Brendan hangs up his boots
By GREG WHITE
After several half-hearted attempts at retirement, Coffs Harbour rugby star Brendan Hoy says this time, it's definitely for keeps.
With a growing family and business commitments consuming much more of his spare moments, Hoy believes now is the time to go, although his passion for the game burns as strongly as ever.
"Winning that last premiership with Coffs was a massive highlight but I'll leave with many more happy memories from my playing career," Hoy said.
One of his earlier mentors, Bruce Worboys, clearly remembers Hoy's first grade debut.
"He was only 16 and already far ahead of everyone else," he said.
"Even then he was a stylist and very creative and for as long as he played, he made players outside him look very good."
After dabbling in cricket and rugby league during his school days, Hoy eventually made rugby part of his way of life.
"All up, I probably played the best part of 25 years," he reminisced.
"As to how many years there were in first grade, well, you'd have to check the records."
So, we did.
Hoy gets his initial mention in Coffs records in 1985, followed by stints in the city with Sydney Uni, Northern Suburbs and the famed 'Dirty Reds' of Drummoyne.
Representative honours took him to play rugby in New Zealand, Great Britain, Fiji and the United States before becoming a permanent fixture in Mid North Coast Zone from the mid-1990's.
He made a habit of grand final appearances, first with Harlequins, later with Coffs Rugby, including the last three undefeated seasons when the club won every trophy on offer.
And being best known as a halfback, he broke all the stereotypes about halves being just a little bigger than jockeys.
"Okay, I was pretty big for a half," Hoy laughed.
"It might have been better weighing in around 85 kilos but there's this social side to the game as well."
Often used as a centre, halfback will always be his preferred position.
"The style of play has changed so much," he continued.
"Gradually, things filter down to our level from the way the Wallabies play the game.
"Instead of getting through gaps and creating them for others, it's a more defensive game close to the halves."
While no longer a player, Hoy will still remain close to the action.
"The club will do a makeover of itself with retirements and transfers.
"But, it will still go on.
"Only this time without me as a player."