AT 25 years of age, returning Orange Hawks forward Kurt McNamara is pretty confident he won’t be the oldest player on the field when the two blues tackle Bathurst St Pat’s at Wade Park tomorrow afternoon - far from it.
But there’s one thing working against McNamara and that argument.
“The boys reckon you know you’re getting old when you get stuck in the frontrow,” McNamara laughed after being named to play prop in Tim Mortimer’s Hawks side for the round eight Group 10 clash with the Saints.
“The body aches every Monday that’s for sure.”
McNamara’s leap forward in the scrum has been a forced transition of sorts for the two blues after Group 10 representative Arty Shead’s injured calf muscle has plagued the hulking forward’s beginning to the season.
It’s an absence that’s left Hawks lacking a great deal of size up front.
Back in Hawks colours for the first time since 2007, McNamara is now leading, alongside fellow bookend Chris Anau, what can only be classed as the smallest pack in Group 10 in 2014.
And last weekend playing small worked a treat.
Faced by a giant Workies pack in Lithgow, Mortimer’s Hawks used fitness and speed to excel in a dominant 30-16 win, the club’s first taste of success in premier league this year.
“It was great to get the monkey off the back,” McNamara said.
“We just kept hanging in their, I suppose. Every game we’ve lost we’re only just missing out. Fitness and injuries have hurt us, but everyone dug right in.”
The former backrower said he’s enjoying his time back at Hawks, with a stint playing rugby with Orange City in the Blowes Clothing Cup in 2010 his last full-time foray onto the footy field.
“My main reason for leaving was I started my own building company and was always worried about getting injured and missing out on work,” he said.
“I’ve got a few boys working for me now so I thought I’d come out of retirement and test my luck.”
Led by McNamara and Anau, Mortimer was hoping his forwards again stand tall against St Pat’s tomorrow.
“We really stood up against Workies,” Mortimer said. “We dug in and the effort early on created space for us later in the game.
“We’ve just got to try and get up in their face and cut off their time with the ball. Most of our starting pack played at least 70 minutes last weekend, so they’re a fit bunch of boys.”
Hawks play St Pat’s from 2.10pm tomorrow at Wade Park.
ORANGE HAWKS: 1 Joe Lasagavibau, 2 Alofi Mataele, 3 Brock McGarity, 4 Jared Brodrick, 5 Justin Howarth, 6 Tim Mortimer, 7 Keegan Harding, 8 Chris Anau, 9 Mitch Hurford, 10 Kurt McNamara, 11 Kyle Byrnes, 12 Lawrence Fogg, 13 Travis Bubb.