Newcastle rugby: Kiwi No.8 trades Merewether for France

FINALS: 1st grade - Maitland v Merewether; 2nd grade - Merewether v Wanderers; 3rd grade - Hamilton v Wanderers; Divisional - Easts v Muswellbrook
FINALS: 1st grade - Maitland v Merewether; 2nd grade - Merewether v Wanderers; 3rd grade - Hamilton v Wanderers; Divisional - Easts v Muswellbrook
DEPARTING: Merewether No.8 Ramiha Smiler has signed with French third division club Rumilly. Picture: Stewart Hazell

DEPARTING: Merewether No.8 Ramiha Smiler has signed with French third division club Rumilly. Picture: Stewart Hazell

MEREWETHER coach Mick Gill hopes Saturday is not the last time he sees Ramiha Smiler – even if he isn’t wearing a Merewether jumper.

The Kiwi No.8 has signed with French third division club Savoie Rumilly and departs at the end of the Greens’ finals campaign.

“He told us six weeks ago that he had been offered a professional deal in France,” Gill said. “His friend played over there and was leaving.”

Smiler has been a revelation at the back of the scrum and Gill wouldn’t be surprised if the next time he watches the back-rower is on television.

“He is only 23 and going into a professional environment I think he can make a career of it,” Gill said. “He is going to bigger and better things and we are happy to be a part of it. I know the French club was looking at other Newcastle players. It opens up the avenue for everyone.”

* Hamilton winger Fiso Vasegote is free to play in the grand final after being found not guilty of a high tackle at the judiciary on Wednesday night. Vasegote was cited for a shot on Merewether captain Jay Strachan in the Hawks’  36-28 win. However, the judiciary ruled that the winger’s arm first made contact with the ball and slipped up, and that any contact with the head was questionable.

However the Hawks will be without centre Sam Morgan after the club failed to have a yellow card for an intentional knock down expunged. The card was his third for the season.

* Former Wallaby Adam Freier will be the the special guest at the Hawthorne Club’s grand final luncheon at Surf House next Friday. The Anderson Medal will be presented at the lunch.

* Jarryd Logan remains the frontrunner to referee to control the grand final after his appointment for the preliminary final on Saturday.

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