Coffs duo selected for Cockatoos
By MITCHELL DALE
NEW Coffs Rugby prop Matt Hoy has been blessed with a couple of new births recently.
First, his fiancee Renee gave birth to the couple's first child, Thomas, two weeks ago.
Then last weekend, the 24-year-old won a berth in the NSW Country Cockatoos' squad after strong performances for Mid North Coast throughout the Northern Provincial Championships.
It all adds up to a pretty hectic time for Hoy, who joins incumbent Cockatoo Kevin Simpson as Coffs Rugby's two NSW Country representatives this year.
"It's pretty demanding on your time, but Renee has been exceptional about it," Hoy says.
"She understands what an honour and opportunity it is to play for Country, even though you spend a long time away.
"Playing in a Country senior side is something I have always wanted to do."
Hoy has trimmed down considerably over the summer, dropping from 112kg to 105kg.
"I had a pretty big off-season, I did a lot of weights and running as well as the pre-season training with the rep side," he said.
"I'm back up to 108kg at the moment, that is about my normal playing weight, although it depends on how many pies I have before the match."
Hoy's selection in the Cockatoos' squad also puts him on a collision course with younger brother Jonnie, who plays hooker for defending Tooheys New Shield champions Randwick.
"Jonnie's in the NSW Academy, so we might butt heads when (the Cockatoos) play them," Hoy says.
"It will be good to pack into a scrum against him, although our parents have already told us to take it easy on each other."
Hoy has returned to Coffs Rugby this year after an injury-plagued season with MNC reserve grade champions Taree.
"I played for Coffs in 2003, but it wasn't one of my better years," he said.
"I had a few injuries and I met Renee that year, so I spent a lot of time in Lismore."
But, after being injury-free for the first pre-season he can remember, Hoy is primed for a big 2005.
"So far it's going well anyway," he says.
Meanwhile, Simpson said earning selection second time around was sweeter than the first.
"I'd say it is a better feeling actually, the standard is probably higher this year and I'm very happy to be in it," Simpson says.
"There are a few familiar faces in the squad, but the bulk of them are new."
Simpson says his chief goal for the 2005 representative season is to nail down the number 13 jersey.
"I don't think I was selected as the starting outside centre, but hopefully I can put some pressure on in the trials (against IBM Japan on April 23 and NSW Academy on April 24)," he says.
"Hopefully I can get a bit of game time and impress the selectors."