Ross ready to hunt out more tries
By GREG WHITE
WHILE Sawtell were keeping tabs on dangermen Arthur Murray and Drew Vines last Sunday, unheralded centre Ross Hunter was making whoopee, crossing for three decisive tries against the Panthers. "I wouldn't complain if 'King' Arthur threw a couple of extra balls my way but while they keep watching Drew, I'm happy to slip under the radar," Hunter said of his spectacular effort. Hunter's hat-trick proved the crucial element that put Woolgoolga into tomorrow's major semi-final with Port Macquarie. And while the young three-quarter has always been regarded as a special talent, since switching from fullback his ranking among Group 2's elite bunch of outside backs has soared. "I've been pestering Crossy (coach John Cross) for ages to bring me in closer but he won't change a winning line-up," the speedster said."But everything changed when Brad Vines came back and a forward injury saw Mick Jeffrey moved to the pack. "Since the switch I've felt more confident and settled as before this season, I'd never played fullback." The date of Hunter's top grade debut is etched firmly in his mind. "April 27th, 2003," he said without hesitation. "We played the Mustangs at home and beat them 46-6. "Apart from last season with South Perth where we won the grand final, I've played in every first grade match since that day." With an uncanny recall of every match he's played for the Seahorses, Hunter can rattle off statistics and long-forgotten incidents that indicate future coaching potential. And he's in no doubt why the Seahorses have captured the imagination of Group 2 fans including recent comparisons to Macksville at their peak. "There are no big heads in the team and nobody gets dirty with each other when we lose," he said. "Crossy makes sure football is fun and with some of the blokes playing alongside you, you can't help but laugh." Apparently, hooker Matt Grayson is the resident joker-in-the pack. "Even while the game is going Grayso won't shut up. He drives the opposition mad but he's bloody funny." Hunter said the players and the local community were sharing in the Seahorses' success. "There's a buzz through the whole town and everybody is soaking up the fun of being back on top and winning," he revealed. "All of us ? players, coaches and supporters ? we're just doing it for each other." No conversation with Hunter can end without asking his opinion of the amazing team mate in number six. After pausing in thought he said: "Crossy hit the nail on the head when he called Arthur the most naturally-gifted bloke he'd ever played with. That means a lot after the great players he rubbed shoulders with in the NRL."