Ag College centre Hamish Pennington has watched every single Southern Inland grand final since he was 10 years old.
It’s fitting, then, that he should take centre stage during this weekend’s penultimate clash between his beloved Aggies and their cross-town rivals, Wagga Waratahs.
“As a young kid, it was my dream to play in a grand final like this,” Pennington said.
“I’ve followed every single final and watched all the games since my junior days and I’ve always wanted to be out there.”
The 22-year-old has been a staple in the green and gold since joining Ag College back in 2015 but came to the fore this season with his uncompromising brand of football.
Pennington’s skillset saw him float between loose forward and playmaking responsibilities during the opening month of competition before making the inside centre role his own with a string of quality performances.
A distributing role came naturally for Pennington – the Bethungra local played as a five-eighth during his junior years in Cootamundra – and his combination with skipper Cam Duffy and halfback Gerard McTaggart has since become the fulcrum of Aggies’ attack in 2018.
“Cam and I live together and that helps out a fair bit,” Pennington said.
“We know each other’s game and space pretty well and I guess that translates out on the field.
“But I think the thing that’s really changed for us this year has been Will (Mitchell) coming back in as coach.
“He’s done a massive job for us and stepped into a role we needed because I think that our group was probably lacking a leader like him in the past.
“He gets the challenges we face as young blokes and he’s guided us through a tough year.”
There’s still one more mountain for Ag College to conquer and Pennington will have his work cut out for him against the Tahs’ sizeable centre pairing of Tim Corcoran and Matt Shortis.
“Corcoran and Shorty are big boys and they’re good players too, so we’ll probably try and get them moving throughout the game and look to target Tahs out wide,” Pennington said.
“Our forwards have been working really hard too and I think they’ll put a lot of pressure on their pack.
“I guess the important thing in the end is that it’s not just the boys in firsts we’re doing it for – it’s for everyone through seconds and thirds and the women’s.
“We’re doing it for each other this weekend, we’re doing it for Col because we know he’s looking down on us, and we’re doing for everyone in the club.
“I can’t wait to get into it.”
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