Whether it is turning out for the Tumut Bulls in a coaching, committee member or playing capacity, or representing the region as a Southern Inland Rugby Union board member, Will Reynolds is a rugby tragic.
The former Bulls president has been playing for the club since 2004 and despite suggesting his playing days are numbered, he consistently turns out for the Red and Black.
“It is hard to put down in words, footy has always been part of my life and I suppose the Bulls are part of my life now,” Reynolds said.
“It’s what I have always done and it’s what I do with the kids, I love the game and have a passion for the Bulls.”
As a result, it was no surprise to see the 33-year-old named as the Bulls second grade coach for 2020, with the rangy second rower a perfect fit for a club wanting to rebound after a tough 2019.
Reynolds said that this season wasn’t about results and that he didn’t want any pressure on performances, and instead he wanted to see players enjoying the sport.
“We have always said that one half of rugby is on the field, and the other half is social, and that is important to me,” Reynolds said.
“Blokes who are having fun are always going to play better rugby. If you’re not having fun, you’re not going to be winning.”
This unique philosophy is a big part of why the Tumut Bulls is one of the more revered clubs in not only SIRU, but also the Riverina, and Reynolds is keen to continue opening up the club to those who want to enjoy the culture.
“Historically rugby has been for rural players and blokes who go away for school, but we have opened up our arms for anyone who wants to join, anyone who wants to play rugby is welcome,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds, who is lauded as being one of the members who helped change the culture of the Bulls, didn’t want the praise and instead thanked other club legends
“We have really turned things around but that was through Chappy (Mat Chapman, Jock (Mason) and Carmo (Chris Carmody); they opened the club up to all players and got a lot of interest from a lot of players who would have never played the game,” Reynolds said.
In addition to coaching second grade, Reynolds is also enjoying his time on the SIRU board but admitted he was still learning the nuisances of the role.
“I spent four years as president (of the Tumut Bulls) and I asked a couple of the existing board members about joining the SIRU board and they all told me to put my name down,” Reynolds said.
“It has been good, you see the game in a whole different perspective, all the different facets and all the work behind the scenes, but I am still learning and getting used to it all.”
Bulls’ stalwart and former captain and coach, Mat Chapman, said that Reynolds epitomised the meaning of being a Bull, both on and off the paddock, even reminiscing about his earlier days with the club.
“Willy’s level of commitment to the club could never be questioned, as he has been boots and all since returning home from boarding school at 16,” Chapman said.
“Then he was a raw, lightning fast breakaway, who was quite meek on the footy field.
”Will had tonnes of ability and it probably wasn’t until he played with Grant Prior that I really thought that he developed into the enforcer roll that many knew him for.”
Chapman explained that Reynolds soon developed into a leader of the club and that he believed that being a Tumut Bull was more than just playing rugby on a Saturday.
“By the time he was 21, he was a club veteran and took his role within the club very seriously,” Chapman said.
“At the time we had an extremely strong emphasis on the importance of being a Bull off the field as well as on it [and] Will shone at this.”
As far as the coaching side of things, Reynolds sounds like the perfect fix for the Bulls second grade team.
“It may not be all stats and game plans. It will be about fun and comradery, which I think is what lower grade footy should be,” Chapman sad.
“I also think that he will ask the players to buy in on being a club person, much like himself.
“Similar to how he was on the field. He will lead by his actions.”