Newtown Rugby League Football Club - 1908-2008
Hep Cahill - Newtown's working class hero, 2008 style


Hep Cahill hails from Napier in the Hawke's Bay region on the North Island's east coast.

People from Napier and the Hawke's Bay area have a special reputation for toughness in New Zealand - the region was the scene of some of the most savage fighting in the New Zealand Land Wars of the 1860's and 1870's, and Napier is also known for the devastating earthquake that levelled the city in February 1931 in which more than 260 people died. It could be said to be one of those towns "where only the strong survive!"

Hep played both junior Rugby League and Rugby Union in Hawke's Bay and won prominence as a regional Rugby schoolboy representative.

He travelled "across the Ditch" to Sydney in 2004 to try his hand at professional Rugby League and asked for trials with the Sydney Roosters (a similar pathway in fact to the Roosters Kiwi international winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall.)

Cahill played Jersey Flegg with the Roosters in 2005 and 2006 and made a good impression as a hard-running, tough tackling lock forward. He had a bad run with injuries in the latter part of 2006 and in 2007 that left him wondering whether to stick it out in Sydney.

Hep has really blossomed in the 2008 season with the Roosters' partnership club the Newtown Jets in the NSW Cup competition, the former NSWRL Premier League.

Cahill is now regarded as one of the form forwards in the NSW Cup and he will be a key player for the Newtown Jets in their NSW Cup Grand Final against Wentworthville on Sunday at ANZ Stadium.

Cahill's background fits right into Newtown's street battler ethos - the player down on his luck who comes to the Newtown Jets to salvage his career prospects.

Round 22 Vs Balmain-Ryde: Hep scores impressively close to the posts

The Jets have the well-earned image of being Rugby League's "Last Chance Saloon" - for example, the career of Manly-Warringah's Glenn Hall looked to be finished but a strong Premier League season with the Jets in 2006 saw him win a contract with the Sea Eagles and now a place in their 2008 NRL Grand Final starting line-up.

In similar mode, Cahill has made good use of his time at Newtown to stake his claim for a future full-time NRL contract.

Hep Cahill is a text-book example of the type of part-time professional who used to typify the Sydney Rugby League playing scene - the no-nonsense bloke who would drive up to training in a battered utility with his tools of trade in the back tray, and then train the house down to gain a place in his district club's first grade team.

There are still dozens of players in this category, particularly in a good standard second-tier competition like the NSW Cup - those players who work in full-time blue-collar jobs, train four afternoons a week and play alongside full-time pros from their NRL partnership club.

Cahill is exactly that type of dedicated part-timer who is looking to grab every chance in trying to secure an NRL contract.

Cahill is a fencing contractor by trade and supports his girlfriend and their baby daughter, as well as assisting his younger brother who came over to Sydney to pursue his tertiary studies. NRL talent scouts with any street savvy at all should watch Hep Cahill very closely in Sunday's NSW Cup Grand Final.

Just announced: Hep Cahill has been chosen in the New Zealand Maoris team to play the New Zealand All Golds in an NZ World Cup Rugby League selection trial at New Plymouth (Taranaki), 12 October.

© Newtown Jets RLFC 2006