The Italian Job – Part One: Lost In Translation

by Paul Cook - One of my favourite aspects of covering club rugby is shining a light on those players ready and willing to take that step to the next level. But while a significant quota across the country's five Super Rugby’s squads hail from the fertile breeding grounds of the Shute Shield, there are only so many places going spare each year. As a result, we’re seeing an increasing number of Australian players seek their professional breakthrough overseas, with Europe the most popular destination. Three players who fall firmly into the category of ‘pro-ready’ are Manly’s Ed Gower, Warringah’s Sam Ward and Eastwood’s Tom Hill. Indeed, I’ve been banging the drum on 29-year-old Ed’s behalf for years, and it still baffles me why no-one has found a place for the uncompromising lock on these shores, while 26-year-olds Sam and Tom’s performances in club colours, in the last two seasons in particular, have also seen them push very much to the front of the queue for a
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