Melbourne Chargers Rugby Football Club


Packing on a few kilos in the offseason is a standard pursuit for most rugby players. In the case of Melbourne Chargers player Aaron Hawton, it’s an occupational hazard.

Packing on a few kilos in the offseason is a standard pursuit for most rugby players. In the case of Melbourne Chargers player Aaron Hawton, it’s an occupational hazard.

The loose forward has been starring on the small screen these past few months, competing against Australia’s best home chefs on the latest season of ‘The Great Australian Bake Off’.

Attacking the weekly challenges with the same dedication he applies to his rugby commitments, Aaron found himself down to the final three contestants in the final episode and eventual Runner-up on Season 6.

“I have been getting a few WhatsApp messages from some of my team mates,” laughs Hawton, who is also a schoolteacher by trade.

“Two of the other rugby committee members pretty much live blog every episode at me whilst they watch it.

“They’ll tell me their theories on who’s the Star Baker and who’s going home next. Sometimes they’re right!”

Aaron Hawton Melbourne Chargers Rugby Football Club
Chargers rugby player Aaron Hawton, star of ‘The Great Australian Bake Off’

Whilst more at home in the kitchen than in a scrum, Hawton made his first foray into rugby relatively late in life, picking up a rugby ball for the first time in 2017.

“At the time I was living in Gippsland (teaching) but I knew a few of the people on the Chargers team,” explains Hawton.

“I went to a few of the training sessions when school holidays were on and I helped out with a few fundraising events that year and the following year I decided I was really going to give it a go.”

“I think that’s one of the really great things about the Chargers; a lot of the people joining the Club are experiencing rugby for the very first time.

“For me, joining the Chargers was the first time I felt welcomed in sport.”

Whilst on field wins haven’t come too easily for the Chargers in recent years, Hawton is quick to acknowledge the prevailing spirit of rugby is what has made the experience so worthwhile.

“My first ever match we travelled out to Shepparton and got hammered. I think it was 181-0,” recalls Hawton.

“Afterwards though, they put on a really good feed for us. They put spagbol into take away containers for us so that we would have something to eat on the bus home.

“That was a really good introduction to rugby for me; not only what happened on the field during the match, but also seeing what the supporters do.

“The next time we played them, they came to us and they had people on their sidelines cheering us on, just to give us encouragement.”

Hawton’s contribution to the Club goes above and beyond his on field efforts though. After jumping on the committee last season, Hawton recently was voted in as the new Club Secretary and sees the role as a great platform to extend the Charger’s presence within the community.

His famous Chargers inspired cake set tongues wagging at the Midsumma Festival when it took the bake sale by storm, raising funds in the process for the LGBTIQ+ community.

His teammates are well looked after too.

“We travel pretty extensively around regional Victoria for some of our games.

“Whenever we have to get on a team bus, that’s when I’ll whip up a batch of something so we have a treat for the bus ride home.”

Whilst acknowledging Geelong Rugby Club offers the best canteen he’s experienced (the ambiance offered a ‘nice feel to it’), Hawton concedes most club’s aren’t too experimental when it comes to what they offer their supporters by way of a Saturday afternoon feed.

So what would Hawton’s first action be if he was entrusted with the menu at Orrong Romanis Reserve?

“The Unicorns set up at Orrong is pretty good; they’ve got a little café seating set up next to the canteen, so let’s bring out the lemon or caramel slice or a good bit of hedgehog. Let’s offer something sweet alongside the snag sandwich!”

Team: Melbourne Chargers
Training Days: Tuesdays & Thursdays
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Where: Orrong Romanis Reserve, Prahran
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First published on by Gerard McLenaghan