HAMILTON coach Scott Coleman is confident that former Central Newcastle rugby league captain-coach Rowan Kelly has the attributes to make a successful transition to rugby.
The veteran front-rower retired from the Newcastle Rugby League in September after guiding the Butcher Boys for the past two seasons.
He is a teacher at Francis Xavier College alongside Hamilton stalwart Paul Dan and is keen to train with the Hawks in the pre-season before making a final decision.
“He did a pre-season a few years ago with us and his defensive work was awesome,” Coleman said. “Now he has finished rugby league, he is keen to have a crack. He is pretty quick for a big fella. Most league converts play six or 12 but I told him I wouldn’t pigeon hole him anywhere until I see him in pre-season and a couple of trials.”
The Hawks, who are chasing a hat-trick of titles, have lost fly-half Jason Keelan to Souths rugby league, breakaway Tiueti Asi and hooker Chis Pusi have joined Coleman’s older brother Darren at Warringah and Japanese halfback Daiyu Ishimori has linked with Parramatta.
“Keelo left league when he was young and wants to see what he can do now,” Coleman said. “The other boys have gone to Sydney to test themselves. We are fortunate to have plenty of depth and there are a couple of players we are talking to as well.”
Hamilton’s grand final opponents Wanderers have also lost players to Sydney. Back-rower Daniel Martine has linked with Warringah and Tapaki Rahui, Blair Rush and Andrew Tuala have followed former coach Todd Louden to West Harbour.