24 February, 2022
Nick Van Der Poel back with Wattles
An announcement that’s brightened Wattles’ coach Travis Burns’ past week or two is news of the return of representative three-quarter and home grown junior Nick Van Der Poel.
Burns has no doubt the 22-years-old second rower/centre who was judged Wattles ‘Colt of the Year’ for 2019 will bolster the Warriors’ line up.
Van Der Poel enjoyed a sizzling season in 2019, a member of Wattles Madsen-Rasmussen trophy winning side before playing a significant role in Wattles’ charge to the Toowoomba Rugby League (TRL) Centenary preliminary final.
Mid-season after out-standing performances for the Toowoomba Clydesdales he gained Regional Queensland (Queensland Country) Under 20 representative honours.
The 2020 season saw the exciting young back sign-up for the Old Bar Beach Pirates at Taree in NSW Group 3 competition, the club that can boast the likes of former NRL stars and Internationals Danny Buderus and Boyd Cordner.
The move ended in disappointment given the season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Van Der Poel made his Wattles A Grade debut in 2017 as a raw 17 year old, before heading to Townsville running on for Brothers and hooking up with the Townsville Blackhawks Under 20s.
It was a big year in 2017 for the former Wattles’ Under 7, playing in both Townsville Brothers Under 19 and A Grade premiership successes.
Van Der Poel has been honing his talents as a back-rower though last season playing reserve grade for Burleigh Bears on the Gold Coast.
The move into the forward pack pleases him and adds another string in his bow, as well as being a utility bonus for coach Burns and the A Grade side.
With the challenges of the 2022 TRL season looming on the horizon, the Warriors’ line-up is undergoing key changes welcoming new players and welcoming back some star talent.
Another addition to the three-quarter line that will include Nick Van Der Poel is accomplished 22-years-old representative centre Austin Jennings.
Jennings’ combination with Van Der Poel outside playmakers under the direction of former Queensland Rangers half and four time TRL Player of the Year Matt Duggan serves notice to all opponents.
Jennings hails from the Lockyer Valley, a former Gatton Hawk who collected numerous club awards before heading to the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Travis Burns feels Jennings has a lot to offer his line-up and will develop into a key strike player with his skills and pace.
- Glyn Rees