New Bulls coach sets high expectations

Ray ‘JR’ Wells wants his Bulls fit and firing ahead of his arrival next month.

Incoming Bulls coach, Ray Wells, has a clear message for the Tumut Bulls playing group ahead of his arrival in early February – and that is get out the joggers and start running. 

In a letter penned to his playing group, Wells touched on expectations, and clearly aimed to motivate the Bulls, who finished at the bottom of the Southern Inland Rugby Union (SIRU) ladder last season. 

“Now we should be starting to get into the rugby mode,” Wells wrote to his playing group. 

“I know you had a late season last year, and it probably doesn’t seem like you have had much of a break (but) the positive out of that, should be that you have retained some conditioning.

“In January we should be picking up the training to the next level. What I’m looking for is kms under the feet, and of course, in the gym doing strength work. Get that base right and it will carry you through the season.”

Wells likened the upcoming preseason and season to a common metaphor, imploring his new playing group to be ready to take on new challenges ahead of a very different 2021 SIRU competition. 

“A little story that you’ve probably heard before, from a great mate and coach of mine, this season so far, is like standing at the train station on the platform and a train arrives,” Wells said. 

“You have the option of staying on the platform, where it’s safe and comfortable, or, taking a step onto the train and coming for a hell of a ride. 

“There will be disappointments, hard work and pain, but, we will all be on that same train ride, and what a ride it will be.”

Wells expressed his desire to not only have players working hard on fitness, but injuries too, as he wants to jump straight into training in February. 

“I know you’re playing touch/tag, which is great, but we need to be doing more,” Wells said. 

“Try not to be at the rugby ground, you’ll see enough of that during the season. If you can, get out and cross train, boxing, squash, cycling, swimming, canoeing, cross fit, especially if you can include family as well.  

“If you are carrying injuries they should have been dealt with straight after the season, if not, see to them now. 

“Don’t come to the first preseason training and telling me about some injury that you haven’t dealt with, I’m not interested (but) If it’s a long-term injury that you are rehabbing, different story.”

In a parting note to a no doubt excited Bulls playing group, Wells told the club to take their future into their own hands and be as ready as possible for the season ahead. 

“If I can say one thing to you all, control the controllable. What I mean is, if you want to play for Tumut Bulls, do everything in your power to be ready for the season. If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it,” Wells said. 

“I have set very high goals for myself and the team this season, which I do not think are unachievable and I know if we all buy into what the club and myself want to achieve, we will have a great season, but it starts with you all now. No excuses.”

Bulls forward, Karl Oliver, was excited by Wells’ approach to fitness and rugby, and said there was a playing group certainly looking forward to his arrival. 

“I must admit that I had been a bit hopeless getting out and talking to blokes about him, but from the small amount I have spoken with, there is big excitement about the club as a whole for the 2021 season,” Oliver said. 

“I think Ray brings a lot of professionalism with a good mix of old school, no excuses rugby. I’m personally very excited for a big season.”

Oliver believes a new coach and fresh ideas could have some players coming out of the woodwork for a game or two this season. 

“I do think the curiosity of a new bloke in town will bring a few out for sure,” Oliver said. 

“I think a good competitive preseason would really help bring a few blokes out as well.”

As far as getting fit ahead of Wells arrival, Oliver was still in holiday mode, but planned to get started as soon as possible. 

“Fitness is something I have always lacked since turning 18 and everything that comes with it,” Oliver laughed.

“But yes, once getting home from this holiday, it’s something I’ll be getting into that’s for sure.”