Former Muswellbrook Heelers' president Tim Pike reflects ahead of 2019 Newcastle-Hunter Rugby Union divisional grand final

CLUB STALWART: Tim Pike's commitment to the Muswellbrook Heelers is as strong as ever ahead of the 2019 grand final.
CLUB STALWART: Tim Pike's commitment to the Muswellbrook Heelers is as strong as ever ahead of the 2019 grand final.

THE Muswellbrook Heelers, just like any club, have gone through some tough times since their creation.

But, one man who has been instrumental in their past success and modern rebuild is former president and long-time committee member Tim Pike.

He was in charge of the club on two separate occasions, taking the reins in 1981, and then again from 2011 to 2014.

It was during that second spell that he laid the foundations for the success the club is enjoying today, through bringing in quality players that became long-time servants on and off the field.

He spoke about the golden age of the Heelers, when there were several senior and junior grades, with famous local names such as the Berrys and Googes turning out each week.

However, he said that he feels a huge amount of pride in how the current squad is playing and how operations are being run.

"It's going to be interesting because they've really worked hard, and it's really good to see a lot of those guys who have come through from juniors now playing in back-to-back grand finals," Pike said.

"The club is in a sound position.

"We've improved the clubhouse up there and got the support of [Muswellbrook Shire] council, and the facilities are second to none."

Pike, who even released a book in 2017 detailing the club's 50-year history, said it was great to see the league greater recognising rugby in Muswellbrook and allowing finals to be hosted in the town in consecutive weeks in 2019.

Despite having been involved with the club since 1979 and seeing a huge amount of turnover in that time, he highlighted players such as Cameron Young and Harry Hobden as being two of the finest players that had pulled on the team's jumper.

While he admits the old brigade will all soon retire, he's hugely excited by the future of the first XV.

"There are some good young players out there, the 21, 22 and 23-year-olds will be the basis of our club moving forward," Pike said.

Having made the grand final three years running now, the side will take on The Waratahs on Friday night (September 13) in the hope of securing their first ever back-to-back premierships.

The Heelers stalwart cheekily stated that, despite enjoying his time on the committee, he's finding more pleasure in being able to sit back with a drink and just watch the game a spectator these days, knowing the club is in good hands.