During rounds six and seven of the Tumut Pub 9s, some of the competition’s most credentialed players have had very strong showings.
Adelong demonstrated toughness in their 9-6 victory over Tumbarumba and Corey Wilson and Tate O’Donovan were standouts.
Wilson adds a touch of class whenever in possession and O’Donovan continues to be a ball of energy in defence and attack.
Ethan Gilchrist is another classy player making his presence felt for the Bears, with strong defence and clever work from acting half and first receiver.
Gilchrist compliments players such as Josh Webb, who then captilise on the handy work of Gilchrist in the middle of the field.
The Star had an emphatic victory over Tumbarumba in their second game and Matt Power was the best player on the field.
The hard working second rower was strong in defence and proved to be very hard to stop when he was in possession.
In a losing team, Mal Aitken shone for the Commercial Sharks, and was arguably one of the best players in action on Friday night.
The diminutive playmaker was hard to tackle; making multiple probing runs, and helped the Sharks into better field position.
For the Royal Devils, Chris Hartshorn had his best night of the competition, playing well in both attack and defence.
The former Tumut Bull, who will turn out for Wagga City this season, is proving just how much of a loss he will be to the local playing ranks.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a team of the week without a few Woolpack Roosters making their presence felt.
Tommy Jeffery is surely in for a blockbuster season for the Tumut Blues after showcasing some devastating form for the Roosters in the 2020 competition.
The damaging second rower has been playing on the fringes and consistently breaks the line before finding support.
Jeffery has been playing off the impeccable work of Matt Tozer, who has been pulling all the strings for the Roosters.
The reserve grade hooker has been sensational at first receiver and he will be in for a big season this year with the Tumut Blues.
The beneficiary of this playmaking has certainly been speedster Brodie Sutton.
The winger, who would nearly be the fastest player in the competition, was in good form again on Friday night and scored the match-winning try for the Roosters against the Star in their first fixture.
Tumut and Adelong Times team of the week: Corey Wilson, Tate O’Donovan, Ethan Gilchrist, Josh Webb, Matt Power, Mal Aitken, Tommy Jeffery, Matt Tozer, Chris Hartshorn, Brodie Sutton.
Webb rockets up best and fairest standings
Bowlie Bears finisher Josh Webb has come from the clouds with two emphatic performances on Friday night to take top spot on the Tumut Pub 9s best and fairest ladder.
Webb finished with three points in each of the Bowlie’s dominant victories over the Batlow Tigers and Commercial Sharks; moving him past the likes of Jesse Bellchambers, Tate O’Donovan and Tyron Gorman.
Webb was a little surprised to find out he was atop of the leaderboard and suggested it might change soon enough.
“I didn’t know about it and it’s a good feeling I suppose but I don’t know how long it will stand,” Webb laughed.
The Tumut Blues outside back said that winning overall playing honours would be nice but his focus was on the team’s success first and foremost.
“It would be good to win it (best and fairest) but I’d rather win the competition,” Webb said.
When asked what made him so dangerous in the shorter format of the game, Webb looked to one particular attribute.
“It helps being fast,” Webb laughed.
“I know it’s a simple statement but it can’t be substituted.”
It has been a good period for Webb, who suffered through much of 2019 with injuries, and he openly admitted that he was finally enjoying his rugby league again.
“My form would have to be from the enjoyment of playing footy again,” Webb said.
“Playing with my mates makes things easier and more enjoyable.”
When asked how he and the Bears would continue their good form into the competition deciders, Webb wanted to keep things simple.
“Not over complicating it. The team does the simple things right and plays eyes up footy and that will always lead to a win in my eyes,” Webb said.
Bears to bring the fireworks
The Bowlie Bears will be taking an aggressive attitude into their round eight Tumut Pub 9s fixture against the Tumbarumba Greens tonight.
The Bears currently sit in equal second place with the Adelong Green and Gold and will want to win and improve their for-and-against if they are a chance of progressing through to the Roddy Shield decider.
After a slow start, that included round one and two losses to the Woolpack Roosters and Adelong, the Bears have won five straight games and have lit up Twickenham with some explosive rugby league in recent weeks.
Team representative Jarrad Rossiter explained that the shortened halves associated with the double-header fixtures caught the Bears off guard initially but went on to say that the Bears were hitting form at the right time.
“We weren’t ready for the nine-minute format and we were caught with our pants down,” Rossiter said.
“We didn’t have the right game plan in place but we have adjusted and now we are hitting our straps at the right time of the competition.”
Unfortunately for the Bowlie, they have a bye in the final round and they will be relying on the Woolpack Roosters to beat the Green and Gold if they are to finish second.
If the Woolpack do win that final round, it will come down to for and against and the Bowlie are hoping to address that against Tumbarumba.
“We are going in to win and win big,” Rossiter said.
“We know how it stands and what we need to do.”
Rossiter is looking to some of his more experienced players to steer the ship on Friday night and lead the team to a dominant victory.
“Some of the older heads like Matty Free and Shane Jeffery will be back and Jack Dean and Mitchell Smith will help the younger fellas,” Rossiter said.
Despite the overall goal of progressing to the Roddy Shield decider, Rossiter didn’t want his side to lose sight of the match ahead and the challenge that Tumbarumba could pose.
“We don’t want to take Tumbarumba for granted, if they bring their full squad down, they will be hard to beat and if we don’t have the right attitude we wont win,” Rossiter said.
Redmen with last roll of the dice
It’s a fairly simple predicament for the Star Redmen as they prepare for an enthralling encounter with the Royal Devils tonight; win and they are still a chance of finals but lose and they are finished.
Star currently sits in fifth and are two points off the fourth-placed Royal Devils with only two rounds left.
Both sides would be expected to win their final round games against the Commercial Sharks and Batlow Tigers respectively, so tonight’s result carries a lot of weight.
It comes as a surprise to see the Redmen battling for a place in the top four, especially when you consider their imposing line.
Redmen representative Scott Groves doesn’t think his side has played poorly but more that they have just been unlucky not to get a result go their way.
“We have been going well but we have been beaten narrowly,” Groves said.
“We have had three narrow losses and too much dropped pill, which hasn’t helped at all.”
Groves said his team was fit and firing but it would be a hard task against the Royal tonight.
“We are probably the fittest team in the competition and we played well last week but Royal are starting to come good and it won’t be easy against them,” he said.
Bowlie Bears protest upheld
The Tumut Oldboys and Supporters Club have made the decision to change the score of the match played between the Bowlie Bears and Batlow Tigers on Friday night.
Initially, the game ended at 30-nil in favour of the Bears but it wasn’t without some half time controversy, after a try to Brad Gilchrist, that was awarded a try by the on field officials, was later disallowed by the Old Boys after the preceeding penalty was taken after regular time had elapsed.
After the dust had settled, a formal protest was lodged by the Bowlie Bears, requesting the try be allowed and that the for and against for the competition was adjusted.
After consideration of the protest, the competition organisers decided to award the golden try and conversion, in turn changing the result to 37-nil.
In an email sent out to Tumut Pub 9s team representatives on Thursday morning by Old Boy secretary Dossie Carr, the ruling was clarified.
“After consultation with match officials and a meeting of the Old Boys, the committee reached the following decision,” the email read.
“The committee was advised that a half is not deemed to be completed until the on ground official signals by hand and whistle that play had concluded for that half.
“With the above being the case, the committee had no hesitation in reinstating the seven points to the Bears score, which takes the final score for that match to Bears 37-Tigers 0.”
The change in result is important, as it moves the Bowlie Bears to second on the Tumut Pub 9s ladder, ahead of Adelong on points differential.
Bears representative Jarrad Rossiter said it was an important decision in the scheme of the competition and grand final positions.
“It could be very important in the final calculations, we might need those points,” Rossiter said.
“Results will be important, we will see how things go and how Woolpack handle Adelong in the last round.”