HAY MAGPIES TRAINING - ALL GRADES
EVERY WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY
HAY PARK OVAL
pictured - left Craig Millan and John Weymouth at the Magpies Presentation Night 2012 - photo Christine Huntly.
by Peter (Parra) Montgomery
Hay Magpie fans and players appreciate the players who go about their business quietly and without fanfare.
The Club has had many such players in its ranks over the years - such as Patrick Bunyan, John Rosewarne, Laurie Edwards, Lionel (Keno) Garner in the 80s and 90s, and players such as Tuck McLean, Matty Price, Craig Millan, Jake Whitehead of this modern era.
They are good examples of blokes who train hard, play hard, without cutting corners and complaining at every opportunity.
Another thing they didn't do, was tell everyone how good they were. They let their actions at training and in the games, do 'their talking'.
They just 'get on with it' and their value to a team is immeasurable. Every Club relies on having this type of player in its ranks.
The type of player coaches refer to as their most valuable. The blokes who do the little things right. The 1% plays as they are referred to in AFL circles.
In League, it comes down to making sure you don't concede cheap penalties, you don't make cheap handling errors, and you don't miss tackles.
If you do concede possession through a dropped pass, you have to make sure you dive on the loose ball. If you make a tackle, you have to try and make another straight away.
You have to communicate with your team mates, and you have to have total confidence in them, and their ability. You have to want to play alongside them, rather than against them
They are players team mates could an can rely on. Players the team know will always turn up 'ready to play'. Know their ability and play to it..
Former Magpie coach John (Bozo) Curtis had a good 'eye' in spotting unfashionable players and turning them into valuable assets to his team.
Champion sides, without many star players.
Battlers, blue collar workers, blokes who were prepared to roll up their sleeves for each other. Blokes who would walk over hot coals for their coach.
Who could ever forget the memorable efforts of the Brett Mitchell, and Steve (The Phantom) Walker in a couple of Reserve Grade Grand Final wins in the old Group 17 in the mid eighties under Bozo.
John's teams became tight knit units, willing to make sacrifices for the good of the side. They trained hard, they played hard, and they never 'overplayed their hand".
They knew what it took to win, and they weren't afraid to grind out a win with persistence. To use an old quote -"They paralysed the resistance with persistence".
Pat Bunyan, John Rosewarne, Keno Garner, Laurie Edwards, Matty Price, Tuck McLean and Craig Millan had a common thread in their game that made them valuable players - they were non stop workers.
Packy Bunyan was tough as teak. A player whom most of his former team mates rate as the toughest of them all. He wasn't tough by jobbing blokes on the paddock, or by flouting his toughness for all to see.
He was tough by letting opponents 'feel his toughness', whether it was in a charging run or a front on hit in defence.
One memory of Packy Bunyan's toughness that comes to mind is the week before the 1982 Grand Final with the Magpies under coach Kevin Goldspink.
Goldy called for a full dress rehearsal of the match the Saturday before the Grand Final the following week.
It just so happened that the Saturday was the same day as the funeral and 'wake' for former Booligal icon, Kevin (Sport) Spiers.
The Booligal community is very tight knit, and Packy being a Booligal-ite, attended the wake to give his old mate a good send off.
He lobbed at training with a 'belly full' of grog - three parts pissed - much to the displeasure of Goldy.
Kevin told him that just because it was a Grand Final, he was not assured of a place in the team, and that 'if he did not fully complete the run, he (Pat) was out of the team'.
That afternoon, Pat displayed the sort of spirit and commitment the players and coach were looking for. He led the laps, did all the warm up exercises, and completed all the set plays.
Admittedly, he did have a few throws of the voice, and plenty of fluid replacement during the run, but he satisfied the coach and players he was worthy of his spot.
The 2013 Magpies have their own version of a Patty Bunyan in centre John Weymouth.
John has been a terrific asset to the Club since returning to Hay at the start of the 2011 season.
He played State football for South Australia with the Tigers, playing in the SARFL.
John is the son of Phil Weymouth, another product of the John Curtis Magpie 'coaching' regime.
Phil was a great defensive player who racked up huge numbers on the "D" side of his stat sheets during matches.
John's mother is Sharon (nee Bissett) with the strong sporting blue-blood of the "Curtis" clan running through her veins.
The "Curtis" bloodline has produced many champions for the Magpies Rugby League Club - including Neil John Nisbet, the current coach, the Woods boys, the Scotts, the Payne's, the Bissett's, the Curtis boys, the Thompson's, the Rosewarnes', the Edwards boys, you name the 'goodun's' who have worn the Black and White and you will find a Curtis connection somewhere along the line.
John Weymouth is a 'hard man'; a bloke who, defies his physical size, and hits like a hammer in defence. He has a great tackling technique, and the toughness to go with it.
He played his first game for the Magpies in Reserve Grade against Leeton in the opening of the 2011 season - but hasn't played anywhere but first grade since.
He was named the Club's Rookie of the Year, collecting the prestigious Cass Hanna Memorial Shield for his efforts.
John started the 2012 season in fine form, only to have it 'cut short' following an accident on a motor bike that left him with severe facial fractures and deep cuts to his head.
He missed almost the second half of the season, and the team missed his enthusiasm, skills and punishing defence.
He has been in full training since November, and the coaches are delighted to have him back.
Co-coach Neil John Nisbet is delighted to have him running in the squad.
"John doesn't do things by half measures. He is hard as a rock, and plays his games the same way as he trains. Full-on.
"I have several positions in mind for John this season. I had thought of him as a No 9, but we are well off in that department with Jermaine, Shae, Max and Mitch all handy 'dummy halves'.
"I am not worried at this stage. It is a good position to be in. I know this though, John will be in our top 17. He is a bloke the team can rely upon to give every minute of every game, his best shot." Nisbet said.
Weymouth is a bloke who will benefit greatly from the power the Magpies have up front in 2013, and the skills of the backline players, Edwards, Kennedy, Rosser, Dixon, Schulz, and hopefully Lachie Mussing,
With the platform being laid up front, I have a feeling the 'attacking' side of John's game will become more prominent this season.
One thing for sure, he will grasp every opportunity that comes his way.