HAYDEN Gavin has been all things at Southern Beaches.
A local junior, he was part of the 2010 colts side which collected the club's first title in Premier Rugby. He was hooker in the 2014 first-grade grand final side and has been club captain.
Off the field, Gavin has collected the clubman of the year gong, served on the committee and as president, helping steer the club out of its most difficult period.
Representing Southern Beaches, he has even been a finalist in a competition to find Australia's Most Ordinary Rig - a badge he wears with honour.
On Saturday, the 30-year-old father-of-three will become the first player in club history to notch 150 games in the top grade.
"I just love Saturdays," Gavin said. "I love playing footy, knocking your body around and having a beer afterwards. That is the reason I started playing and have kept playing for so long.
"We are playing rugby in Newcastle to enjoy ourselves, not to reach the world stage. Play for your jersey and play for your mates ... that's my attitude."
Along the way Gavin has developed in a rugged tighthead, who is equally adept at hooker or loosehead.
"He is not the biggest front-rower in the world, but he is deceptively strong and technically very good," Southern Beaches co-coach Ben Kinkade said. "We have had two separate scrum coaches come in and they each regarded Hayden as technically our best. His work ethic is high, he gets around the park and he has matured into a leader. He has hit 30 years of age and everything has come together."
That leadership was honed - and tested - during a bleak period in 2019 in which the club nearly collapsed.
Gavin was one of only eight players at the club a week before season kick-off. Among the departed were 15 first-graders. Rather than put his hands up, Gavin and a small but hard-working crew dug in and somehow came out the other side.
"That was a dark period but we got through it," Gavin said. "We were lucky to have a strong core group of people. Mal Logan, Mitch Ostle, Collete Delore - people who really cared about making the club work and getting it back off the ground. Ben Kinkade did a lot to foster that love. We worked more on the off-field stuff.
"The on-field stuff started to come this year when everyone bought into what we were trying to make happen."
Beaches sit in second spot in the top two grades and are third in third grade heading into Saturday's visit by Wanderers.
"The vibe this year is amazing," Gavin said. "Not only do we have a lot of talent, the coaches and committee have done a great job at bringing us all together after the COVID year when no one knew what was going to happen. We are only going to keep improving as a group, the more familiar we get with each other."
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