Bulls face Goliath challenge

The Tumut Bulls take on Wagga City for the first time this season when the sides meet at Jarrah Oval on Saturday.

If the Bulls are to knock off Wagga City at Jarrah Oval on Saturday, it will take an effort similar to that of the parable, David and Goliath. 

City are every part the Goliath of the Southern Inland Rugby Union competition, having gone through 2020 without loss to win the first-grade premiership, while their unbeaten run has continued through the first eight rounds of the 2021 competition. 

The Boiled Lollies call on bucket loads of talent, headlined by the enigmatic Peter Little playing at flyhalf and speedsters Dylan McLachlan and Jesse Uhr lining up in the centres. 

Wagga’s forwards are just as dangerous and set a terrific platform for City, with Adam Mokotupu, Darryl Hemopo, Ben Schreiber, Pita Herangi and Rory Sheard just to name a few. 

Tumut on the other hand are coming off two tough losses to Wagga Waratahs; most recently going down 57-nil in an ugly drubbing at home. 

Coach Ray Wells was keeping things simple ahead of Saturday’s round nine match against the premiers, and he just wanted his players to get some confidence back.

“I think the big thing for us is getting that belief back,” Wells said.

“At the end of the day, yes they are a very good side, but they still have two legs, two arms and a body and we just have to be more accurate in what we are doing and treat the ball as gold and just don’t give it away.”

Energy and execution against City will be key according to Wells.

“Heck yeah, we need it. That’s the way we are going to stay in the game,” Wells said. 

“Having lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm and just holding that belief that we know what we are doing and can execute what we are doing.”

Tumut struggled at the breakdown against a classy Tahs forward pack on Saturday, and Wells said going back to basics had been a focal point at training this week. 

“We worked on our breakdowns last night and on Thursday we will go over it,” Wells said. 

“We need to be a lot stronger over the ball carrier and protect our ball better from getting counter-rucked.”

As far as matching City’s elusive backline, Wells was confident his players could get the job done and surprise the Wagga side.

“I think the big thing is, we need to get off the line and communicate,” Wells said. 

“When they do go wide, we shift, but keep the communication going, so when one shifts, everybody shifts and just keep pushing them to the sideline.”

It shapes as a tough weekend for all three Tumut grades, with a depleted Bulls second grade side currently outside of the top four and set to face a City side boasting five wins from six matches. 

The Bullettes figure as the club’s best chance of success, and can leap-frog the Wagga side with a win on Saturday.

Round nine of the SIRU competition will see two other first-grade games played, with Waratahs hosting Reddies at Conolly Park, while Griffith host Aggies in what is looking like a battle for third spot.