‘You can’t buy passion’

Tumut Blues backing local players 

Tumut Blues will have a ‘locals first’ philosophy as they prepare for the 2021 Group 9 competition. 

The club has signed a handful of local players, including Brayden Draber, Tommy Jeffery, Jacob Toppin, Andy Harris and Josh Webb, while the likes of Adam and Jed Pearce are close to signing on the dotted line, and should be confirmed by the end of next week.

“It’s very important that we signed these guys. The core group of our team are the local boys,” Blues co-coach, Lachlan Bristow said. 

“That is what we built a successful 2019 season around, and to get them keen and on board this year is a big deal.”

Bristow will be co-coaching alongside fellow Tumut product, Zac Masters, and he said a strong local playing contingent brought more to the side than any outside signing could. 

“110% it’s what we want. Like I’ve said before, they are the core group of the team, they bring so much, they are from the town and you can’t buy passion,” Bristow said. 

One player that will be expected to step up this year, is forward Tommy Jeffery, and Bristow said he had been training hard ahead of a bigger role within the Blues starting 13.  

“I am really excited to have Tommy again; he is very keen, and he has been training pretty hard and he is that little bit older and with that experience, he will have a lot to offer,” Bristow said. 

Bristow was particularly pleased to be leading the Tumut Blues into their centenary celebrations. 

“It’s really important for the club, it’s a huge milestone, and I’m sure we will give it everything we can,” Bristow said. 

Jeffery was another player keen to be involved in the club’s 100th year celebrations. 

“(I’m) stoked mate, we look to be shaping up for a good year and I can’t wait to be a part of it, hopefully we can make it a special one,” Jeffery said. 

One player back in Blue colours after a year off is Josh Webb, with the speedster sure to be fighting fit and ready for a big Group 9 showing after the upcoming Tumut Pub 9s. 

“I’m back on board, it’s unreal (and) a huge milestone for the club and it’s something special to be a part of, that’s for sure,” Webb said. 

“(I’m) feeling confident again, keen to have a run in the nines after not having a footy in my hands for 12 months and it will be good to get rid of the jitters heading into the Group 9 season.”

Webb flaunted the prospect of Tumut making a third straight grand final. 

“I reckon we will be in the big dance no doubt. It’s the third year with a very similar team from what I have heard is getting put together,” Webb said. 

In more good news, goal kicker and playmaker, Jacob Toppin, is pumped to be a member of the side that will lead the club into their 100th year. 

“It’s massive mate, to play for your hometown club, coming up through juniors, going through the tough years, and the last couple of years to be able to put the Blue jersey on in the clubs 100th year is a highlight of my career,” Toppin said. 

“There are so many great Blues players that weren’t lucky enough to be playing in the 100th year, so I just feel extremely lucky.”

Before the competition kicks off on April 10, Bristow said thew club will need to get through a tough pre-season, which commences on Friday night. 

“We will have a testing night, a few games but just keep it pretty cruisy and just have a bit of a mingle,” Bristow said. 

“It will get harder after that, but we are always keen to see some new faces and old faces there, especially coming into our 100th year.”

The club will continue to train on Friday nights until early February, when it will change to Thursday to coincide with the Tumut Pubs 9s.