Tumut Bulls call on Fijian firepower

Iosefo Morisi and Philip Shaw tried on Tumut Bulls colours for the first time on Tuesday night when training at Jarrah Oval.

The Tumut Bulls won’t die wondering if a 2020 Southern Inland Rugby Union competition gets off the ground, after making two very handy Fijian acquisitions.

Philip Shaw and Iosefo Morisi have joined the Bulls family, and the representative rugby union players are no doubt ready to add some class and firepower to a potentially very strong Bulls first XV.

Shaw, who was trialling with Parramatta Two Blues prior to Covid-19, plays in the centres, and had played in Kiama, the Hamilton Island and Darwin, playing sevens for the Sydney-based side.

Before coming to Australia, the towering Fijian played for the Tailevu province in Fiji during 2018, and was selected to play for the Fiji residential team to play against Great Britain’s and Australia’s Amateur Associations in 2019.

The 26-year-old also toured Canada with the Fijian Residents in 2019, but due to the Coronavirus, the Two Blues cut a lot of their players, and Shaw, along with Morisi, ended up with the Bulls family.

Shaw still has his sights set on playing professional rugby and is keen to use Tumut as a platform for bigger and better things.

“The best part of me joining this club is the opportunity; my dream is to step up to the professional level and with me starting here it makes a good platform for me to further my rugby career,” Shaw said.

Despite having his eyes firmly set on a professional rugby career, Shaw is enjoying his time in Tumut, however long that may be.

“What I enjoy the most is the people here; they are so friendly and kind and easy to get along with; I feel so happy with things right now,” Shaw said.

Morisi on the other hand brings a little more experience, adding some much needed knowledge and grunt to the Bulls front row.

Fondly referred to as Mo by the Bulls family, the burly prop can play anywhere in the front row and represented the Fiji under 20s army side in 2011 and played for the Fiji police representative side in 2013.

Morisi was then selected in Tailevu provincial team from 2014 to 2019, and in 2020, he made the move to Australia and was also trialling with the Parramatta Two Blues, joining their sevens team at Kiama and Byron Bay.

Morisi is also very focused on furthering his representative career, but also had dreams of leading the Bulls to SIRU success in 2020.

“I would like to make the next representative level, but mainly I want to see the Bulls win and hopefully take out the grand final,” Morisi said.

The 29-year-old was also feeling at home in Tumut, already finding his feet, and working hard to be fit for the start to the SIRU season, which is currently pencilled in for July 18.

“It’s like home; I love it here. The people over here are already like a family to me, the place has made me feel so welcome,” Morisi said.

Bulls’ coach, Jonathon Hulks, was understandably excited to have two more quality players to add to his list, and explained what both players would bring to his first grade side. 

“We will definitely have a solid front row with Mo being there, and just from the couple of weeks being around him, i can see he has the skill and class we need in the forward pack,” Hulks said.

“Phil has the size and speed at centre, but he also has a good football head and he seems committed to the Bulls family already.

“They both have that typical Fijian technique, respect and quality of football, which will go along way to helping us.”

Hulks was impressed by the way the pair had held themselves since arriving in Tumut, and believed they would only complement the Bulls and their back-to-basics approach this season.

“I’ve had them with me for a couple of days and they came and had dinner and we had a chat about how I foresee the future and how we are going to approach this competition,” Hulks said.

“With a very back-to-basics approach and a simpler way to play rugby, it sounds like it is going to play into their skillset.

“They are obviously able to play razzle dazzle football, but at the start, we are going to trim it back and work on our foundations, and they both seem happy and content to work with that and contribute to the Bulls.”

As far as the season ahead, Hulks is hoping the pair can help the Bulls back into finals rugby and possibly even a tilt at the SIRU premiership – a title that has eluded the Bulls for some time.

“With these two players, they give us a really good foundation to build on for the competition ahead. From round one to round nine, we now have a solid XV and some depth to call on,” Hulks said.