A field of white greeted the Tumba-Batlow Minor League and Tumut Minor League Clubs as they faced off at Batlow Showground in round ten of the Group 9 junior rugby league competition on Saturday.
With snow falling as low as 600 metres, Batlow had received a good dusting early in the morning, while snow continued to fall throughout the day, making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for junior rugby league players.
Tumut Minor League under 11s coach Ben Weir said his side was tickled pink to play in the snow.
“The kids loved it to be honest and my young fella thought it was absolutely great,” Weir said.
Weir, who himself has played in the snow before, explained it wasn’t as cold as it looked.
“It wasn’t as cold as what you thought, there wasn’t a big wind or anything,” Weir said.
“Through experience, I’ve played in the snow a couple of times, and it’s not as cold compared to when it’s raining and blowing a gale.”
Tumut’s under 11s looked to thrive in the icy conditions, winning 46-6, and still playing their expansive style of rugby league that has made them very hard to beat in 2021.
“The boys loved it,” Weir said.
“We won 46 to 6. They got in and scored, tackled and you would have thought it was a sunny day the way they were playing.
“It was good to see them get in and have a go.”
In what turned out to be a tough weekend for local sport after multiple downpours late last week, all Snowy Valleys Council’s sports grounds expect for Batlow Showground were closed to the public.
Weir said the recently refurbished Batlow ground handled the weather.
“It was good, they just spent all that money on it and returfed it and put drainage on it,” Weir said.
“I used to play there when I played grade and I honestly think there should be more footy played there.”
Tumba-Batlow Minor League President Derek Smith said it was tough going at times in Batlow, but he also believed his players and referees enjoyed the experience.
“They were the harshest conditions I’ve come across with junior footy in over a decade,” Smith said.
“It’ll be a day that will be remembered by all that played and will be a part of forming some strong bonds both now and into the future.”
Smith thanked all the hard-working volunteers and Tumut Minor League president Brad Baker, who all braved the cold and icy conditions so rugby league could be played.
“My thanks go to the ground set up crew and the referees,” Smith said.
“A couple of the Tumba-Batlow referees played their own games and then refereed the rest of the day. Thanks to the young Tumut referees who helped out.
“Also, thanks to the FAO’s, coaching and Leaguesafe personnel who braved the conditions. Footy doesn’t happen without these people.
“Lastly, Tumut President, Brad Baker was an enormous help on the day, helping out at short notice and is generally a wonderfully positive influence on junior rugby league.”
For more on a big day of rugby league in a snowy Batlow, including photos, readers can pick up Tuesday’s Tumut and Adelong Times.