Bulls face staggered start to season

The Bulls will kick off their 10-round SIRU season on July 18.

On Monday, Southern Inland Rugby Union released their draw for the 2020 season and if Tumut are to contend for the Walsh and Blair Cup, the club will have to deal with a staggered start to the season and the occasional split between first and second grade.

The SIRU first grade competition will commence on July 18 and will go for 10 rounds, with clubs playing each other three times before a grand final between the top two teams on September 26. 

Second grade and women’s 10s rugby will go for seven rounds, commencing one week later on July 26.

Each of the seven teams will play each other once before a three-week, top four final series; again, with the grand finals being played on September 26. 

These changes are primarily due to the fact that there are only four teams in first grade, while seven teams are entered in second grade and the women’s 10s competition. 

SIRU Competitions and Rugby Services Manager, Jack Heffernan said that there were some last-minute changes to the draw; but overall, he was very happy.

“On Monday morning, first grade was only playing two rounds, and a similar scenario with Tumut’s first and second grade teams only split twice,” Heffernan said. 

“Monday and Tuesday were a bit manic with one club suggesting they would play three rounds and the rest of the competition followed suit, meaning that we removed some byes and decided to play more rugby.”

Heffernan understood is wasn’t a perfect draw but indicated that he had received no negative feedback, which he hoped was a good sign. 

“It’s not perfect, and we are aware that it’s not perfect, but it shows that clubs are keen to play and it is a big step forward,” Heffernan said. 

“There hasn’t been a lot of feedback, which is probably a good thing. We haven’t had any one call and complain at this stage.” 

Bulls president, Jon Carmody was pleased with the draw, suggesting it was better than earlier drafts that were floated to SIRU club administrators.

“I don’t mind the draw; it is a lot better than the draft draw that I had seen earlier on Friday,” Carmody said. 

“There is a lot of football to be played, especially with the three rounds in first grade, compared to the two rounds that was originally going to be played.”

The Bulls president acknowledged that an away trip to Deniliquin to open up second grade’s campaign wasn’t ideal, but said that only being split from first grade twice was the real winner for the club. 

“With second grade, I know it’s a bit of a tough start going to Deni (Deniliquin) first up, but after that we only have the two games apart, which is good,” Carmody said. 

The Bulls did advocate to have as many games together, with the club essentially only playing two full days away from each other. 

“We pushed really hard to have more first and second grades games together, because it makes it a lot harder on us because we are teetering on the point of having two full teams, but if we have a few injuries it could be a very hard season,” Carmody said. 

Despite any grievances held by the Bulls or other teams in the competition, Carmody did find time to praise SIRU and Heffernan for getting a fair draw out in time for the season commencement. 

“Jack (Heffernan) has done a great job, I don’t envy his role and I imagine over the last week, dealing with the draw coming out and with certain clubs, he has probably had a few different phone calls and a few stern ones as well,” Carmody said. 

“At least we are playing rugby and it is good to see most clubs entering a team of some sorts and hopefully it is a good season.” 

Carmody indicated that a large majority of the playing group was content with the draw, and that most players were just keen to get back on the paddock and playing. 

“The feedback has been pretty positive so far, the draw has only been out for 24 hours or so, but I think a lot of people are happy with it and they understand it wasn’t going to be perfect and that is what it is.”

The Tumut Bulls will kick off their campaign with a home match against reigning SIRU champions, Waratahs at Jarrah Oval.  

Bulls first grade draw

July 18 v Waratahs (home)

July 25 v CSU (away)

August 1 v Wagga City (away)

August 8 v Waratahs (home)

August 15 v Waratahs (away)

August 22 v Wagga City (away)

August 29 v CSU (home) 

September 5 v Bye

September 12 v CSU (away)

September 19 v Wagga City (home)

September 25 v Grand final

Bulls second grade draw

July 18 – Bye

July 25 v Deniliquin (away)

August 1 v Bye

August 8 v Waratahs (home)

August 15 v Albury (home)

August 22 v Wagga City (away)

August 29 v CSU (home) 

September 5 v Leeton (home)

September 12 v Semi final 

September 19 v Preliminary final 

September 26 v Grand final

Bulls/Aggies women’s 10s draw

July 18 – Bye

July 25 v Hay (away)

August 1 v Bye

August 8 v Waratahs (home)

August 15 v Albury (home)

August 22 v Wagga City (away)

August 29 v CSU (home) 

September 5 v Leeton (home)

September 12 v Semi final 

September 19 v Preliminary final 

September 26 v Grand final