Newcastle Rugby: Hamilton hold hope for hooker’s return

RACING THE CLOCK: Hamilton hooker Chris Ale. Picture: Stewart Hazell
RACING THE CLOCK: Hamilton hooker Chris Ale. Picture: Stewart Hazell

HAMILTON haven’t loss hope of having blockbusting hooker Chris Ale available for the grand final if they get there.

Ale had a plate inserted in his right arm after breaking it in the Hawks’ 29-15 win over Nelson Bay a fortnight ago. Ale had a scan on Tuesday and, although healing well, the doctor at the hospital hasn’t changed his initial prognosis of 12 weeks.

“The arm is progressing well and he wants to get a second opinion so we’ll get him into a sports physician,” Hamilton coach Scott Coleman said.

The grand final is being held on September 15, which would be nine weeks from when Ale suffered the injury.

Three-time defending premiers, the Hawks are six points clear at the top of the table and on track to secure a fourth straight minor premiership. 

Captain Steve Lamont has switched from blindside breakaway to cover at hooker, where he represented NSW Country for many years.

Never content, Coleman would like to have Ale available, even on the bench.

Fly-half Dane Sherratt is expected back against Wanderers in the final round after breaking his nose against the Bay. Sireli Bainivalu (overseas) will also be available for that game. Centre Angus Brown (overseas) returns this week against Lake Macquarie.

In their absence Connor Mulhearn, Hamish McKie and Sam Morgan have been strong.

“They are all standing up and having a crack,” Coleman said. “None of the others are guaranteed their spot.” 

The Hawks had a bigr old boys’ day crowd, led by the 1978 and 2008 premiership sides at Passmore Oval last Saturday for the 59-27 win over the Students. However, the mood was subdued with the Hawks down 20-19 at half-time.

“A player said at the break, we have all the history of the club here, let’s not dish up another performance like the first half,” Coleman said.