The Commercial Sharks snuck under the radar in the 2021 Tumut Pub 9s, with a young and energetic side finishing in a 24-all draw with Batlow for the Bristow/Madigan Plate.
There is no fooling anyone in 2022 though, with the Sharks certainly making their intentions clear, after loading up on fresh talent.
Will Casey (Woolpack Roosters), Mitch Ivill (Star Redmen), Brodie Mirtschin (Griffith) and Jordy Maher (Adelong) add to what was already a formidable Pub 9s team.
“We have a few fresh faces in the group for next season,” Captain/coach Preston Fuller said.
“Will Casey, Brodie Mirtschin and a couple of young blokes join us.
“We are also bringing back Mitch Ivill and Jeff Hanson, who will be big for us.”
Fuller said finishing in a draw with Batlow to finish off the 2021 competition was motivation enough as the Sharks prepare to emulate their Roddy Shield successes of 2017 and 2019.
“Last year was tough to swallow with it being a draw in the (Bristow/Madigan) Plate final,” Fuller said.
“I think we can definitely give it a good crack and go one step further.
“Our new blokes will really add spark in the middle of the field and break the games open in and around tired forwards.
“In saying that though, I think we’ll really compete on our edges again.”
With the barnstorming trio of Jon Carmody, Brodie Mirtschin and Jordy Maher setting the platform, the likes of Mitch Ivill, Josh Webb and Aidan Thomas should have all the room in the world to play some good attacking rugby league.
“I think we’d go close to having one of the best attacking sides for sure,” Fuller said.
“Mitch Ivill, Josh Webb, Will Casey, Brodie Mirtschin and Ethan Gilchrist and all of them blokes have speed and can really cause other teams’ problems.
“Not just them blokes but we have strike all across the park.”
One of the Pub 9s best in recent years has been Ivill, and he was pleased to be returning to his original club.
“I just felt like it was where I started out and I had a very enjoyable few years there,” Ivill said.
The talented finisher and Tumut Blues custodian believes Commercial can win the Roddy Shield for a third time in six years.
“I definitely do; I guess you could say the proof was in the pudding with the Sharks in the first few years when we were written off and went on to win comps,” Ivill said.
“Obviously we have a great few individual guys, but I think what will make us better is how we will play together as a team.”
The Sharks will kick off training early next month.
Commercial Sharks line-up: Preston Fuller (C), Josh Webb, Aidan Thomas, Jake Annetts, Cody McMahon, Matt Casey, Mitch Ivill, Will Casey, Mitch Casey, Flynn Piper-Bye, Jeff Hanson, Jon Carmody, Cam Dowling, Ethan Gilchrist, Jamie Forrest, Jordy Maher, Brodie Mirtschin.