For Jacob Sturt, there aren’t many better feelings than representing the Tumut Blues, so when the 20-year-old steps out onto McDonald’s Park on Sunday, he will be living his greatest rugby league moment.
“It means so much to me, I’m so proud to get the chance to put that jersey on every weekend, let alone playing in a grand final for the Blues,” Sturt said.
“It will by far be my proudest footy accomplishment yet.”
The Tumut Minor League product has had to overcome a few battles this season, and he nearly didn’t play for Tumut after signing with Wynnum-Manly in the Queensland Cup competition last year.
“I definitely didn’t think I’d be putting the Blues jersey back on for at least a few years’ time,” Sturt said.
Covid-19 put a stop to the Queensland competition. Subsequently, Sturt was back in Tumut and the big body was doing his best in the middle, helping the Blues to an undefeated record in the regular season.
Unfortunately, a late season training mishap almost cost Sturt his grand final chance, with the second rower missing Tumut’s final round win over Brothers and their semi-final loss to Gundagai.
Sturt made a return last weekend though, and stood out with some strong carries and real physicality in defence, showcasing why Tumut were so eager for his services this year.
“I’m really excited, it’s great just being back playing with the boys after missing the past couple weeks, but obviously being a grand final it’s even more exciting,” Sturt said.
Playing in his first senior grand final, Sturt said he didn’t want to lose focus on what needed to be done to win, while trying to keep his preparation as normal as possible.
“I’ll just be focusing on footy when I need to, so at training and when doing video,” Sturt said.
“Then switching off in between that and just going about everything as I normally would in a game week.”
In the ultimate compliment, Blues stalwart and 2019 premiership winning prop Jed Pearce praised Sturt for his efforts this year, suggesting he had more than held his own in the competition’s best engine room.
“The majority of what’s been said about us this year, is that our forward pack is the best in Group 9 and he is a massive part of that forward pack and our team,” Pearce said.
“And from what I have learned from him this year, he is a great player and big boy.”
Pearce said the young forward, who was built like a front rower, was excelling as a second rower.
“I am not sure if he wants to play middle or edge, but he has taken on that role out wide and runs good lines, and he is big, tough and strong and I can rely on him in defence,” Pearce said.
The young forward will have to be at his best on Sunday too, when faced with the task of the imposing Tigers pack.