2022 Wrap Up: Gungahlin Eagles Academy
- Aisea Taupeamuhu
- Alex McKeough
- April Downey
- Brandon Delicato
- Connor Forshaw
- Connor Rous
- Cruze Campisi
- Jeb Smith
- Lachlan Tindale
- Laura Cameron
- Melvin Posetta
- Nathanael Mooney
- Rory Scott
- Ryan Grocott
- Taylor Kilby- Connelly
- Tonga Hausia
- Zeke Melmoth
- 1st Grade
- Premiere Women’s
- 2nd Grade
- 3rd Grade
- 4th Grade
Tries = 73
Conversions = 54
Penalties = 1
Total points = 525
What a rollercoaster! 2022 saw an exciting changing of the guard in the coaching team with Glenn Carey taking the reins, our home ground being dug up and our games being split across various grounds. As has been the theme of the last few years, our youngsters were asked to tackle adversity and disruption, which they did incredibly well. We also saw our ladies move up from the 10s competition to take part in the Premiere 15s for the first time, competing against Super W and Wallaroo representatives.
This season we said goodbye to Connor Rous, Melvin Posetta and Lachlan Tindale. All three had really made their mark in the last 2 years and have been a pleasure to have around. Rousy took an opportunity to play in the Queensland competition and has been doing well up there. Melvin left us to spend time with family back in Melbourne after ‘that video clip’. Finally, Lachie switched codes to league, but I reckon he has seen the light and it won’t be too long before we see him back in the red and black.
Across the gentlemen, we saw a great blend of 2nd-year participants and fresh faces.
Nathanael Mooney led the group as became the Colts Captain. He has worked hard over the past 2 seasons and was rewarded with plenty of time in First grade.
Ryan Grocott was another regular at the top level. Ryan really found himself this year being pretty lethal in attack and scoring some great tries. It was, however, his defence that stood out. I can count on one hand how many tackles this plucky youngster missed.
Zeke Melmoth continued his solid work on the outside and became a regular starter in Colts.
Aisea Taupeamuhu is another lad who has come on in leaps an bounds. A naturally strong runner the has really started to add a little be of nous and nuance to his play.
Brandon Delicato, our first international Academy member, joined us from the Emerald Isle and slotted into the set up. Although I am unsure how he obtained the nickname ‘Wombat’, I’d like to think that it was because of his ability to burrow into the bottom of a breakdown and come out on top…… but I’ll let you come your own conclusions.
Connor Forshaw has been hopping between hooker and back row. This versatile lad has really developed in his confidence on and off the field. He has worked hard and taken even the most hideous of training sessions in his stride. Real proof of the importance of attitude over attitude.
Rounding out the Three Amigos is Rory Scott. Rory is another player I have really enjoyed coaching. He has come out of his shell a bit this year and is starting to see his own potential. He really showed how electric he can be during the Heritage Round game where he scored two quick tires against Whites in 2nd Grade.
Cruze Campisi has been an absolute rock at half back this year and a cracking clubman to boot. If you want a half back who will go out there and get a job done, this is your man.
Tonga Hausia returned to the capital after a season out in WA. He has been a great asset to the Eagles with his strong running and well-picked lines. The thing that I really enjoyed though was the maturity in some of his decision-making, not forcing passes and offloads. Well done that man!
Rounding out the lads is Jeb Smith. Jeb has been a standout on the training paddock, during match day and off the field. Always keen to learn and do better Jeb has done all the dirty work and hard graft and come back for more. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.
For the ladies, we saw the return of Laura Cameron who led the Women’s XV team. Although recovering from an injury for the meaty part of the season Laura led from the front. Thrown into a range of positions she rarely took a backwards step.
Taylor Kilby-Connelly came in as a backrow and even played a few games in the center. Her trademarks were bending the line in attack and some solid hits in defence. Although plagued by some niggles that meant that we didn’t see her at 100%. Once these are sorted, I think we will see some brilliance form this young lady.
Alex McKeough joined us and the sport this year. Making the sensible switch from AFL and took to rugby like a duck to water. Her season was cut short by a horrid hand fracture but in the time that she was able to play Alex regularly appeared on the top points scorer list for the competition! I’m so keen to see what next season holds once Alex is back at 100%.
Finally for the ladies we have April Downey. Starting the season in the Centers April stepped into Full Back when Alex was injured. Her ability to inject into the line and just run around the entire defensive line meant that she ended the season as one of the highest point scorers in the comp. Simply put, April seems to have a gear that no one else could match. I am really looking forward to helping April on her journey as she matures as a player in 2023.
As a club, we didn’t get the results we strive for, but this collective bunch were standouts every time they hit the field. Be it at training or at game time they fronted up and worked hard. Thanks to all those that have helped make this program a reality and allowed us to give these youngsters the best possible start to their senior career.
Here is to a bigger and better 2023! I very much look forward to working with incumbent coaches Locky McCaffree and Matt Giteau to develop another young crop of Eagles men and women.
Gungahlin Eagles 2022 Academy Coach