The Tumut Bulls plans for 2021 have been given a big boost with the news that English import Lewis Simister would be committing for next season.
The 28-year-old joined the club in March after moving from Manchester Rugby Club, and he was one of the club’s most consistent players, mixing between hooker and other positions in the forward pack during what was a tough season.
Simister said he has enjoyed his time in Australia and with the Bulls family, which is a major reason why he has committed for at least one more season.
“I’ve absolutely loved it, it’s certainly different from the big smoke that is Manchester, everybody has been so great and so nice and what have you,” Simister said.
“You guys have the scenery around here and the sports teams and I’ve been very fortunate to be involved with the Tumut Bulls and a great group of people.
“I loved every second of my time here, obviously taking into account the sluggish season we had and the coronavirus, and besides all of that, I am enjoying life right now.”
Tumut’s support of local clubs and athletes also swayed Simister towards another year with the Red and Black.
“Never have I been to a place that is so heavily sports driven, you have the rugby league, the rugby union, the cricket, the basketball and everything else that goes on,” Simister said.
“I went to a few Tigers and Blues derby games and what a crowd that was, I’ve never been to a semi-professional game where they pull in such a massive crowd like that, where everyone is so passionate, everyone is in their team colours and for me, that is what sport is all about.”
As far as preparing for next season, Simister said the Bulls needed more commitment, otherwise the club may again struggle in the strong Southern Inland Rugby Union competition.
“We need more commitment from the lads, bigger numbers, and not just on a Thursday training, but more importantly on a Tuesday,” Simister said.
“We were sometimes only getting five or six players there and that just isn’t good enough.”
The Pommy hooker explained more bodies at training meant the club could improve on areas of the game where the Bulls struggled.
“I think we just need a little bit more time in the way we prep things, but again that all comes down to numbers at training,” Simister said.
“If we don’t have the players there on a Tuesday and a Thursday, how are we meant to run certain drills and work on things we have done wrong.”
Simister was also tough on himself, after a string of yellow cards this season saw him as one of the most penalised players in the competition.
“I know there was a few yellow cards and what have you, but that is just the emotion and frustration getting the better of me,” Simister said.
“I do wear my hear on my sleeve but I would love to come back next season as a senior player, and especially for the younger lads, be that player they can look up to.
“There is time when you look back at those experiences or times you’ve had to learn the hard way and I need to do that before next season.”
Bulls coach Jonathan Hulks was happy to see players already committing to the club ahead of what will be a big 2021 in the SIRU competition.
“It’s definitely important to get these players locked in, we need that strong component if we are to build that side for next year and to continue building on what we started this year,” Hulks said.
“With the shortened season, we were still building good momentum at times and keeping those players means we can work on that foundation.”
The first-year Bulls coach said Simister was a key part of his squad, explaining that his energy on and off the paddock was one of his best qualities.
“He brings enthusiasm to start with, he is always wanting to give 110% and be that active player that tries to get the guys going,” Hulks said.
“You always want to have him around the club and keeping the team enthusiastic.
“He also has good motion at times in play, trying to switch up the plays, and he has come to play a different brand of football compared to what he was used to in England, and he has adapted well.”
Hulks and the Bulls, who have their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday night, will set the standard for 2021, with some major changes expected to happen on the committee, while Hulks is yet to know if he has the coaching job going into next year.