Words by Max Hope.
He’s just signed on with the Waratahs for 2016, but Jake Gordon isn’t giving that much thought at the current minute; he’s got an NRC semi-final against the competition frontrunners to focus on first.
The 22 year old has been in outstanding form for the rejuvenated Sydney Stars in 2015 and he will be hoping that form continues this coming Saturday at Ballymore against the unbeaten Brisbane City.
Jake grew up in Newtown, Sydney and began playing his rugby as a young lad with Canterbury Juniors. His talent was obvious and rival clubs began to notice. Upon the completion of his HSC in 2011, Gordon signed with Sydney University Football Club, a notorious breeding ground for Super Rugby players.
The halfback found the competition tough going at such a successful club and it wasn’t until this season that he cemented his spot in the top grade. With the chance to learn from Wallabies scrum-half Nick Phipps, Jake worked hard behind the scenes and has since reaped the rewards.
Formed by Sydney University and Balmain rugby clubs, the Sydney Stars suffered a brutal initiation to the inaugural Buildcorp NRC, finding themselves on bottom of the ladder upon completion of the 2014 competition. Fast forward twelve months and the Stars will take on Brisbane City for a place in the big dance come this weekend’s semi-finals.
Jake was part of the 2014 squad that finished with the wooden spoon but claims a change in attitude this year has been the key to their vast improvement.
“I think this year the boys have just wanted to play for each other a little bit more. Last year it wasn’t easy turning up after copping a flogging and the long season just took its toll,” Jake said.
“The new coaching staff have been awesome. It was a fresh start and the boys grasped it with both hands.”
The Stars will come up against a red hot Brisbane City, a team that hasn’t tasted defeat since round seven last year. In their last encounter just a few weeks ago, the boys from the sunshine state taught the Sydney-siders a lesson in running rugby with a 58-0 drubbing at Leichhardt Oval.
“They gave us a bit of a touch up when we crossed paths the first time,” Jake said.
“But Saturday is a new day. We have to turn up with the right mentality, or a similar score may be read on the scoreboard after 80 minutes.”
Asked where he sees Brisbane City’s strengths, Jake replies with a chuckle and a wry smile.
“It’s from numbers one to 23! They have unbelievable talent and depth in their squad so it’s no real surprise that they haven’t had a loss this year,” Jake said.
His selection in the 2016 Waratahs squad came off the back of a stellar year with the University side and Gordon couldn’t be happier.
“Mate it’s an honour, genuinely. I’m pretty excited to get it all going,” Jake said.
Away from rugby Jake enjoys putting others through their paces, working as a Personal Trainer at All Sorts Fitness and Wellbeing Centre. With the intention to study part-time next year, Gordon hopes to enrol in a Health and Movement type course to compliment his work as a Personal Trainer.
But Jake admits his mind is on other more pressing items at the moment.
“The Stars have a game to win.”