15/4/2016 - Emus’ pommy playmaker Freedman aiming for improvement against Wombats


IT’S no secret NSW Country Colts five-eighth Adam Perri, instrumental in Orange Emus’ 2015 Blowes Clothing Cup win, is nigh on irreplaceable.

But that’s exactly why the man charged with filling the greens’ No.10 jersey in 2016 – former Welsh hockey international Todd Freedman – isn’t trying to replace the diminutive pivot.

After winning a place in Emus’ top grade side on the back of an impressive pre-season campaign, the rookie five-eighth is more concerned with playing his role to help the side win, while continuing to develop as a playmaker in the process.

He’s doing a pretty bang-up job so far too, scoring a double in Emus’ first round win over Bulldogs and impressing again in the greens’ 53-point drubbing of Narromine last weekend.

That development continues in Saturday’s round three clash against the Mudgee Wombats at Jubilee Oval, affectionately known as The Burrow.

“It was a really pleasant surprise to make the top grade side, I was delighted,” Freedman enthused, through his chic English timbre.

“I think I’ve played reasonably well [so far]. I’ve been lucky … our forwards have been magnificent, setting a wonderful platform and putting us on the front foot.

“I hope there is plenty more to come from myself and Emus as a squad though.”

Emus won’t just be looking to maintain their undefeated 2016 run on Saturday, they’ll also be looking to get one back on last year’s corresponding game where the Wombats stunned them in a 39-31 upset.

“From what I’m told I think we can expect another very physical, tough game of rugby … we’ll need to work hard to shut [Mudgee] down,” Freedman said.

A former Wales under-21 representative and mainstay in Reading’s Men’s Hockey League – England’s elite competition – side, Freedman linked with Orange Wanderers after migrating from the land of Beefeaters and mushy peas last year but had his Premier League Hockey season cut short by a brutal collarbone break.

So he decided to switch his stick, glove and hockey shoes for shoulder pads, short-shorts and rugby boots in 2016 – those boots happen to be hot pink with lime green trim too.

“I live with (Emus fullback) Zac (White), so he’d often been in my ear and then I found myself on an end of season trip of sorts last year with several of the Emus lads,” Freedman said.

“I really enjoyed my time with Wanderers, but I had wanted to play rugby again and thought why not do it while I’m in Australia.

“It’s been great so far, the rugby aspect and socially too. I’m enjoying it immensely.”

Freedman forms an all European halves combination with Irishman Eoin Scullion, while Alo Finau moves into the starting side at flanker with Josh Ellice-Flint pushing to the wing in place of the unavailable Tom Green.

Emus’ clash with Mudgee kicks off at 3.15pm.

ORANGE EMUS: 1 Nas Havealeta, 2 Tom Goolagong, 3 Steve Fergus, 4 Sam McLean, 5 Nick Hughes-Clapp, 6 Andrew Cosgrove, 7 Alo Finau, 8 Scott McLean, 9 Eoin Scullion, 10 Todd Freedman, 11 AJ Sykes, 12 Lachlan Harris, 13 Nigel Staniforth (c), 14 Josh Ellice-Flint, 15 Isaac White


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