Hastings Valley Vikings pick their Team of the Decade

In the side: Gil Hopley made the Vikings Team of the Decade.
In the side: Gil Hopley made the Vikings Team of the Decade.

THE Hastings Valley Vikings recognised the best who have taken to the park in the emerald green, black and yellow at the club's 20th anniversary ball on Saturday night.

The club announced the Team of the Decade at the glittering ball at Rydges.

Each coach from the past 10 years was asked to nominate his best team, and the players with the most votes were picked in the side.

There are amazing achievements at both ends of the park. Big prop David Tunstead has made the team for this decade and last decade, and so has fullback Greg Lawrence.

There are only four players in the squad who aren't playing with the club in 2015. They are David Barnes, Jeremy McKinnon, Gil Hopley and David Campbell.

"I think that says something about the longevity," Barnes, the club president, said. "There are a fair few of them who have played the whole 10 years."

Current coach Andrew Kable is in charge of the team.

The club also picked six Vikings of the Decade for their outstanding services off the field. They were Barnes, Jennifer Taylor, Al Tonkin, Chris Dolden, Chris Trutwein and Mark Hill.

Taylor is the only non-president in that list. She's the club's treasurer.

The team

23. Daniel Willoughby: In just a few years, no one has improved his game like Willoughby has. One of the first picked in first grade and now a Mid North Coast representative.

22. Gil Hopley: Captain Cranky was in charge of the Vikings’ first ever premiership at halfback. In his latter years he become a handy flanker. Hopley is the club’s secretary.

21. Tom Hetherington: A member of the Vikings’ under 18s premiership and the two first grade final wins, Hetherington has won three grand finals and played more than 100 games. He still has plenty of seasons ahead of him.

20. Justin Joyce: One of the first players to play 100 games for the club and a mainstay with the Vikings for many seasons.

19. David Keys: Coach of the first grade which won the title in 2010, Keys played as well but couldn’t bring himself to captain the side as he was too focused on doing his job.

18. Steve Tonkin: The youngest Viking ever to play first grade at 16. He was a great flyhalf for many seasons, and a strong defender.

17. Salesi Fineanganofo: A member of the original team of the decade, he moved to Tonga seven years ago but one of the best props the Vikings has ever seen has not been forgotten.

16. Simon Dunn: Has won three grand finals with the club over 18 seasons. A stalwart and original member of the first Team of the Decade.

15. Greg Lawrence (Steve Enders): Another member of the original team of the decade who just loves his rugby. Can play anywhere in the backline and is handy on the side of the scrum as well.

14. Jono Edwards (Grant Popplewell): One of the quickest players ever to play for the Vikings and is now an international player having played for the Swedish national side last year. He is now a professional sevens player in Europe.

13. Andrew West (Greg Lawrence): Captain of last year’s Grand final winning team, Westy leads by example and he is one of the best centres in country rugby union.

12. Jeremy McKinnon (Troy Baker): A tryscorer in the 2010 decider and one of the best ball runners the Vikings have ever had. Jez engraved himself in Vikings folklore. 

11. David Barnes (Mick Aldridge): A long time regular in first grade and now our beloved president for the past three years. Didn’t take fools gladly, and dished out as many sledges as he was given.

10. Glen Littler (Shane Joyce): A rugby league convert, Littler was only ever going to play for one year. Three years, on he loves the game so much he has been seen wearing tweed jackets.

9. Adam McCormack (Scott Marchant): Will no doubt be regarded as one of the best Vikings player ever. Has the best pass in Australia.

8. Lee Riske (Craig Munro): Plays flanker and number eight, and in recent years, hooker. Riske has been with the club a long time and earned a well deserved premiership last year.

7. Chris Johnson (Matt Lockwood): Vikings have never had a better defender than Johnson. The modern day Terminator has been a great leader for the club.

6. Hamish McCormack (Simon Dunn): Has played on and off for years but last year he come into his own and won the zone’s Best and Fairest player. 

5. Dave Campbell (Dennis Robinson): Pumpa was a great second rower and a member of the 2010 winning team. A champion who got a lot of respect both on and off the field.

4. Ben Pursell (Andrew Penman): The best lineout jumper in the zone, Sparkles defies his skinny body and gets around the park like a flanker.

3. Mark Howard (Sal Finangenofo): Member of the 2010 winning team and co coach of the Vikings reserve grade premiership team from last year, Howie has a reputation of being one of the zone’s best scrummagers

2. David Sprague (David Tunstead): Scored the match winning try in the 2010 Grand Final, and man of the match honours in that game. The winger turned hooker also has a reserve grade premiership to his name.

1. David Tunstead (Darren Hill): Do we have to say anything about him? Simply the best prop the zone has ever seen.

Coach: Andrew Kable: The main reason behind the team’s success in 2014 and into 2015. His professionalism is outstanding. They’ll go close to winning again this season.

This story Vikings reward their best first appeared on Port Macquarie News.