Dan Atkins reveals Eagles new faces

The Eagles premiership hopes for 2017 have received a sizeable boost with a number of big names

joining the club ahead of what is expected to be a tough pre-season schedule.

Headlining the fresh faces is former 1 st grade captain Matt Hawke, who returns from a stint in the UK and

is likely to slot in to the first grade side at outside centre.

To compliment our sizeable backline, big winger Eli Sinoti has come to the club from Wests, and is

looking forward to playing under head coach Dan Atkins and boost his chances of earning a Brumbies


The colts squad will head in to the 2017 season with strong hopes of a premiership with Mack Hansen,

Tom Ross, Tayn Atkins, Jacob Patmore, Tevita Wolske, and Declan Brebner set to pull on the black and

red – who all have experience in the Brumbies set up and some have played on the international arena.

Head coach Dan Atkins has said before that the Eagles future looks brighter than ever, and that these new

players will compliment his plans for the club perfectly.

“We set up a plan back in 2015 for players to come through into the Gungahlin Eagles. We haven’t really

recruited as such, the club itself is the real reason we are bringing such a large pool of new players with

plenty of talent.” Atkins said.

“We’ve managed to set up a great professional rugby attitude and awesome club culture. Our recently

developed and adopted club values have allowed everyone in our club to feel like the club is the best

sporting environment which values and respects diversity, race, colour, gender, history, and


“That’s why we’re seeing such great numbers and some real talent too. Who wouldn’t want to be

involved in one of the best community sporting clubs in Canberra?” he added.

With the Eagles’ pre-season set to start Tuesday 31 st January, the new players received their training

shirts and are excited to meet the players and coaching staff before the hard work begins.

Meet the new players:

Matt Hawke

Considered as one of the Gungahlin Eagles favourite sons, ‘Hawke Dog’ comes back to the Eagles after

spending two years playing top rugby in the UK. Hawke is a former 1st grade captain for the Eagles, a

Brumbies squad and NRC Canberra Vikings member, and brings a huge amount of experience to the

Gungahlin Eagles in 2017.

From the coach: “Hawkey is one of those straight up and down players – runs magnificent running lines

and has a very aggressive and in your face defensive game. I am hoping Hawkey takes his time to adjust

to the youthful fast paced game the Eagles have developed over the recent years and I am sure we will

see great things from him as the season settles in.” Dan Atkins.

From the man himself:

“I’m really looking forward to the season, I’ve missed the Eagles and I’m happy to be back after my time

in London. I’ve seen some highlights on EaglesTV and the boys have been looking sharp so I’m happy to

slot in wherever they can find a spot for me. My family has been involved in this club and Daramalan

Rugby for many years now and the 50 th year is a great time for me to come back. I haven’t set myself too

many personal goals this year, but that luxurious premiership is still dangling over my head so that’d be a

special way to finish the season.”

Eli Sinoti

You may recognise Eli from his explosive runs coming off the wing for Wests 1st grade last year. Eli has

decided to come over to the Eagles looking for some enjoyment in the game and after being on the losing

team several times against the Eagles last year, Eli saw something special from the Eagles and wants to

get in on the action. Eli had the chance to play under Dan Atkins with the ACT Griffins and enjoyed his

style of coaching, now he will get a full pre-season and regular season to progress. A good club culture

and professional approach were the final deciding factors in coming to the Eagles, and Eli has his sights

set on an elusive Brumbies contract.

From the coach: “Eli is a big explosive runner with a mean step, his ability to finish off set pieces and his

blitzing speed will compliment our fast style game really well. He has represented the Canberra Griffins

and the NRC Canberra Vikings last year – there is plenty of experience at the elite level that we can utilise

there.” Dan Atkins.

From the man himself:

“It’s a good balance at the club with exciting young players coming through and plenty of experience –

especially in the coaching staff. There’s a pretty big gap between other clubs and Gungahlin when it

comes to professionalism and the culture is great too. Dan and some of the other coaches here are very

approachable, Dan is really easy to talk to. It will be a hard task trying to get a position in first grade with

the quality of players here like Jamie Kotz, so there is a big challenge coming up for me. The ultimate goal

is getting that premiership, I can’t wait for the season.”

Tayn Atkins

Reckon we’re happy to see another Atkins pull on the red and black? Absolutely we are. And this one

comes with real promise. His long blonde locks can be seen from a mile out, and the grin isn’t hard to

miss either – but what’s more exciting is the way he approaches the game of rugby according to so many.

From the coach: “He’s an exciting back-rower who is very tenacious on the ball, with great ball handling

skills and an excellent lineout jump. Tayn is a Brumbies U20s squad member and recently played in the

winning schoolboys Australian 7s side that played in Auckland, December 2016. Tayn can play the 15

man game as well as any top back-rower, but if Tayn continues to progress we may even see him in the

green and gold in the sevens format one day soon.” Dan Atkins.

From the man himself:

“I’m pretty keen actually, it’s going to be an awesome experience getting to keep playing with some of

these guys and we’re hoping to get a title. Sevens is a completely different game but the skill set that you

need has really helped me and I think it’s gotten me ready for a senior rugby preseason. There’s a great

culture here and my family are pretty involved too, I’m going to be pretty honoured to pull on the jersey

for the first time for sure. It’s going to be a tough preseason, Dad will push everyone no doubt but it’ll be

good fun.”

Mack Hansen

The ultimate Dara Rugby poster boy is sure to bring a few high-school sweet heart crushes along to

watch the Eagles in 2017. He’s as cool as ice on the field, proven by the 40m field goal he slotted in the

2015 preliminary final on the bell to send Dara to an historic Grand final against St. Edmunds. For a

young man, he’s got a wealth of experience and is the definition of composure. His first steps in senior

footy will be eagerly eyed by many, especially those scouting at the elite level.

From the coach: “Mack is a prolific game manager with great turn of speed and excellent kicking game.

He forced his way in to the Brumbies 20s squad and is currently training with the Brumbies senior side –

he’s knocking down the door to get a run in their upcoming trial matches too. He loves to wear the red

and black and is a real future star not only for the Eagles, but for the whole of ACT rugby.” Dan Atkins.

From the man himself:

“I can’t wait to play senior footy, the club has been great in getting around the young guys so we’re just

excited to have a crack. It’d be great to play in any senior grade, but I really want to see the Eagles 20s

team win the competition, the last couple grand finals in the red and black we’ve fallen short so to bring

back a premiership for this club would be ideal, but if I get a run in 1 st grade that’d be great experience


Tom Ross

He’s a 35 year old veteran prop stuck in a spritely 18 year old body. Tom is a natural born leader who

wears his heart on his sleeve, and somehow is a prop that is fully switched on between the ears. He did

an amazing job as the captain of the Daramalan 1 st XV for the last two years and took them places they’ve

never been before, and now under the watchful eye of the Brumbies, he’s set for big things.

From the coach: “Tom is known for being one of the best technical front rowers to come through the

Brumbies system for a long time, and will be a future leader of this club without a doubt. Daramalan 1 st

XV captain in 2016, Tom is a Brumbies U20s squad leader, and has all potential to be a prominent front

row member in the Brumbies senior squad in years to come.” Dan Atkins.

From the man himself:

“Whenever you pull on a red and black jersey it’s pretty special and coming through and getting to do it

with all of my mates from school really excites me. I really like the way Dan coaches here and the style of

footy – I like the patterns and defensive structures, obviously the culture is great here and it’s only going

to get better. There are people like Connor I’m not too worried about personal goals right now, I’m just

happy to be on the park with some great footy players both with the Brumbies and here at the Eagles.”

Declan Brebner

The next Rory Arnold you say? If not, he’ll just be taller. The 203cm pig farmer from Young is still a

student of the game with plenty of untapped potential. A true country bloke who’s head and shoulders

above most of the players his age – literally. It doesn’t take long to notice he’s a crowd favourite and loves

a yarn, but come kick off he’ll be as switched on and fired up as ever.

From the coach: “Declan brings a whole new meaning of aggression when it comes to his footy. He’s a tall

defensive lock in his third year of rugby after only recently picking up his first pair of footy boots. He’s a

Brumbies U20’s squad member and from what I hear he’s a handy pig farm hand too, he’s a got a huge

future ahead of him and I can’t wait to see him develop both mentally and physically to take his game to

the next level.” Dan Atkins.

From the man himself:

“I’ve heard plenty about the good team morale and all the good blokes here so I’m pretty excited to have

a good crack. I’m really lucky to have some of these coaches around at Gungahlin – Ben McGee knows

plenty about lineouts and he’s been a big help for me at the Brumbies and has been pushing forward. I’m

just trying to get better every time I play, my main goals are making the Brumbies squad and play finals

footy with the Eagles – that’s all I’m worried about at the moment.”

Tevita Unga-Wolske

This gentle giant took some time away from rugby after a knee injury forced him to go under the knife

and watch on from the sidelines in 2016. He’s been likened to fellow Eagle and Brumby Josh Mann-Rae,

and has the maturity to match such appraisal. Tevita is the talk of the town when it comes to the

Brumbies future front row stocks, and what’s even better is that he is extremely passionate about his

footy, and now the Gungahlin Eagles.

From the coach: “I’ve heard that the big ball running hooker ‘Unga’ is a potential hooker waiting for the

right moment to join the Brumbies senior squad. I’ve heard great things coming out of the Brumbies

U20s set up about him, he’s even likely to feature in the senior team’s trial matches soon. He’s in great

form, ready for a big pre-season and I think he’ll blossom under our forwards coaches and mentors.” Dan


From the man himself:

“Even after missing out last year I was made to feel a part of the team and the whole club – there is a

great culture here and I’m really keen to return to rugby. I’m really going to try and use the great coaches

here to get the most out of my game, that’s one of the great advantages of coming to the Eagles. I’ve been

working heaps with Bongo this pre-season, and he’s been great for my game and has really taken me

under his wing. It’s guys like him that I’d love to play with if I got the chance at Gungahlin.”

Jacob Patmore

One word: Speed. A blitzing winger who’ll be pushing Jamie Kotz for the title of ‘the fastest eagle’

currently holding a PB for the 100m dash at 10.89s. With his father being an old boy of the club Jacob has

plenty of reasons to be excited for the next phase in his rugby career. His family bleeds red and black

with a long history at the Eagles, but Jacob has one thing on his mind and that’s adding to the Eagles

trophy cabinet come August 2017.

From the coach:

“We’ve generated quite the pool of talented wingers with immense speed and Jacob will fit right in to that

category. I know that he gets along well with everyone he plays with and he’ll be an asset to the club both

on and off the park – he’s played lots of footy for a young bloke and you can tell he just loves the game.

I’m hoping he can learn a thing or two from blokes like Andy Barrell who started out in the same place

and now has 150+ first grade games.” Dan Atkins

From the man himself:

“My first decision was to come back and play for the Eagles in my first year of colts and I’m really excited

for it. My dad and all of his mates used to play for the club through Dara, colts and seniors, and I played

here as a junior so I was always keen to come back to Gungahlin. I played with most of the guys that will

be in this colts squad back in high school, and after spending some time in Sydney I can’t wait for the

season to start and play alongside them again, Mack has a great cut out ball so hopefully I can utilise that

out on the wing.”

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