Strong partnership grows in Singleton Greyhounds' leadership group

SINGLETON DUO: Greyhounds legend Luke Gardner and new coach Jake Hawkins can't wait to play their first official Group 21 match together.
SINGLETON DUO: Greyhounds legend Luke Gardner and new coach Jake Hawkins can't wait to play their first official Group 21 match together.

It has been ten days since our region's local rugby league talents were informed that their beloved game would be left on hold during to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Sadly, this is only the start.

This means the wait will continue before welcome back Greta Branxton and Muswellbrook to the Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 competition.

It means we will have to wait a further while before we witness Singleton duo James Bradley and Ethan Edwards make their Newcastle RL first grade debuts.

And, devastatingly, it means we will have to wait just that little bit longer before we enjoy another Sunday afternoon of action at Pirtek Park.

Incoming Singleton Greyhounds first grade coach Jake Hawkins was able squeeze in a trial match against Gunnedah last week before his group dispersed three days later.

THE MENTOR: Jake Hawkins instructs his men at training earlier this month.

THE MENTOR: Jake Hawkins instructs his men at training earlier this month.

The match marked a personal reunion for the playing coach who unleased new recruits Michael Skelly and John Douglass; two of his former Lakes United teammates the trial.

More importantly, it also strengthened his new relationship with club legend Luke Gardner.

"I consider him a very close mate now and I feel very honoured to be playing at this club alongside him," Hawkins told the Singleton Argus.

"He has a beautiful family in wife Leigha and kids Lachie and Will and he isn't just a great club man but a better father and husband."

Gardner has played a total 173 first grade games for the club of which 67 were as captain.

HEROES WELCOME: Luke Gardner pictured after guiding his side to glory on past players day in July, 2019.

HEROES WELCOME: Luke Gardner pictured after guiding his side to glory on past players day in July, 2019.

The latter could have even been higher if not for the years where the side already had a playing captain coach.

He is also one of the few to have collected four first grade premierships with the same club.

Need we mention his selection in the recent club's 70-year anniversary team?

Despite holding such an impressive resume, Hawkins believes Gardner doesn't get the credit he deserves for these achievements.

"His (Gardner) qualities and values rub off on a lot of people and more so our junior players at the club," Hawkins concluded.

"A lot of players vote him as their favourite player at the club.

ALMOST: Luke Gardner pictured attempting a late try in his side's 84-0 first grade win over Denman.

ALMOST: Luke Gardner pictured attempting a late try in his side's 84-0 first grade win over Denman.

"Obviously it all started with Gary Gardner at the club and he also is a legend around here.

"But it's so good to see Luke write his own story and put himself alongside his old man as a fellow legend."