DOING IT TOUGH: Grafton Redmen first grade hooker Zac Mason-Gale will miss Saturday's clash against Lismore City due to the Queensland border restrictions.
DOING IT TOUGH: Grafton Redmen first grade hooker Zac Mason-Gale will miss Saturday's clash against Lismore City due to the Queensland border restrictions.

BORDERLINE: Redmen hooker separated from family

ZAC Mason-Gale hasn’t touched a rugby ball for over a month.

The Grafton Redmen hooker has been caught up in the Queensland border restrictions due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Mason- Gale has not seen his partner Ashley or daughter Zailee for close to five-weeks either, and according to the popular Redmen forward, it’s been tough going.

“Missing out on playing rugby takes a back seat when you haven’t been able to see your family for four weeks,” Mason-Gale said.

“It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve got to make some crust to support the family.

“I’ve been living in Currumbin and working on the Gold Coast so I can’t come back to Grafton because I’ll have to enter quarantine.”

If Mason-Gale can take one positive out of the predicament he finds himself in, it’s his workplace backdrop, which would be the envy of most of his teammates.

“I suppose I could be stuck in worse places,” he said.

“We’re building a seventy nine story high rise right on the beach at Surfers Paradise. It’s not a bad spot to work and I reckon a few of my mates wouldn’t mind the view.”

Mason-Gale said he has made the effort to stay in contact with teammates and had some advice for his replacement in the front-row.

“I keep in contact with Kyle (Hancock) and Jack (Anderson) and we’ve also set up a group chat on Facebook, which has been entertaining, “he said

“I also hear Billy Whalan has taken over my role at hooker. All I can say to Billy is ‘you’ve got to be willing to put your head in some eerie places’.”

MR FIX-IT: Redmen forward Billy Whalan will once again line-up in the unfamiliar hooking role against Lismore on Saturday in Grafton's last game of the season.
MR FIX-IT: Redmen forward Billy Whalan will once again line-up in the unfamiliar hooking role against Lismore on Saturday in Grafton's last game of the season.

The Redmen are at home to Lismore City this Saturday in the final round of the Coopers Far North Coast Rugby Union competition.

Grafton have made a few changes to their starting side this week with Rhys Nelson returning to the second-row and Guy Robertson moving to the side of the scrum.

Tyler Hancock joins Jake Martin in the centres with Nic McCabe slotting onto the wing.

Second grade kicks off at 1:50pm followed first grade at 3:15pm.

The Grafton RFC has a mandatory COVID safety plan in place promoting social distancing and hygiene practices.

a. Access restrictions with changes around clubhouse

b. Limited grandstand seating- supporters encouraged to bring own seating.

c. Supporters encouraged to sit around field.

d. Limited bar and canteen.

e. If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms please do not attend.

FIRST GRADE TEAM LIST

1. Jack Anderson

2. Billy Whalan

3. Dan Blackman

4. James Hughes

5. Rhys Nelson

6. Robbie Hill

7. Guy Robertson

8. Ed McGrath

9. Dom Bullock

10. Adam Smidt

11. Ethan Myer Creighton

12. Jake Martin

13. Tyler Hancock

14. Nic McCabe

15. Kyle Hancock (c)



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