THE Muswellbrook Heelers will have Jaryd Buckley in their thoughts as they continue their surge in the Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union divisional premiership this weekend.
The popular flanker suffered a potentially season-ending injury in the side’s 16-15 loss to Easts 1 in the first round of the play-offs.
Now, the Heelers face Cooks Hill 1 in the minor semi-final at Newcastle’s No 2 Sportsground on Sunday to keep their campaign alive.
“It was a tough day for our club,” president Greg Buckley said.
“Especially, to go down by a solitary point in a qualifying showdown.
“After witnessing a passionate and emotional few last words by our coach prior to the game in the dressing room, and the response by our players, I knew the boys were ready to give everything they had to represent us.
“And, that they did.
“They never gave up – and I’m extremely proud of them.
“A neck injury within the opening 10 minutes of the match to Jaryd, and later a 10-minute rest for Bruce [Rauqe], didn’t unravel us or make us drop our heads.
“But, it’s not over.
“We will do it all again [this weekend] to take that shot at the big dance.
“If any supporters can get down to the ground, it would be much appreciated.
“The players are doing it for you as well as themselves.”
Buckley was conveyed to the John Hunter Hospital – and his father thanked everyone for their well-wishes.
“On the injury front, Jaryd is lucky there’s no spinal or bone damage,” he said.
“He’ll miss at least next week and is dirty at not finishing [at the weekend].
“That’s what it means to him to not be there at the end with his team mates.
“Thanks for the messages and phone calls asking about his welfare.
“That’s what makes us a club.”
Muswellbrook Heelers (squad): Harry Hobden, Mark Snow (c), Ben Heriot, Paul McNeil, Senirusi Rauqe, Douglas Raphael, Jason Tyerman, Josaia Besetimoala, Cameron Huggins, Mitchell Googe, Ethan Cridland, Jeb Hardy, Chris Jeffree, Daniel Keating, Patrick Scott-Irving; Tyler Judge, Chris Edwards, Scott Almond, Ratunaisa Katonitabua, Ernest Allen, Joel Doran, Emmanuel Dumas