2019 NHRU Season Review
Just like that another season of NHRU is over and what a season it was… Hamilton Hawks placed themselves amongst the elite in local Rugby by claiming their fifth straight NHRU title.
There were plenty of great moments throughout season 2019, like the turnaround of Lake Macquarie Roos, the unveiling of the new Green room at Townson Oval plus loads more. Here’s our take on the season 2019.
It all got underway in early April with Maitland, Merewether Carlton and Lake Macquarie enjoying strong starts, but one challenger to the Hawks title defence was missing. Wanderers had started the season zero and two and needed to bounce back quickly. A win in Round 3 over Singleton Bulls and a major victory in Round 4 over Hamilton signalled that Wanderers were back. The Hawks, Wanderers result allowed Carlton to move to the top for a couple of weeks until they too were toppled by Wanderers.
By the halfway mark of the competition there were four real contenders for Hamilton. Although the Hawks had only lost once, Maitland, Wanderers and Merewether Carlton were hot on their heels with a 6 and 2 record. Lake Macquarie sat in fifth and although they had lost two on the trot at the midway mark, the Roos were shaping as a real threat.
Whilst four clubs were fighting for the right to challenge the Hawks, the other end of the table was not so flash. Southern Beaches, University and Singleton were on the end of some hidings throughout the year.
As the regular season drew to a close, Hamilton managed to pull away slightly from the rest of the field. A 65-12 win over University in Round 17 was enough for the Hawks to claim their seventh minor premiership in eight years. Their Round 18 win over Wanderers justified their place at the top and set the blue and golds on course for a record 5 straight titles.
Wanderers finished in second place and behind them was Maitland and Merewether Carlton. All three finished the regular season 12 wins and 4 losses. Lake Macquarie dropped off the pace in the back half of the season to finish fifth, whilst possibly the unluckiest of all the clubs was Nelson Bay who finished just outside the top 5. The Gropers lost four games by 6 points or less. If a couple of those results had gone the other way, they may have finished higher up the ladder. Below the Gropers was Singleton, University and Southern Beaches picked up the spoon.
We had to wait a week for the Finals Series to commence due to mother nature opening the heavens. Wanderers defeated Maitland, whilst Merewether Carlton drew with Lake Macquarie but went through on a countback. All of a sudden, the Roos amazing year had come to an end. Week 2 of the Finals saw Hamilton advance to another Grand Final by making easy work of Wanderers. Carlton and Maitland played out a tremendous battle, but the Blacks would come out top booking another showdown with Wanderers. Unfortunately their season came to an end against the two blues in the Preliminary Final. Meaning old foes Wanderers and Hamilton would meet in the Grand Final.
A good crowd was in attendance at No2 Sportsground for the Grand Final. The Hawks got off to a flyer and led 17 nil before Wanderers responded. A converted try would be the only points Wanderers would manage as the Hawks swooped on their opportunities to take another title back to Passmore.