In 2020, a 17-year-old schoolboy named Wilson Hamblin, hailing from the western Riverina town of Hillston, and who was part of the Canberra Raiders S G Ball squad, made his first-grade debut for Wagga Brothers.
An extremely talented youngster, he slipped into the role of hooker and spent his formative first-grade years with The Brethren.
Fast-forward to this season, and Wilson answered the call to join Group 9 powerhouse and defending premiers Gundagai, following the forced retirement of Tigers legend and multiple Wiesel Medal winner James Luff.
After several injury issues, including concussion problems last year, Luff was unable to return to the field this year, and Hamblin has slotted into the black and gold and found his new home.
Where are you from and where did you first start playing footy?
I’m originally from the town of Hillston. Made my first-grade debut at Wagga Brothers in 2017, playing there until this season when I shifted to Gundi.
Best footy memory?
Winning the SG Ball grand final (The S G Ball Cup is a junior rugby league competition played predominantly in New South Wales, between teams of players aged under 19. Teams from Canberra and Melbourne also participate. Before the COVID-19 pandemic in NSW, teams from Perth and Auckland also participated).
Favourite player as a kid and why?
Former Wests Tigers and New Zealand international Benji Marshall. He is an absolute freak.
Favourite childhood meal you can remember?
Favourite ground to play on and why?
Anzac Park, Gundi. It’s our home ground and the crowd makes the atmosphere awesome.
Why should young kids take up rugby league?
Playing rugby league gets you plenty of mates and makes memories you’ll have forever.
Do you have a celebrity lookalike?
What annoys you?
I can’t stand people eating loudly.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Hard work goes a long way.
On a car trip from the Region to Sydney, who would you NOT want in the passenger seat?
Blake Dunn (Dunn is a Group 9 veteran and now Gundagai co-coach. He moved to Wagga in 2010 to coach Brothers, where he spent three years in that position and five years with the club before joining Gundagai in 2015). He takes me to training every week. He’s a nice bloke but he gets a bit annoying. Talks way too much about his glory days.
Any person (dead or alive) you WOULD want in the passenger seat?
Down to your last $20 – what would you spend it on?
A Guzman y Gomez cali burrito – (On the outside, it’s just a regular burrito, but on the inside it’s so much more! With fries replacing rice, it’s a crowd favourite).