After spending the last two seasons playing rugby union with the Tumut Bulls, Mitch Ivill will return to rugby league and the Blues in 2021.
Ivill last turned out in Group 9 in 2018, making a name for himself on the edge, highlighted by a five try haul in one emphatic performance against Albury.
The 24-year-old was excited to be back with the 2019 premiers and 2020 grand finalists and explained what motivated the move.
“I think a big draw card was the fact some of Tumut’s best players of my time are back playing at the club, like Jed (Pearce), Lachlan (Bristow) and Zac (Masters), and I wanted a chance to play a bit of footy with them,” Ivill said.
“It’s also a change of pace and looking at the strength and skills of the Blues is a big bonus, and I’ll get the chance to play with fellas I’ve looked up to, and a lot of fellas I played juniors with.”
Ivill said the move wasn’t based on the current positions of either club, instead hinting he was after a bigger challenge on the paddock.
“It’s definitely good to see the club (Blues) doing so well, but that’s not really the reason why I’m moving,” Ivill said.
“In the same sense, the Bulls are in a bit of a rebuilding phase, but that wasn’t a driving factor for me to part ways with them either.
“I’m at a different point in my life, and I’m a bit older and I’m looking forward to the new challenge.”
Part of the reason why Ivill was so keen to pull on the Blue colours in the Group 9 competition is the opportunity to make the fullback position his own.
“Yeah, I definitely want to play fullback, that is my number one goal, especially with the big forward pack Tumut has,” Ivill said.
“I really want to play off the back of them, but in saying that, I am still happy to play wherever I’m utilised.”
The 2019/20 Southern Inland Rugby Union representative fullback played a full season in SIRU in 2020, sharing the first-grade coaching honours with Jonathan Hulks, while a shoulder injury cut short his 2019 season.
Tumut blues co-coach, Zac Masters, said Ivill’s experience coaching the Bulls would prove invaluable to the Blues as they searched for their second Group 9 title in three years.
“It’s great to have him back in the Blue jumper,” Masters said.
“Hook (Lachlan Bristow) and I got the idea in our heads that he has been away, and he has that experience now after coaching the Bulls, and to bring that back to our side would be awesome.”
Masters also thought Ivill would add some x-factor to a backline that includes Brayden Draber, Josh Webb, Andy Harris, and potentially Tolo Oroha Tuinauvai.
“It’s massive having Mitch. We have been renowned over the last couple of years for having that big forward pack, and it gives him the opportunity now to play off the back of that, whereas in previous years, he probably hasn’t had that opportunity and he will enjoy that a lot this year,” Masters said.
“We are really looking forward to having that exciting backline. Hopefully we do get Tolo over the line, because we will have a very good back line and should score some nice tries over the year.”