RUGBY UNION: Redmen hooker as tough as Mason-ite
ZAC Mason-Gale just wants to feel that feeling again.
That sense of satisfaction, that taste of triumph. But more than anything he just simply loves to play rugby…and the tougher the game the better.
Against Port Pirates two weeks ago Mason-Gale suffered a badly broken nose, failed a concussion test and was forced to watch his teammates battle it out against a monstrous Pirates pack from the sidelines.
Facing a long bus trip home, and after a few painkillers his teammates decided there was only one thing to do, crack his nose back into position. After all his boyish good looks were on the line.
Fortunately for Mason-Gale the Redmen second-grade halfback, Don Bullock, just happened to be a qualified physiotherapist who had no hesitation in offering his services.
"They wanted to put my nose back during the game but I waited until I had a few beers to deaden the pain. One thing led to another so I got it cracked back in," Mason-Gale revealed.
"There was a fair bit of peer pressure from the guys on the bus and one of our players was a physio and he straightened it.
"It's better now and I didn't have to wake up the next morning and go to the hospital and get it broken again which would have been worse."
Grafton stood up to a tough examination against Port two weeks ago and their resolve will once again be tested against a rampant Hastings Vikings side on Saturday.
Hastings are eyeing off a third consecutive premiership and after their 46-17 demolition job on Port last weekend will head into Saturday's game against the Redmen as red-hot favourites.
For Mason-Gale Saturday's clash against the reigning premiers is a chance for his side to prove they are the real deal. And according to the 24-year-old hooker, he can't wait to ruffle a few feathers.
"I don't mind a bit of banter and the odd sledge," Mason-Gale admits.
"I like to get them (opposition) frustrated and put them off their game as long as I don't get in the referee's ear.
"I enjoy the tough side of rugby, it's something I've always loved about the game."
Deep down, Mason-Gale knows his team has a battle on their hands to record their first win of the season. But with the right attitude and a home crowd on their side he believes the Redmen have what it takes to cause a boil-over.
"A few videos I've seen of Hastings indicates they are a traditional rugby side," he said.
"They probably aren't as aggressive as Port. I think the home ground advantage will help and they have a three-hour bus trip up the highway.
"I don't think you can read much into Hastings beating Port last week."
Games kick-off at Rugby Park South Grafton at 1.30pm with second-grade up against South West Rocks followed by McKimms Grafton Redmen and Hastings Vikings at 3pm in first-grade.