THE Singleton Greyhounds are facing a “triple threat” when the BHP Billiton Group 21 Hunter Valley Rugby League side tackles the Greta Branxton Colts on Sunday.
In a unique milestone, Colts’ triplets Ben, Sam and Jake Russell will each celebrate 100 first grade games for the club.
The trio, born on June 8, 1989, racked up 99 fixtures against the Aberdeen Tigers last weekend – and is looking forward to etching their names in the history books at the Greta Showground.
“We’ve always played together,” Jake Russell said.
“But, I can’t believe we’re all reaching that goal on the same day.
“It makes it more special to be sharing the occasion with my brothers.
“We’re very close, so it’s an incredible achievement.”
The 28-year-olds started in the Greta Branxton junior ranks as under-12s.
And, although they spent two seasons with the Cessnock Goannas (2012 and 2015) and another with the Forster Tuncurry Hawks (2014), they soon returned to their childhood club.
Centre Ben, back-rower Sam and hooker Jake also captured a Group 21 title with the Colts, ironically at the expense of the Greyhounds, in 2009.
“That was a great year,” Russell admitted.
“Another highlight was being named in the Greta Branxton Team of the Decade in 2015, along with Ben and Sam.
“Not only do I get the chance to take the field with my brothers, but we’ve got a heap of mates at the club, too.”
Now, Sunday looms as an even bigger moment for the siblings.
“I think it will be the best day of my life – chalking up 100 games and earning Life Membership,” Russell said.
“Only two others have done that at the Colts; Ben Murray and good mate Mark Bercini, who is a club legend.
“A win [on Sunday] would cap the day off.
“It’s our local derby against the Greyhounds.
“In the first outing [with Singleton], we dominated in the middle but ran out of puff.
“We need to play for the full 80 minutes this time – and be switched on.
“We’ve lost four games by two or four points in 2017; it’s the last 10 that’s killed us.
“So, hopefully, the boys will step up this weekend.
“I’m confident we can win – on our day, we can match it with the better teams.”