It hasn’t been a standard season for Knights outside back Tom Hughes, but the former Bear has found his feet in the Hunter.
Having played in the centres, second row and on the wing this season, for two different clubs, Hughes’s 2016 has been anything but routine. After starring in the Rabbitohs’ Holden Cup outfit over two seasons, the 21-year-old was handed a red and black jersey for an Intrust Super Premiership NSW berth at the start of the season.
Hughes would play just seven games for North Sydney in opening 16 rounds, with the likes of Tevita Coterell, Abbas Miski, Dane Nielsen and skipper Ed Murphy being preferred. He had four tries to his name in that period, but was eventually told to explore other opportunities – opting to head north to the Knights.
“It’s been really good, the club’s looked after me,” Hughes told NSWRL.com.au. “It’s a building club, in the next few years it will hopefully build well and hopefully I’m a part of that.”
With a devastating injury toll compounding an already disappointing season of on-field performances, the 2015 premiers were happy to have Hughes and he has played every game since. While the Knights picked up the wooden spoon this year – an outcome that looked likely before Hughes signed – he has been a certain positive for the club alongside fellow mid-season signings Brendan Elliott and Mitch Barnett.
Newcastle’s lowly finish is disappointing, but they have ended the year with improved performances against Newtown, Manly and Wyong. Hughes has picked up four tries since signing, including a two-try, 160-metre effort against the Roos last week. At such a young age, he remains one to keep an eye on in the future.
Witness history this September at the 2016 NSWRL Grand Final Day. On Sunday, 25 September the Intrust Super Premiership NSW decider, along with the Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield Grand Finals, take place at Pirtek Stadium, with tickets just $10 for adults and kids under 12 free. Click here to secure your seat.