One half of Tumut’s formidable premiership-winning front row tandem won’t return this season with Jed Pearce choosing to sign on with the Queanbeyan Roos in the Canberra Raiders Cup competition.
Pearce, who was named one of the Group 9 front rowers of the year in 2019 along with teammate Zac Masters, will be a huge omission as the Blues chase back-to-back premierships.
Unfortunately for Tumut, Pearce’s decision to leave the Blues for a return to Queanbeyan was in part attributed to the draw, with the talented prop saying he had a preference for Saturday matches – something he wouldn’t get many of if he played in Group 9.
Sunday matches made the process of travelling to Tumut from his home-base in Queanbeyan an arduous task.
“The Saturday games Group 9 does have are just not consistent, so I decided to play in the Canberra competition, which basically plays every Saturday,” he said.
“I work down here (Queanbeyan) and then have to train Friday and spend my whole weekend in Tumut and wake up at 4.30am on Mondays to head back to work.
“I just wasn’t getting that chance to get things done at work or catch up with my friends and I couldn’t enjoy myself after games because I was getting up early for work.
“It was exhausting, I just needed to look after myself and this decision was the right one to make.”
The 25-year-old did suggest it would be hard to look on at Tumut’s results for next season, especially after winning a premiership with his junior club.
“Tumut is my home and those blokes are my best mates and I want them to do well and I have the upmost respect for the club,” he said.
“It will be tough seeing results and watching games but hopefully they can keep on winning.”
Pearce was excited to be returning to the Roos though; a club that has welcomed him back with open arms.
“I have a great relationship with the Roos, I get along with the president, the coach and all the boys and I can’t wait to be back playing for them,” he said.
“It should be another good year.”
Tumut Blues secretary Rose McCormick highlighted that Pearce would be a massive loss for 2020 and that other players in the club would really need to stand up.
“He will be missed,” she said.
“We are going to miss his impact, his team work and just how he was received by other players in the team,” she said.
“Players like Matt Byatt have some big shoes to fill and will need to step up.”
McCormick did reiterate that Tumut were chasing more Saturday games and hoped that Group 9 would eventually change to a Saturday competition.
“We have talked about the draw as well and we do have another three Saturday games that we are trying to get organised but that has to go through approval processes,” she said.
“Eventually, it would be good to see the competition just being played on Saturdays, so we could avoid losing players like Jed.”