After moving from Sydney to Gunnedah, 18-year-old Joe Hinchey realised one thing very quickly about the Central North Rugby Union competition.
“It’s a whole lot tougher than schoolboy rugby,” Hinchey said.
It’s only going to get tougher as the Red Devil turns out for the North West Bushrangers at the 2018 NSW Country Rugby Championships in Warren this weekend.
Hinchey will line up alongside fellow Gunnedah player Oscar Hunt for the Bushrangers who’ll kick-start their campaign at 3pm on Saturday against Western Plains.
Heading into the game, Hinchey is keeping everything simple.
“Just to worry about my own game – not worry about what anyone else is doing,” Hinchey said of his plan for the championships.
“Just trying to play the best I can.”
2018 is Hinchey’s first season with the Red Devils but his surname is well-known to the older heads at the club.
Peter Hinchey – Joe’s father – played with Gunnedah in the 80s and was named as one of the Red Devils’ best to play for the club between 1981 and 2006.
“It’s good to hear some of the stories and from when he was playing here,” Hinchey said.
While Hinchey didn’t grow up in Gunnedah, he still spent plenty of holidays in the town.
“My parents are from Gunnedah so I was in Gunnedah a lot of the time,” Hinchey, who is working as a farm hand, said.
“I’m just here for a bit of a gap year doing a bit of work.
“We spent a lot of the time up here when we were kids and I just love the place. I thought it’d be good to spend a year here. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after school.”
While the Bushrangers will take on Western Plains on Saturday, Far North Coast and Central Coast will also clash.
The winners will go through to the final to be played on Sunday.
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