After laying out the Oriental Colts 38-4 at Twickenham Oval on Friday night, it is no surprise to see the Woolpack Roosters with three players in the Tumut Pub 9s team of the week.
Matt Tozer was the puppet master in the strong Roosters victory, with the enigmatic playmaker finding plenty of space around the ruck and causing the Colts massive headaches.
Woolpack winger Brodie Sutton opened up the scoring for the Roosters, showing off his sizzling speed with a terrific try.
The dangerous winger wasn’t as heavily involved but when he did touch the ball, the finisher made things happen and looks a very dangerous attacking option as the competition progresses.
Hunter Lee was arguably the best for the Roosters, scoring three tries and just outpacing opposition defenders whenever he touched the ball.
Lee will complement Sutton nicely, with both players covering the Roosters flanks.
In a losing side, veteran Matt Richards looked the most likely, making telling runs and keeping the Colts in the game early.
The premiership winning Blue looks in good shape and could be a blessing in disguise for the young Tumut reserve grade side in 2020.
In a tight second match that saw Adelong win a one-try contest over Star, Lewis Arragon was the best on the field, defending stoutly and running with purpose.
On the other side of the ball, Tate O’Donovan looked dangerous whenever in possession, while Tom Jamieson was very hard to tackle and looks to be a not-so-secret weapon for the Green and Gold as the season progresses.
In the thrilling contest between Bowlie and Royal, Josh Webb was a standout, scoring some great tries, including the match winner after the siren.
Young hooker Ethan Gilchrist was probing in attack and strong in defence, even scoring the first try of the match to give Bowlie the lead.
Despite the loss, Devils playmaker Stephen Gill looked likely at times and was the best player in a losing side.
Gill, who has been training with the Blues, could be one to put pressure on a talented Tumut Blues spine if his 9s form is anything to go off.
In the tight match between Tumbarumba and Batlow, current Blues halfback Jordy Anderson showed off his strong defensive attributes and made some telling carries.
Anderson worked tirelessly without a break and was the difference in the result, leading the Greens to a good victory.
Tumut and Adelong Times team of the week: Matthew Tozer, Hunter Lee, Brodie Sutton, Matt Richards, Josh Webb, Ethan Gilchrist Stephen Gill, Tate O’Donovan, Lewis Arragon, Jordan Anderson, Tom Jamieson.
New-look Sharks thinking of the future
Perennial Pub 9s heavyweights Commercial Sharks might look a shell of their former selves but there are certainly signs there that the future is looking bright.
The Sharks were beaten comfortably in round one by the Batlow Tigers before going down in a tight contest to the unbeaten Tumbarumba Greens in round two.
Still, the new-look side calls on one of the youngest rosters in the competition, with the likes of McKinley Somner, Isaiah Coe, Koupa Ridley, Malik Aitken, Will Booby, Aidan Thomas and Preston Fuller all still under 19 years of age.
Veteran Shark Jon Carmody described the first couple of rounds and wanted to stress that the competition was about having some fun.
“The first round was a bit of a mess with mostly new faces and having not played any football together, so that was to be expected,” he said.
“The second game was a lot better with the message being have fun and enjoy the game, which showed.”
Carmody, who has won two Roddy Shields with Commercial, explained that the current playing group wasn’t the same as previous years but there was potential going forward.
“It’s very rare you win a competition with a new team in the first season,” he said.
“It has been a really strong team in the last couple of years with some of the best young athletes in this region a part of it, but the current team has a lot of potential, especially if they keep together,” he said.
Still, for the mean time, the Sharks have a challenging season ahead, especially with round four and five fixtures against the unbeaten Woolpack Roosters and talented Royal Devils.
“With the games on Friday, they’re not going to be easy, but if we get a few things go our way, you never know what could happen,” he said.
Devils in the detail
The Royal Devils are a certainly a mysterious and somewhat perplexing playing group, with the ability to give the Tumut Pub 9s a genuine shake up.
Still, after three rounds, the Devils have only won once from three games, most recently giving up a late lead to the Bowlie Bears, losing 19-15.
In round one, they gave the unbeaten Woolpack Roosters a run for their money, going down 19-10 before beating the impressive Adelong Green and Gold 17-8.
The Devils have arguably the best playmaker in the competition is Stephen Gill and a heap of firepower out wide with Shane Herrington and Chris Bell winding back the clock to be very dangerous.
Still, winning hasn’t come easily and the Royal will need to finish off the season strongly if they are to figure in the top four.
Herrington, who has been one of the best for the Devils, was hoping to see more consistent performances from his side.
“We need to finish the games the way we start them,” he said.
“At times we have become complacent and that’s been our downfall.”
The veteran agreed that his side could win the competition but acknowledged that they boast an unusual mix of experience and youth that needed to combine better.
“We have the potential to shake up the whole competition but we need to play the full game,” he said.
“The young players are stepping up to the plate and the older fellas are leading the team around but we really need to work in with each other.”
Herrington believes their round two win over Adelong showcased their potential and he wants this to be motivation ahead of tonight’s games against the unbeaten Tumbarumba Greens and struggling Commercial Sharks.
“Beating Adelong proved we are up to the standard to compete against those top teams but we need to start winning if we want to make that top four,” he said.
Bears and Redmen ready for match of the round
The round four fixture between the Bowlie Bears and Star Redmen will garner plenty of attention with pride definitely on the line.
Both sides have a heavy Tumut Blues influence, made up of mostly current reserve graders or former Blues juniors.
Mate ship will go out the window for 18 minutes or so on Friday though as these sides trade blows in what is sure to be an enthralling encounter.
Star playmaker Hammo Clear was playing up the fixture, suggesting it was the ultimate rivalry match.
“Bragging rights is definitely on the line with all of us being mates,” he said.
“I even hear Lewis Arragon is out to get Billy Skein, so there will be some fireworks for sure.”
The Redmen will enter the match as favourites but will be smarting after a shock loss to Adelong, while Bowlie put consecutive losses behind them to beat the Devils last week.
Record start for Tumut Pub 9s
The Tumut Blues and Oldboys Supporters Club are reveling in the early success of the 2020 Tumut Pub 9s.
After an enormous first round gate of over $1700, the second round of the competition had another boisterous crowd with over $1500 taken at the gate.
Club president Barry Madigan was understandably pleased with the early success of the competition.
“It has been very good; very good indeed,” Madigan said.
“I think it would have to be a record-breaking amount for the first two rounds.”
Madigan is hoping big crowds continue to support the nines tonight and for the remainder of the competition.
“The weather gods have been good to us and the only failure that we can for see would be a big deluge of rain or it being 40 degrees or more,” Madigan said.
“Friday (today) looks to be another kind forcast.”
It also looks as though the Tumut Oldboys stumbled into a good thing, with the double-header fixtures proving popular for players and fans.
“I think the double rounds have been a necessity and been received really well,” Madigan said.