Written by Stuart McLennan
It was tempting to follow the ‘Blues Brothers’ headline by writing something about Jake Butler-Fleming and Terry Campese putting the band back together at Queanbeyan after both players had stints with the Hull Kingston Rovers club. The truth is they missed each other by one season. Campo returned to Australia at the end of 2016 while Penrith junior Butler-Fleming moved from Wentworthville in the NSW Cup to Hull KR for the 2017 campaign.
“Terry played for the club (Hull KR) I had originally signed for in the UK so I got in contact with him and just showed up to training,” Butler Fleming explained to Everything Rugby League.
“After tearing my pec off and having surgery I decided to return home. The UK during COVID last year wasn’t a good place to be. My girlfriend secured a job here in the ACT so we made the move down here mid last year.”
The classy centre left Sydney four years ago for an opportunity to travel and experience the sport on the other side of the world. He found a home at Hull KR, York City Knights, Bradford Bulls and Toronto Wolfpack during that time.
“I was fortunate enough to have an ancestry visa, meaning I was only half a quota spot over there, so moved over after playing a few years of NSW Cup in Sydney. For an opportunity in not only footy but to travel a bit as well.
“The stint with Toronto was short lived but I just received a call one day from the Head Coach Paul Rowley asking if I’d like to sign and come over,
“They were a stacked franchise and without injury it was really hard to break into the team so I eventually decided to go on loan to York to finish the year and get as much game time as possible.”
After relocating to Queanbeyan Butler-Fleming is enjoying his time under Campese at the Blues in the Canberra Raiders Cup competition. It led to him being part of the Monaro side that won the Country Championships earlier this year.
“I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s certainly as tough as I expected country footy to be.
“He’s (Terry Campese) been great. Obviously with him still being registered and able to play he just feels like one of the lads in the squad and everyone really gets around what he has to contribute as a coach.
“Obviously it would be great to win the competition. I was lucky enough to be a part of the Monaro rep side earlier in the year that won the Country Champs and there isn’t anything much better than winning the comp especially with the group of guys we have.”
Butler-Fleming and the Blues will line up for the second round of the ‘Queanbeyan derby’ on Saturday against neighbours the Queanbeyan Kangaroos who have acquired former NRL outside back Reece Robinson in recent weeks. The first encounter in 2021 was a close-fought 24-22 victory to the Blues.