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Sports star of the week: Sam Gammie

Sam Gammie charges forward in Wai-Bush’s pre-season clash with Wellington Centurions. PHOTO/FILE
Sam Gammie turned on another barnstorming effort for Wairarapa-Bush in their narrow loss to Poverty Bay. CHRIS COGDALE spoke to the Eketahuna farmer.

Sam Gammie’s versatility has seen him play pretty much everywhere in the forward pack in his 49 first-class games in the green and red, but the Eketahuna sheep and beef farmer is just happy to take the field for his beloved Wairarapa-Bush.

After completing his degree in agriculture at Lincoln University, Gammie moved to the region to run a sheep and beef hill country farm about 15 minutes east of the northern Wairarapa town, where he lives with wife Victoria, and two-year-old daughter Georgie.

Gammie started his representative career in 2016 in his preferred position in the loose forwards after an impressive first season for Eketahuna.

His versatility and strength saw a move to prop, where he played for Eketahuna because of a shortage of suitable players, and his form in the front row was strong enough to earn selection there for Wai-Bush

“I’m pretty happy to play anywhere. Prop was a new experience for me, but we needed a prop at Eketahuna so I gave it a crack and I found a new respect for the front rowers,” Gammie said.

The 31-year-old returned to the loose forwards for the start of the 2022 Heartland Championship playing at No 8 against North Otago, but season-ending injuries to promising lock Will Porritt, and veteran Peter Beech, meant another move and he packed down in the middle row for Saturday’s Poverty Bay clash in Gisborne.

At 1.94m and 105kg, Gammie is not big for a modern lock, however, what he lacks in size he makes up for with a big heart and a bigger engine that never stops over the full 80 minutes, and he was to the fore with countless strong carries and solid defensive work.

Although disappointed with the 26-30 loss, their second from two games, Gammie felt Wai-Bush showed some improvement.

“We’ve showed a lot of potential in parts and in the pre-season games, and obviously we’re not the complete package yet as the results would suggest, but in each game we’ve notified areas for improvement and we seem to be ticking those boxes and then other errors creep into our game,” he said.

“Definitely our first game there were a lot of discipline issues around the breakdown and I think we improved our breakdown in the second game and we improved our attack shape I suppose, but the ball-handling let us down and we pushed too many offloads.”

A proud Gammie will likely lead Wai-Bush on to Trust House Memorial Park for his 50th appearance on Saturday, and he said the return to the artificial turf could be the catalyst to turn around the season and to set alight their exciting backline against the bigger Horowhenua-Kapiti side.

“I’m looking forward to getting on the turf this weekend and seeing them in action on a dry and fast track. If we can put a performance out that we’re proud of, the results should come and it’s sort of one game at a time for us and the way the competition is structured you can’t be losing too many, and it’s do-or-die every week now I guess.”

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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