Newcastle rugby: Greens’ depth receives welcome boost

POWERHOUSE winger Bill Coffey is back where he started – Merewether.

A 2011 premiership-winner with the Greens, Coffey has spent the past four seasons running the chalk for arch rival Wanderers.

However, the game-breaker has returned to Townson Oval and played outside centre for Merewether (2) in a 25-10 win over Hamilton in third grade last round.

FULL CIRCLE: Billy Coffey. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

FULL CIRCLE: Billy Coffey. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“Billy turned up on the Thursday unannounced and wanted a game,” first grade coach Mick Gill said. “I haven’t sat down and had a chat with him yet. We know what he can do with the footy but he has turned up in the middle of the year and is at the back of the line.”

Breakaway Sam Dart (overseas) and prop Wendell Wilhelmus (work commitments) also returned in thirds last round.

“I have not seen this sort of depth since 2010,” Gill said.

* Hunter quintet Beau Merrick (hooker), Jack Allen (prop), Tom McPhee (prop), Jack Hamilton (halfback) and Elias Pettigrew (winger) will vye for a place in the NSW under-18s side at a trial in Sydney on June 24.

The boys were  selected after Hunter went down 31-21 to Manly in the final of the State championships on Sunday. Hunter were without 10 players, who were in the NSW Country under-18s which went down to Sydney 25-15. The five selected for the trial were injured or unavailable for the country side.

* Wanderers’ halfback stocks have been boosted with the return of Jack Young from Manly.

* Merewether lock Kade Robinson will miss the clash against Southern Beaches after pleading guilty to a dangerous contact charge.

Wanderers duo Blair Rush (lifting tackle) and Noa Taufaao (high tackle) and Southern Beaches No.8 Marlon Solofuti (dangerous contact) are will play this round after the judiciary deemed their red card sufficient.