The Tumut Blues will hope that Josh Webb can carry the same exhilarating form that he showcased in the Tumut Pubs 9s earlier this year when the Group 9 competition eventually commences.
Webb, who played for the Bowlie Bears, was unstoppable at times, finding space and burning rival defenders on his way to being named as one of the two best players in the 2020 Tumut Pub 9s.
There is no disputing Webb’s potential either, with the enigmatic outside back proving to be one of, if not the quickest players in the Blues system.
Unfortunately, injuries curtailed Webb’s performances for the Blues in recent seasons, an issue Tumut co-coach Dean Bristow hopes is behind his talented finisher.
“He has obviously shown a hell of a lot of potential and can change a game, but he has been interrupted with injuries,” Bristow said.
“I know if he can stay injury free, he has the potential to be one of our best; he has also put on some size and strength, so I am expecting big things.”
When quizzed on the biggest strength Webb brought to the Blues lineup, Bristow touched on his ability to open up a game.
“Obviously his speed is his biggest attribute, there is no replacement for that, nine times out of 10, if he gets one on one, he can beat them, but we need to give him those opportunities,” Bristow said.
The 21-year-old has played a few positions for the Blues, featuring in the spine and on the edge, and Bristow plans on using Webb on the outside, giving the youngster a chance to get his confidence back.
“He needs that confidence, but once he gets it there will be no stopping him,” Bristow said.
“He would be looking at an outside back spot at the moment. We threw him in the deep end and played him at fullback and at five eighth when we probably shouldn’t have.
“I have no doubt in the years to come, he will slowly make his way into one of those key spots but for now, he needs to spend some time out wide.”
Webb said it would be interesting to see how he goes playing after the gyms were closed and the team was told they couldn’t train together, and suggested it could be a very interesting Group 9 competition.
“It’s good having a shortened season, but it’s hard not having gyms opened and not being able to train as a group,” Webb said.
“It’s going be a lot different this year, having no preseason games or trials; whoever comes out of the gates this year the strongest is going be the team to beat.”
Webb, who was named 18th man in the Blues grand final winning team in 2019, did joke that he had be dealt an unlucky hand with injuries, but stressed he had been keeping fit and ready for the season proper.
“I’ve had a few (injuries); I was pretty lucky through juniors to 18s with bugger all injuries, but I had hamstring issues all last year, broke my nose and the year before I dislocated my shoulder,” Webb said.
“I’m just trying to stay active through cardio, which is all I have been doing at this point of time, so I hope it holds up.”
When asked what his goal was for 2020, the response was sure to please Tumut Blues fans far and wide.
“I want us to go back-to-back,” Webb said.
“I just to stay healthy and chime in anywhere needed.”