The long wait is over

Tumut Bulls third grade coach, Matthew Hardwick, checks through his clipboard for the next drill while Jock Mason, Tate O’Donovan and Cooper Carter recover.

Football and rugby teams return to the paddock

There was a hive of activity around Tumut’s sports grounds on Tuesday night, with the Tumut Eagles and Tumut Bulls allowed to resume training for the first time in 12 weeks.

The Covid-19 crisis certainly didn’t dampen the mood at either the Bull Paddock with the Eagles, or Jarrah Oval with the Bulls, with jovial groups of coaches and players just happy to be back training.

Still, things were a little different though; with groups of players limited to 10 at the most, social distancing of 1.5 metres between individuals, and players were required to check in with club officials before commencing training.

Jamie O’Brien was one of the many Eagles in attendance at the Bull Paddock, and he was pleased to see such strong patronage at their first session back.

“It was a really good turn out actually. (There) had to be around 20 to 25, with plenty more wishing they could be there,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien praised coach Dylan Piper-Bye for the tough first-up session and touched on a few drills that kept players switched on and ready for anything.

“Coach Dylan did a great job keeping us on our toes, practising checking in and checking out, and quick two-touch releases to keep our ball play swift,” O’Brien said.

“Our final drill involved a crossbar challenge to finish with a bit of fun. The mighty Jack Brewis hit the target first strike; the crowd erupted.”

The Eagles might have enjoyed the session and the chance to catch up with friends, but that didn’t stop them putting in the hard yards either, with a real team spirit present for their return to training.

“Despite being our first session back, we put in the work, but also made sure we enjoyed ourselves after a painfully long wait,” O’Brien said.

“The best part was experiencing the electric Eagles spirit once again.

“There was lots of energy, high morale; that tribal comradery just can’t be felt anywhere else. It was good to be back.”

Over at Jarrah Oval, players were automatically segregated in groups on arrival, with Jonathon Hulks, Will Reynolds and Matthew Hardwick coaching their groups under the keen eye of David West, the club’s Covid-19 Safety Coordinator.

After warm ups and activation sessions that proved testing enough for players, an assault of running drills then had the Bulls breathing heavily at the end of the session.

Bullettes forward and club secretary, Monique Toppin, was just happy to be back training but called for more women to make their way to Jarrah Oval on Thursday.

“I was so excited to be back at training, it was great to be out there running around again,” Toppin said.

“I missed it so much. We didn’t have many girls there last night but I’m hoping to get some more there Thursday; if our season is to go ahead, we don’t have much time to prepare.”

Toppin hopes the fact that the Bulls have returned to training means some sort of season can get off the ground.

“Hopefully we get some more normality into the club and see what is left of our season, so we can go head and make it a great season,” Toppin said.

For those interested in attending either the Eagles or Bulls training sessions, they are encouraged to get in touch with the club beforehand so they can register their interest to train and play.