Huppatz is always on top
HUGH Huppatz could well be the good luck charm every club craves, equipped with arguably the most enviable grand final record in sport.
Since he and his Teachers West teammates were triumphant in an under-10s decider, the aggressive forward has gone on to win 15 consecutive premierships.
His success with the Bulldogs – which he shared with Josh Lamb – transitioned over to the Cottesloe Rugby Union club, after he and his fiancee moved to Perth last year in search of a lifestyle change.
It was a stat Huppatz said he was determined to keep under wraps, only for his partner to spill the beans.
“I sort of didn’t really tell anyone here I’d never lost one, it was something my partner brought up to the girls’ group and it carried on from there,” he said. “At the end of the day I’m pretty lucky to be surrounded by good teams and players. Every game I’ve gone into it pretty confident we’ll win with the team I have.”
Initially Huppatz had no intention of playing rugby on his move to Western Australia. But now that he is back in the fold, he has taken his game to a new level.
Only injury, ironically sustained in his 2021 grand final, prevented him from representing Perth Gold in the Australian Rugby Shield. And as a feeder club for the Western Force, he has been challenged to evolve as a player and leader. While Huppatz said if an opportunity to make the jump to Super Rugby presented itself he would not say no, ultimately his focus was on embracing the new lifestyle he had discovered.
“I love my four-wheel-driving and so does my fiancee. I always wanted to travel the west coast so we thought while we were still young why not?” he said. “It was not the best time to move with Covid, but it’s awesome; we’re getting married here next year and we haven’t looked back.
“It’s definitely an awesome experience being able to play with and around Super Rugby players, and learning off the next Wallabies,” he said.
“You can tell what the next step is and what it takes to be at that level, but it’s definitely a learning curve.”
As remarkable as Huppatz’s premiership streak is, there has been one casualty – and it comes in the form of a close friend. Brothers forward Matt Fanning was on the receiving end of plenty of the former Bulldog’s victories, aside from a drawn contest in under-14s.
When Huppatz finally left, that was when Fanning made his mark – lifting the Townsville trophy with a player of the match medal hanging around his neck.
“We played rep footy together, and when (Brothers) won last year he sent me a cheeky message. He said it was good winning and thanks to me and Lamby for leaving,” Huppatz said.