Hooker hopes for more scrums

HE’s packed his head into more scrums than he cares to remember, but Gunnedah hooker Matt Hannay is hoping he gets a few more chances to do that after tomorrow.

Josh Leys in action against Pirates last Saturday. He joins Matt Hannay in tomorrow's Tier 1 minor semi against Moree Bulls at Moree. Photo: courtesy Sarah Hickey.

Josh Leys in action against Pirates last Saturday. He joins Matt Hannay in tomorrow's Tier 1 minor semi against Moree Bulls at Moree. Photo: courtesy Sarah Hickey.

He’d love to play in a grand final with the Red Devils.

The first step to getting there is toppling defending premiers Moree.

They have already done that this season, and at Moree too, but tomorrow is going to be a different proposition.

It’s a minor semifinal and the end of the season  for one of them.

Hannay has been involved in his share of big games over his almost 350 first grade game career, and is one of a handful remaining from the side that played in the finals two years ago.

Captain Dave Heyman, Josh Leys, Matt Roseby, Lincoln Stewart and Peter Henderson were also there then.

There were more at the start of the season but they’ve been lost to injury.

Hannay said he would struggle to find similarities between the two sides other than a good balance of experience and youth.

They’re playing a very different style now to then.

Now is very forward orientated.

They’ve got a big pack and really use that as a weapon.

“Our set piece is arguably the best in the competition,” Hannay said.

“Our scrum and lineout has been fairly dominant against most teams.”

They certainly were against Pirates on Saturday.

It was their first win since their upset over the Bulls five weeks ago, and will be a massive lift for their confidence, Hannay said, especially for the young guys.

They’ve had to blood a lot over the course of the season due to injuries.

The backrow stocks particularly have been hit hard.

So much so that Hannay has found himself attaching to the side of the scrum, rather than front and centre, the last couple of games.

He hadn’t played there since high school but has enjoyed it, and has been jokingly telling co-coach Tim Walsh he’s a breakaway.

That said, he’s not expecting to be wearing six in too many more games.

“I’d say that’ll be my last,” he said.

The move there was a bit of a surprise. “Most of the boys thought it was a gee up and so did I,” Hannay said.

Funnily enough, knowing how stretched they were, he had been joking about it.

Hannay doesn’t know if this season will be his last.

He is what some might call a perennial retiree.

“I’ve retired about three times,” Hannay said.

But then the off-season comes and his body recovers, and he starts training again and the rugby bug bites him once more.

They faced the Bulls only a couple of weeks and know what they have to do.

“We didn’t play our game last week,” Hannay said.

We got caught trying to play a running game with them. That doesn’t suit us.

“The first time we went up there we played our game,” he said.

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