Despite being his first foray into sevens, Orange Emus centre Aidan Baker made a huge impression at the Singapore Cricket Club International Sevens (SCCs) last week, so much so he’s already locked in to don East Arnhem colours again.
Baker was superb out wide in his debut tournament as East Arnhem – made up predominantly of Northern Territory stars – claimed the Bowl, defeating Singapore Barbarians 26-24 in a thrilling final.
“It was the most amazing experience and being able to win some silverware was pretty cool too, everyone really embraced the occasion. It was just a massive celebration of the sport basically,” Baker said, the 2017 edition was the tournament’s 70th anniversary.
“But being able to play against some of the best in Australia, and the world, was just huge. Our first game was my first game of sevens, so it wasn’t a bad introduction to sevens.
“I worked into it a bit, but after I found my feet I was really happy with the way I played and the coach was too. He’s spoken to me about playing for East Arnhem again, which I’m really looking forward to.”
East Arnhem kicked off with a victory over the Barbarians (33-13), but dropped it’s other two pool C fixtures against Tamariva (22-17) and fellow NT-based side Casuarina (43-7) to fall into the consolation play-offs.
Baker and his troops fell in a hard-fought Plate semi-final, going down to Cottesloe 22-14, before edging out the Barbarians again in the Bowl final.
“We did drop a couple against some good sides, but we hit our straps again in the Bowl final which was good timing,” Baker said.
Baker, who was considered supremely unlucky to miss out on a NSW County Colts gig earlier this year, has his eyes on the bigger picture too.
He’ll be in his second season with Emus in 2018, and said he’ll bring everything he learned on the international scene back to the greens.
Although he’s still eligible for colts, Baker had a taste of Blowes Clothing Cup grade rugby in 2017 and is expected to potentially push for a first or second grade spot, full-time, next season.
It was the most amazing experience ... not a bad introduction to sevens.Aidan Baker
“The coaches gave me a bit of a leadership role in colts with Emus at the back end of last season, and I’ll try to take that on again next year,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to next year with Emus, more so now. I’ll bring a lot of the stuff I learned in Singapore back to the club, particularly a few ideas about how to bring the guys closer together.”
The French Development Team ended up winning the SCCs main prize, beating Devata 24-21 in the Cup final, while Casuarina beat the Swedish Vikings 21-19 in the Shield final.
In the Plate decider, Cottesloe prevailed over Singapore Cricket Club 19-14.