There was no questioning the effort by the Tumut Bulls when they made the trip to Conolly Park on Saturday to take on Wagga City.
The Bulls played the entire 80 minutes and wore their hearts on their sleeves but simply came up against a bigger, stronger, faster, and better rugby team, going down 46-13.
The open exchanges were exciting but City were more clinical and looked to be bubbling away at a potentially big performance.
The Bulls played some good rugby and after the first 40 minutes the score reflected that, with City only ahead 17-8.
The Boiled Lollies were heading into the match undefeated after two rounds and exploded in the second stanza; scoring four tries to run away with an easy victory.
Despite the loss, Bulls assistant coach Mitch Ivill was keeping relatively positive and said there were some good signs in the first 40 minutes.
“I thought we went quite well for a lot of the first half and we were sticking it to them, but we lost our way and the wheels fell off,” Ivill said.
The fullback said City’s different approach to rugby caught Tumut off guard, which essentially led to the visiting side’s downfall.
“I think they play a very different style of football than what we normally play. Our forwards are used to being a lot tighter around the ruck and they like to play their forwards out wide and they exploited that very well,” Ivill said.
The Bulls really struggled with set pieces on Saturday, giving up six scrums and four lineouts when in possession, which Ivill acknowledged before focusing on more positives in the result.
“Set pieces definitely killed us but in saying that our structure outside of that was really good,” Ivill said.
“We weren’t giving away penalties, which was really good, but we just need to adjust and work on those things and be better.”
City captain/coach Ben Schreiber gave Tumut credit for their early efforts and said the scoreline wasn’t a fair representation of the contest.
“We were off to a slow start and the Tumut boys came out of the gates firing. It took us a little while to adjust for that and they took it to us for the full 80 minutes,” Schreiber said.
“The scoreline doesn’t necessarily show that, but it was a tough game of footy out there today.”
The Wagga side, which is blessed with a very talented back line, did take longer than expected to utlise their attacking weapons; an aspect of the game Schreiber will take account of going forward.
“Tumut are strong through the forwards, once we started to play with a bit of width, we started to capitalize in those 10, 12 and 13 channels,” Schreiber said.
“We just took a bit longer than I would’ve liked; we got sucked in to playing a bit of a forward game like Tumut wanted and that’s why it was a tougher hit out than we would have hoped for.”
The City skipper did admit his side dominated the set pieces, which his side had been doing well this season.
“Our forwards have been leading us through this entire season. I can’t thank the boys enough in the forwards, they’re doing all the hard work for us, which we see in those really good scrums and lineouts,” Schreiber said.
When asked if his side was the benchmark for the Southern Inland Rugby Union first grade competition, Schreiber said it wasn’t something his side was thinking about right now.
“We really don’t like those kind of favourites tags. We just go out there and focus on the football and what we can control. We will continue to play our style of football and play what’s in front of us on the day,” Schreiber said.
In the second of the SIRU first grade matches, Wagga Waratahs won their second game of the season, defeating CSU Reddies 34-25 to move to outright second on the competition ladder.
SIRU Standings: Wagga City 6, Wagga Waratahs 4, Tumut Bulls 2, CSU Reddies 0.
City score win over Bulls after second half flurry of tries
The Tumut Bulls weren’t disgraced in the early stages of their match against Wagga City at Conolly Park on Saturday, forcing early turnovers with some punishing defence.
Unfortunately, consecutive lineouts lost whilst in possession had City camped in the Bulls half and after a wayward pass allowed the Boiled Lollies inside the 10, they scored after Peter Little crossed on the right edge; Drew Martin converting for a 7-nil lead.
The Bulls hit back shortly after when Mitch Ivill sliced the City defence with a terrific kick return, putting them in attacking field position.
After seven more phases of picking and driving, Coen Potter found the line for a well-earned try; Tate O’Donovan missed the conversion and City led 7-5.
City looked to have a golden scoring opportunity shortly after when an attacking lineout turn into a maul 5 metres out from the Bulls line, but some smart rugby from Jon Carmody stopped that in its tracks and Tumut escaped.
City and Bulls would then trade penalty conversions, meaning the scores were 10-8 before Drew Martin found space from the base of the breakdown, firing a pass to Nathan Smith, who scored on the left edge.
Martin would convert the try from the sideline, giving the home side a 17-8 lead.
Unfortunately, the Bulls really struggled with set pieces, giving up countless scrums and lineouts, which consistently had City on the attack.
After the half time break, City used this to their advantage and came out firing and quick tries to Peter Little and Jessie Uhr, which were both converted by Martin, had the home side sitting with a commanding 31-8 lead.
Tumut lost Lewis Simister to an apparent neck injury, which led to a delay in the game, and afterwards City continued the dominance, with James Olds and a bullocking Noa Rabici scoring to take the City’s lead to 46-8.
A late try to Mac Cusack took a little shine away from Wagga’s win and helped the Bulls leave with some pride but in the end the result was a telling 46-13 defeat.
Wagga City 46 (Tries: Peter Little 2, Nathan Smith, Jesse Uhr, James Olds, Noa Rabici; Conversions: Andrew Martin 4, James Olds; Penalty conversions: Andrew Martin, James Olds) defeated Tumut 13 (Tries: Coen Potter, Mac Cusack; Penalty conversion: Tate O’Donovan).