DIVING IN: Former Gympie rugby league player Jake Harney is joining the Northern Outlaws ranks early in the season while his shoulder injury fully heals.
DIVING IN: Former Gympie rugby league player Jake Harney is joining the Northern Outlaws ranks early in the season while his shoulder injury fully heals. Renee Pilcher

Hungry Harney back in town after shoulder injury

THE Northern Outlaws-combined-Noosa Gympie side has welcomed former Gympie player Jake Harney to the squad while he recovers from last year's season-ending shoulder injury.

Harney has been signed for the Sunshine Coast Falcons this year but until he is game ready, will continue to play for his former team in the Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League competition.

While playing for the Gympie Devils last year, Harney fractured his shoulder in a tackle, falling at an awkward angle.

"It has taken just over a year to recover," he said.

In a recent pre-season game, Harney played for the Outlaws, defeating Wondai at Gympie 34-4.

It was his first game since the injury and he was confident his shoulder would be fine for the season but will continue to play in the local competition, gaining game time while testing his shoulder during play.

Harney is still signed with the Falcons so will not play out the complete season with the Outlaws.

"I will let my Falcons coach know when I am ready for selection," he said.

Harney has been training with the Outlaws for a month and will play with the team for their first game of the season against Caboolture in Gympie next Saturday.

He is excited to finally be back on the field and playing with Billy Rogers and Outlaws co-captain Kurt Fleming this season.

The halfback said the Outlaws would be strong contenders in the competition this year.

Fleming said Harney and other Falcons player Sam Young will be strong additions to the team.

The team was hoping for a big crowd for its first game, especially as it is one of only three home games this year, thanks to the mixture of Noosa and Gympie players.

The season usually kicks off before Easter but with not enough teams to make up a stronger competition, games have been put back to later in the year. The only pre-season game the Northern Outlaws lost was to last year's grand finalists Maroochydore by eight points. Fleming said they were not concerned with that result and were expecting a tough game from Caboolture on Saturday.

And with 26 players in the squad and only 17 needed on the park for a game, there was some healthy competition in the team as players fought for a spot each week, Fleming said.

Gympie Times


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