First grade Bulls ready to charge

The Tumut Bulls first grade side in action in their impressive 2023 season.

BOUYED by making the finals last year, the Tumut Bulls first grade side is steadily building up for the Southern Inland Rugby Union opener against Wagga City at Jarrah Road Sportsground on April 6.

The signs are good as the game draws closer.

“Training’s been good; numbers have really picked up,” first grade coach Jon Carmody said.

“We’ve got four training runs between now and the first game. We’re getting about 25 to 30 players at training, which is good and similar to this stage last year.”

The Bulls have a distinctively international flavour to them this year, with Fijian, Argentine, French and English players in their ranks.

So far there haven’t been any major communication difficulties.

“So far so good,” Carmody said.

“Having players from different countries is interesting to an extent, but everyone understands the language of rugby.”

He said there was a good, positive vibe in the club, even if the pre-season didn’t go entirely to plan. 

“The only problem was we couldn’t organise a trial,” he said.

This was due to scheduling issues, like clashing with events like the Tumut Pub 9s. However, the Bulls weren’t on their own with this.

“It was the same for other clubs as well,” he said.

He said player enthusiasm and ambition is a bit better than last year.

“Their understanding of the systems is good,” he said. 

The Bulls will have the same amount of opponents in first grade this year, with the Deniliquin Drovers pulling out but the Leeton Phantoms re-entering the grade. 

Australia has slipped to ninth in the world rugby rankings, behind Italy, but Carmody isn’t concerned about the effect of this on the code at a more local level.

“If you look into it, rugby at a grass roots level is pretty strong; it’s going from strength to strength,” he said.

“Deni might have dropped out but Tumut, Leeton and Albury are fielding teams in all three grades. SIRU has been a strong competition since I’ve been around.”

Carmody is glad the strong Wagga City team are the Bulls’ first opponents.

“I’m looking forward to it because then we will know where we are at,” he said.

“They have been the strongest team for the last four years and they should be just as strong this year as well.”

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