Jake Hawkins will tackle multiple jobs with the Greater Northern Tigers on Saturday.
The Singleton Greyhounds captain-coach is a member of Brad McManus’ squad, which faces Newcastle in a trial game at Dudley on 13 February.
The Mick Schmiedel-mentored Tigress women kick off their hit-out against the same opposition from 2.30pm while Hawkins and his fellow Tigers start at 3.45pm.
However, his dilemma is that he’s also an assistant coach for Darryl Rando and his under-18 Greater Northern Tigers.
Those boys meet Central Coast in a second round Laurie Daley Cup clash at Morry Breen Oval, Wyong, at about 12.20pm.
The Brett Jarrett-coached Greater Northern under-16s play their Andrew Johns Cup showdown at Wyong, too, at 11am.
Hawkins is resigned to the fact he won’t have enough time to help the under-18s overcome a tough opponent and then scamper to Dudley.
It’s just another point in a rousing rugby league pastime for a young bloke from Manilla, who attended Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School and then played for “both Wests and Norths in Tamworth” before trying to find his way to successful career in the NRL.
“I played first grade at Wests when I was 17,” he recalled.
“Then I went to Melbourne and had three years with the Storm.
“We won the under-20s when I was there and I did make the first grade squad.”
From there he went to the Cronulla Sharks for the 2012-13 seasons before heading further south and three years with Dapto (in the Wollongong competition).
“We won a comp in 15 or 16,” he said of his experience in the ‘Gong.
Aster that he headed north to Port Macquarie and captain-coached the Port Sharks to a premiership in 2018.
Now 30, he calls Singleton home.
He was to have captain-coached the Greyhounds in Group 21 last year but the pandemic took care of that.
“I’ve been lucky,” he grinned recalling his various placements, successes and dead ends.
“But, I’m looking forward to this,” he added, nodding towards Tigers coach McManus and his assistant Richard Ingram.
“Great they have opened it up (changing the Country Championships from under-23 to all age).
“It’s good for blokes like us.
“We’re still good enough to play rep footy.
“The 23s was a good idea at the time but it’s great to have it (Country Championships) back to open.
“And, good to play with a few blokes again.”
He is also keen to a season ramrodding the Greyhounds.
“We’ve had pretty good numbers at training,” he said.
“I don’t know how we’ll go until we start playing.
“I think everyone is in the same boat after the pandemic.”
- by Geoff Newling