THE prestigious Pub 9s rugby league competition returns on Friday, with the competition kicking off at Batlow Memorial Park.
The six-week long tournament, which offers women’s exhibition games for the first time, provides the village residents with the rare opportunity to see some top class rugby league in their own backyards.
The opening game, starting at 6pm, will feature a rematch of last year’s grand final when the Bowlie Bears defeated Tumbarumba.
The Tumut Blues board members have been busy organising the popular event.
Tumut Blues Old Boys treasurer Tony Roddy said it had been a difficult task as the former secretary Dossie Carr passed away on December 22 last year.
“Dossie played a key role and used to be the main player with this tournament,” Roddy said.
“It’s an annual competition where each team plays one another once.
“Since Dossie’s demise the rest of us, a small nucleus, picked it up and we’ve been scrambling to help organise it and have been working a fair bit on it.”
The three ladies’ teams that will participate in this year’s competition for the first time will include Tumbarumba Greens, Adelong Green and Gold and the Tumut Commercial Sharks.
“While the girls won’t play in the opening games at Batlow on Friday, due to poor lighting, they will play at Tumbarumba the following week,” Roddy said.
“There will be six men’s sides playing – Batlow Tigers, Tumbarumba Greens, Adelong Green and Gold, Woolpack Jets, Royal Devils and the Bowlie Bears.
“There are five rounds in the men’s competition, plus a sixth round which will be the finals games on March 15.
“After Batlow, the games will be played in Tumbarumba, then Adelong and in Tumut at Twickenham for the last two rounds and then the finals are also in Tumut.”
Roddy said the competition had been running since the 1960s through to the 90s, but went into recess for some years and had restarted again in 2015.
“In the finals, the top two sides play for the Roddy Shield and third and fourth play off for the Bristow Madigan Plate,” he said.
“On finals night, a composite ladies match will be played involving players from the three teams.
“Because we’re always working against the darkness, the format for the games will be 15-minute halves and no time added on for injuries – the clock will keep ticking, except in the finals games when they will play added time if the game ends in a draw.
“Each team will have a maximum roster of 15, which gives them six replacements and there will be unlimited interchange.”
Food and drink will be available at each of the venues.
“We charge a $2 entry fee and quite often we take more than $1000 so that’s 500 of a crowd,” Roddy said.
“It’s very well supported, particularly in the villages and it also helps us support our club, the Tumut Blues.
“The villages embraced having home games when we gave them the opportunity; it’s very popular and has worked very well so they wanted to do it again.
“It’s a great chance for the local community to cheer on their own team.
“A lot of the players might be playing in the seniors elsewhere, but they come home and represent their town or village, because if they’re a local junior they qualify for Pub 9s.”
Roddy encouraged rugby league fans to rally behind their local teams and attend some of the games on show at the various locations.
“Get there early to see some exciting open matches and lots of tries,” he said.