With only five rounds of the Southern Inland Rugby Union (SIRU) season left to play, the Bulls will enter every remaining round with a ‘do-or-die’ focus or risk missing a place in the top four for the third consecutive season.
Tomorrow, a fifth placed Tumut host a fourth placed Albury Steamers at Jarrah Oval, and a loss will all but kiss goodbye Tumut’s chances of lifting any silverware in 2021.
Bulls fly half Harrison Friswell highlighted just what the game meant to him and his playing group.
“A win for us is massive; we’ve had an up and down season and have made huge improvements,” Friswell said.
“Saturday is do-or-die for us and we are all buzzing for a tough game at Jarrah – tough and wet by the looks of it.”
With the predicted wet weather, Tumut’s big forward pack will have a chance to roll through the Steamers, and Friswell said the muddier conditions should suit his side, who are desperate for victory.
“I like the idea of it being wet under foot; we often get 15 to 20 minutes into a game and need a catalyst to get us going, hopefully the rain combined with the “now or never” position we are in will mean we start strong,” Friswell said.
Tumut won’t veer away from playing expansive rugby either, and according to Friswell, they will play what is in front of them.
“We will stick to the same game plan and look to spread the ball but we’ll be more than happy to tighten things up where necessary,” Friswell said.
“Kicking with purpose and chasing well will mean we will try and camp in their territory and apply pressure with our line speed.”
Tumut has played well at times in 2021, and Friswell believed the Red and Blacks were capable of playing the rugby that was needed to compete against the top SIRU sides.
“Everyone has a role to play in this team and I think we have turned a corner in terms of understanding what these roles are,” Friswell said.
“I am excited to see (Will) Kingwill and Carmo (Jon Carmody) go forward in the wet in front of the home crowd (and) our back line has clicked and has some serious strike power out wide.
“Devan Stoltz outside of me is someone I will be looking for, to help me direct the troops and play smart footy. He has a great head on him and a calming nature, which is important to help balance all the Fijian flair we possess out wide.
“We will need to get off the line and physically dominate Albury; if we can stick it to them early on and grind them down, I am confident we can look after the ball well enough to score points.”
Tumut head into the match after a strong 41-34 come from behind victory over Ag College in round 13, while Albury went down to Griffith 32-21 at home.
The Steamers won’t be easy beats on Saturday though, and their coach James Kora explained that his side was as equally motivated to get the win.
“It’s a huge game for us,” Kora said.
“We were a bit disappointed with our loss against Griffith last week and we want to bounce back against Tumut this week.”
Travelling to Jarrah Oval is never an easy task, and Kora expected that Saturday’s predicted conditions would play into the hands of the hosts.
“Tumut are going to be really tough, especially in the wet,” Kora said.
“Tumut, along with Griffith, are the two hardest trips to make each year.”
Albury accounted for Tumut 36-17 way back in round five but Kora and his Steamers were expecting a tougher contest tomorrow.
“They have a very tough forward pack and their scrum is very dominating, the only thing that let them down when they played here (in Albury) was their one percenters,” Kora said.
“Things like dropping the ball at the wrong time and those little mistakes cost them and I’m sure they have fixed those problems.”
Albury are travelling to win and will bring a full-strength side to the foot of the mountains.
“We are full strength. We should be pretty much playing them as we did back early this season and the boys all want to win,” Kora said.
It shapes as another big day for the Bulls at home on Saturday, with the club also celebrating ladies day.
Second grade kicks off the day at 12.55pm, hosting a last-placed Albury Steamers before the Bullettes take the field against the third placed Albury at 2.20pm.
Saturday kick-off times
2.20pm: Women’s 10s