150 Not Out: Hamish Angus reflects after celebrating milestone in big win over Rebels
By Matt Findlay
Rats skipper Hamish Angus has been in and around the Warringah club for a long time, but he had no idea he would be marking a huge milestone and making his 150th Shute Shield appearance in last weekend’s round seven clash against Southern Districts.
In fact when he was told his reaction was a surprised “oh okay. Wait, really?”.
He and his side marked the occasion in emphatic fashion too, convincingly downing the Rebels 38-7 on the back of a three-try performance from hooker Wes Thomas.
Angus was superb too, and had an excellent day with the boot, knocking all five of his conversion attempts over and penalty too.
“It was really nice actually, the club made a nice occasion of it and we got such a good result which made it a little bit more special. Honestly, I still can’t really believe it’s been 150 games though,” Angus said.
“I’ve definitely been around for a while but I’d never really put it into that context, you never really look at how many games you’ve played and then someone comes over and tells you and it’s just like “oh, okay. Wait, really?”.
“I certainly have been around the club for a long time though. Starting as the young guy and now being the older guy, I’ve seen the club’s transition and seen a lot of faces come and go at the Rats.”
He went on to say that transition the club’s been through is probably the biggest highlight of his time with Rats, after saying his side’s defensive efforts against the Rebels inspired the victory.
Although the Rats winning wasn’t all that surprising – it was a toss of a coin, leading in – the 31-point margin was considering the two sides are separated by very little on the ladder.
“Every game’s hard to predict, this year’s competition is so tight,” Angus said.
“We just ran away with it [in the second half]. Souths are a good side but I don’t think the scoreline really reflected the game.
“Obviously winning the premiership in 2017 was a highlight and so was last year’s grand final, but not necessarily the games or achievements themselves, in a way.
“We were a club that weren’t even in the conversation regarding semi-finals but then we got there and people started taking note, then made the jump and eventually won a grand final.
“We never had the expectation on us to win grand finals, we built that from the ground up and even though it’s cliché I think that’s the most satisfying part of my time.”
Angus built on that further, saying it’s been “really encouraging and exciting” to see Warringah’s transformation off the field too.
“We’ve come along in leaps and bounds to be the really strong community club we are now,” he explained.
“When I started it was crickets after the game, no one hung around and you wouldn’t have anyone at speeches.
“Now there’s five-piece bands and barbecues and people getting kicked out of the club as opposed to having to be begged to stay.
“So it’s definitely changed a lot, and obviously for the better.”
Angus and his Rats are building nicely into 2019 too, last weekend’s win was their third on the trot and they’ve pushed up into fourth – seven points behind competition leaders Eastwood – as a result.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve started slowly, we had a tough run with Norths, Easts and Uni, three sides who I think most people would’ve put in their top six before the season, if not top four,” Angus said.
“We don’t need to talk about our game against Uni either, but since then we’ve been consistent which has been the best bit for us. We’ve kept ourselves in games and come away with the points, in a close competition if we can keep doing that hopefully we’ll keep creeping up the ladder.”
There’s little doubt their round eight contest will be a close one too, considering the challenge comes in the form of bitter rivals Manly.
As Angus said “all bets are off” in a derby, and making Warringah’s task even tougher is the fact Saturday’s clash is on the Marlins’ turf.
Although he also made a point of highlighting just how fortunate he and his teammates, and those before him, feel to take the field in a game of the northern derby’s magnitude.
“Ask any Rats or Marlins player and they’ll all say we’re very lucky to be involved in such a big fixture twice a year,” he said.
“It’s a real drawcard for players too. For instance (fullback) Liam Windon has come to our club this year and one of the things he’s been looking forward to most all year is playing in the local derby, because other clubs only hear about it or watch it on TV and think ‘I wish we had something like that’.
“So we are very fortunate, we’re looking forward to it too and as we all know all bets are off in a derby game, prior form means nothing.
“Traditionally the side playing at home has a pretty decent advantage in terms of results but I think Manly are a little bit like us in a sense at the moment, they’ve probably not really, completely found their mojo.
“But when they’re on they’re one of the best teams in the competition, a big forward pack and pretty exciting backs so they’ve got a pretty good formula there.
“These derby games are really won on defence, whichever side defends the most consistently, so that’ll be our focus and hopefully we come out the other end on top.”