Bulls beaten on the buzzer

Ill-discipline costs Tumut victory against Tahs

A forlorn Mac Cusack, Jon Carmody, Will Kingwill and Mitch Ivill trudge of a muddy Jarrah Oval after losing to the Waratahs in the final play of the game. 

There were heartbreaking scenes at Jarrah Oval on Saturday, with the Tumut Bulls losing to the Wagga Waratahs in the final play of their wet and wild round four Southern Inland Rugby Union fixture. 

The Bulls were leading 21-20 and looked to have secured a memorable win over the 2019 premiers, but with no time left on the clock, a try to Jayden Stanton had the visitors in front when it mattered most. 

Despite dominating the flow of the game and playing to the miserable conditions in Tumut, poor discipline came back to haunt the home side, who gave away the advantage at key moments of the duel.

In what typified Tumut’s performance, the Bulls held possession on the Tahs goal line when Mitch Ivill almost crossed for a likely game winner with three minutes remaining. 

Yet, three consecutive penalties marched the cool, calm and collected Wagga side down field, who then took their time with the ball in hand before snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Bulls assistant coach and fullback Mitch Ivill admitted the result came down to discipline, or a lack thereof. 

“It was discipline the whole game that costs us really. We had it all over them, with structure and defence and sending them backwards,” Ivill said. 

“The only time they made metres was when we gave away penalties and they would kick their way down field.”

Ivill said the Bulls have consistently discussed their issues with discipline this season, and was openly frustrated that a select few players failed to take the message on board.

“It happens every week. It’s silly stuff every time, it’s a brain snap or people not listening,” Ivill said. 

“We talk about it and harp on at training every week about it and 90% of the blokes listen, but it’s just that 10% that have a brain snap and don’t think about it.”

Tumut hooker Lewis Simister is yellow-carded by referee Jonathan Andreou, while a disappointed Bulls skipper Will Luff turns back to his team.

Ivill said there were definitely positives to take out of the performance, but was gutted with the result as he trudged off Jarrah Oval after the team’s second straight defeat. 

“There were positives. Defensively we were good and they (Waratahs) didn’t want to be there and we were going forward and running through them and making metres when we had the ball,” Ivill said. 

“It was literally just the penalties that cost us.”

Bulls coach Jonathan Hulks agreed with Ivill and said that ill-discipline cost his side a win but also touched on some scoring chances that went begging. 

“To be honest, we should have scored more tries in the first half and didn’t take our chances,” Hulks said. 

“We just needed to be a little better with the ball in hand.”

The loss now leaves the Bulls nine points off Waratahs in the chase for the all-important second place on the SIRU ladder and a potential spot in the grand final.

How it played out

The Tumut Bulls really laid the platform early at Jarrah Oval on Saturday, with a physical home side holding the Tahs at bay in defence, whilst creating inroads in attack. 

Phil Shaw playing at second row was especially impressive and the hard-working trio of Will Luff, Will Kingwill and Sam Webster really shored up the Bulls pack and scrum. 

This strong start yielded early reward when Will McLennan-Dye found space, sprinting towards the try-line before being tackled. 

McLennan-Dye was able to pop the ball up and a barnstorming Shaw caught it and crashed over on the left edge; Tate O’Donovan converted and Bulls were 7-nil up. 

After points, Bulls gave away a few silly penalties and Tahs were on the attack and looked to potentially score off an attacking maul but the Bulls held strong and pilfered the ball. 

The pressure would eventually prove too much though, and a slick left side Tahs play found Sam Carwadine scoring on the left edge but a failed conversion attempt by Nathanael Mooney kept the home side ahead 7-5. 

Shortly after points, Waratahs were again on the attack and Jake Makeham was this time able to cross for a relatively easy try but Mooney couldn’t convert and the Tahs went ahead 10-5. 

The remainder of the first half was a tense affair and both sides really started playing to the wet conditions as the rain started to pelt down and ball control became all that much harder. 

Tuwame Turaganivalu did make two telling runs at the end of the first half and at one stage, he split the line and passed back to Shaw, who went close to scoring but was tackled short. 

Still, Tumut were let down by poor discipline and a telling handling error in the final minutes of the first 40, and on the stroke of half time, Mooney made up for his missed conversions to score a strong try.

Tom Hobbs this time missed the conversion and Wagga went into the break ahead, 15-7. 

Bulls started the better of the two sides after the break and standoff Pat Logan took control of the match and even split the Tahs defence on multiple occasions. 

With the momentum and good field position, the Bulls worked hard with their pick and drives before Pat Lemmich crossed from close to the line; O’Donovan converted for a 15-14 score line. 

A Turaganivalu line break again had the Bulls on the attack and this time it was Jon Carmody who stormed over for a well-earned try; O’Donovan converted and the Bulls led 21-15. 

Again, it was ill-discipline that let the Bulls down after points with two consecutive penalties placing Tahs on the attack and after mounting a solid run of forward phases, Harry Cooke was able to cross; Hobbs missed the conversion and Bulls led 21-20. 

Following the points, Lewis Simister was yellow-carded for an incident off the ball but the Bulls defended well in this period, holding the Tahs out and looking the likely winners. 

Will Luff deserves a special mention for his defensive workload, making countless tackles for the Bulls.

Unfortunately, three consecutive penalties in the final three minutes, including a silly high shot on a Tahs attacking player, allowed the visitors in good field position.

As a result, Jayden Stanton put the game away when scoring in the final play of the game; Hobbs hit the conversion and Tahs went home 27-21 winners. 

Wagga Waratahs 27 (Tries: Sam Carwadine, Jake Makeham, Nathanael Mooney, Harry Cooke, Jayden Stanton; Conversion: Tom Hobbs) defeated Tumut Bulls 21 (Tries: Phil Shaw, Pat Lemmich, Jon Carmody; Conversions: Tate O’Donovan 3).

In the second of the SIRU first grade matches played on Saturday, Wagga City kept their unbeaten record alive, demolishing CSU Reddies 75-nil. 

Darryl Hemopo crossed for no less than four tries in the victory, while Jesse Uhr also bagged a hat trick. 

SIRU first grade Standings: Wagga City 20, Waratahs 14, Bulls 5, Reddies 1.