The Singleton Junior Greyhounds’ newest tradition continued on Saturday night when they officially farewelled the 2017 U16s division one side during a memorable dinner. It the second year the club has organised such an occasion where each player is presented with their jersey. This is a significant gesture as it marks the end of their junior league journey. They must now join the senior ranks if they wish to continue playing what they no doubt consider the greatest game of all. Over 100 guests filled the Diggers function room to wish the lads well in their future endeavours. This included two guest speakers: former Greyhound and current NRL player, Bulldog Kerrod Holland, and legend Ricky Walford, who is now a CRL Indigenous Programs Manager. With Holland painting a picture of what it is like to play at the highest level and confirming he will continue to play with Canterbury in 2018.
Club secretary Jackie Townsend says he impressed on the boys what it takes to get to the top – “you need to keep working at it”. Something the talented back knows quite a lot about after taking the long way around when it came to cracking a spot in the top grade. However, this was not because of a lack of talent rather his decision early on while playing SG Ball with the Newcastle Knights as a 16-year-old to concentrate on completing his electrical apprenticeship. Then, as a 20-year-old he decided it was time to get more out of himself. So he did the hard work and enjoyed a meteoric rise. From the Greyhounds to premierships with the Cessnock Goannas and Knights NSW Cup team and then finally, the meeting with Bulldogs coach Des Hasler that changed everything. As a 23-year-old in 2015, he became a professional full-time footballer. Pictured: (back) Ricky Walford, Isaac Martin, Michael West, Joseph Ragh, George Reid, Kobe Davies, Tytan Lord, Cooper Stair, Blake O’Dell, Aidan Partridge-Smith, Cayden Oldham, Bowen Burley, Corey Oldham - trainer, Coach Ben Deaves, (front) Trainer Nathan Smith, Cooper Toshack, Josh Johnson, Jake Domek, Lachlan Townsend, Blake Trees, Tom Caita-Mandra, Trainer Darryl Smailles, Brendon Chalker, Jackson Hamson, Kerrod Holland.