Jake Gordon’s breakout Super Rugby season has been rewarded with a new two-year contract.
Gordon, 23, was at somewhat of a crossroads in 2016 but a stellar NRC stint with the NSW Country Eagles, where he finished as the competition’s leading tryscorer, and an impressive pre-season propelled him up the pecking order.
The Sydney local has been locked in a tight battle with Nick Phipps for the starting nine spot in NSW and an ankle injury for Phipps opened the door for Gordon to make his way into the Wallabies squad for the June Series.
NSW’s move to lock in Gordon shows their long-term faith in the scrumhalf, with fellow No. 9 Matt Lucas reportedly off to the Brumbies next year.
Gordon’s form had put him in the sights of rivals, but he has opted to stay in his hometown, a decision he said was a simple one.
“The year before Matty and Nick were playing really good footy and I was itching for a go and this year I finally got a go and I’ve really enjoyed it, so it was quite an easy decision,” he said.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind.
“Last year I probably didn’t play any rugby and this year I’ve almost played every game. It’s been an awesome experience and something I’ve really enjoyed.”
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said Gordon was the future of the club.
“He is a really strong player and someone we can build the future of the team around,” Gibson said.
“Jake’s real strength is around the ruck and his running creates a lot of opportunities for other players with the space he creates.
“He had a break-out year last year in the Shute Shield and the NRC as he’s continued to play well with the Waratahs. His determination to succeed and his hard work along with his talent will help drive him towards a Wallaby jersey.”
While his immediate future is secure, Gordon is looking to continue to improve in an area that might surprise some.
“Something I need to work on is my communication and… (how) I can involve myself when I’m not touching the rugby is something I’ve worked on and there’s a few little techniques and tools that we’ve been doing to better that in my game,” he said.
“You look at Nick (Phipps) who doesn’t stop talking. It’s a good thing, it’s a good trait in a halfback that I’m trying to match that a little bit. It’s something i’m working on and hopefully I get a little bit better at it.”