The Commercial Sharks will turn to 18-year-old playmaker, Preston Fuller, to lead the way as they prepare for the Tumut Pub 9s in 2021.
The usually strong Sharks were left to fend for themselves in 2020, with a handful of key players leaving the fold, and as a result, Commercial went through the competition winless.
Fuller, who joined the Tumut Blues Weissel Cup team from Albury last season, was still a standout for Commercial, and despite being thrust into the coaching role, he was looking forward to the opportunity.
“We couldn’t find anyone to lead us so I put my hand up to take on a new little challenge and thought it’d be a bit of fun at the same time,” Fuller said.
“It’s looking good at the moment; we have a few quick blokes and a few big bodies. I’m pretty confident we’ll turn it around this year and have a good crack.”
Fuller, who likes the idea of the Tumut Pub 9s as a preseason fitness competition, is old enough to play senior rugby league in 2021, but still has the option to play down for the under 18s, which would see him a part of a smart Tumut Weissel Cup side.
“It’s a good little comp before the footy season to get a feel for it again, I’ll be playing for Blues again next year, (I’m) just undecided what age I’ll be playing,” Fuller said.
“I’m able to play down, which is pretty tempting. I’ll be able to play with the same blokes as this year and it will be a pretty damaging side.”
For the time being, Fuller is focused on lifting Commercial off the bottom of the Tumut Pub 9s ladder, and will be buoyed by the news that Josh Webb is returning to the club.
“It’s good to have him in the team, he’ll be a big bonus with his speed and strength. Everyone is keen to play alongside him,” Fuller said.
Webb, who played for the Bowlie Bears this season, believes he can help Commercial back to the same heights that saw them win the Roddy Shield in 2016 and 2018.
“I played my first three or four years at the Commercial before I went and played for the Bowlie. It just wasn’t good watching them struggle last year, so I thought I’d come back and have a run with them to help them out a bit,” Webb said.
“I’m confident we will turn it around and improve.”
Webb will combine with livewire players such as Fuller, Mal Aitken and Aidan Thomas, which Webb was looking forward too.
“Young Mal and Preston are there, and Aiden Thomas be another one who is going to be fun to play with,” Webb said.
Webb hoped the Commercial would get back to enjoying their rugby league and pass the ball around and open the field up, similar to their style when they won in the competition in previous years.
“When I first played at the Sharks, it was on every play, so hopefully we can throw the ball around this year; you have to score points to win,” Webb said.
As far as the team to beat, Webb had the Woolpack on top.
“I believe it’s the Woolpack again, they play nines how it should be played; not structed and fast,” Webb said.