropers’ quest for back to back titles.

His tenacious defence and powerful running has been a feature of Nelson Bay’s winning streak with the twenty-year-old tyro leading the way.

“It is great to be back playing rugby with the Gropers and sharing some memorable moments with my teammates,” an excited Lewis told News Of The Area.

“We are gaining momentum in the lead up to the finals and I’m enjoying my role as a forward leader.” he stated.

It has been a meteoric rise for young Affleck who caught the eye of club officials with strong performances for the Nelson Bay Premier Three and Under 18 rugby teams in 2022.

Last Saturday he was best on ground in the Gropers’ 32-0 victory over Medowie Marauders at Boyd Oval along with flanker Sam Rocher, fullback Will Dunn, centre Michael Hotene and industrious forward Mitch Workman.

For club stalwart and ex-Marauder Danny Murphy it was a farewell appearance at Boyd Oval before retirement with former teammates in Medowie prop and skipper Eric Tolhurst and number eight Sam Ellul chairing the wily utility half from the field at full time.

The mercurial Dunn capped a top display by scoring two of the Gropers’ six tries in the muddy conditions.

Classy halves Illisoni Vonomatairatu and Khace Petera, Khai Poulsen and Hotene also grabbed five pointers with rookie half Jake Langsford kicking the lone conversion.

Nelson Bay’s seventh successive win lifts the club into second spot on the ladder on 37 points behind competition leaders Singleton Red Bulls (40) and was an ideal tune up for this Saturday’s match of the round against the undefeated Cooks Hill Brown Snakes at Empire Park in Bar Beach from 3pm.

The premiers are keen to avenge their 19-17 first round loss to the Brown Snakes, who have pushed their title claims under the guidance of clever hooker and skipper Nick Niven, talented goalkicking centre Cameron Logan and former Gropers utility Jake Alexander.

By Chris KARAS

Nelson Bay forward Liam Keating charges through the Medowie defence with team mate Lewis Affleck in support during the Gropers’ 32-0 rugby triumph at Boyd Oval.

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