Bulls building in confidence ahead of tough City clash

Tate O’Donovan believes the Bulls are building towards a big second half of the SIRU season.

The Tumut Bulls will enter Saturday’s round nine Southern Inland Rugby Union (SIRU) clash as massive underdogs when taking on the top of the table and unbeaten Wagga City at Jarrah Oval. 

The Boiled Lollies have not been beaten since 2019, going through the 2020 and 2021 seasons with perfect records, while they have started 2022 in similar fashion. 

Tumut on the other hand struggled in the early stages of this season, losing four games on the trot before turning that around with a 101-15 win over Leeton before toughing out a gritty 18-15 win over CSU.

After a bye in round eight, Bulls playmaker Tate O’Donovan said his side is fresh and firing to test themselves against the competition’s ‘benchmark’.

“This is the benchmark game for us,” O’Donovan said. 

“We are getting to the halfway mark, and we are starting to play some good rugby, but this is really our tester and the game to see where we are at as a team and a club and what we need to do to improve going into the back half of the competition.”

The Bulls currently sit in sixth-place on the SIRU first grade ladder, some seven points off the fourth-placed Albury-Wodonga, and O’Donovan said the Tumut playing group were still working hard to qualify for finals and that a good effort against City would keep the Bulls heading in the right direction. 

“The ultimate goal is to make finals and to give ourselves a sniff at glory, but we need to take it week-by-week and we know it will be hard coming up against an unbeaten City side,” O’Donovan said. 

“We just need to keep doing everything right, stick to our game plan, play to the conditions and hopefully get a result.” 

A cool and wet week is expected to continue over the weekend, and it could very well be a forward’s game at Jarrah Oval.

“We have been playing off the back of our forwards this year, and they have been going outstanding,” O’Donovan said. 

“From a backs point of view, that’s all you can ask for and it allows us to play our footy, and with the wet conditions, it could be a bit of a sludge match, and it will be hard but our forwards are playing good footy.

“Blokes like Will Kingwill and Jon Carmody are playing the best footy I’ve ever seen them play, and hopefully they can take control and we can play off the back of them.

“Plus, with it being at home, and a big round for multicultural round, we will all be up for the occasion.”

Following Saturday’s game against City, the Bulls face a big month of rugby when coming up against the Waratahs and Ag College in Wagga before home games against Griffith and Albury Wodonga.

O’Donovan said it was important Tumut continued working hard as he viewed that period of rugby as make or break for the Bulls. 

“We just need to keep growing in confidence and hopefully come the back end of the year, we are playing well and we are pushing for finals,” O’Donovan said.  

“After City, we play the four teams in front of us and we will need to win most of them games to make finals. 

“We can do that, but it starts this weekend with City and we need to play well so we are ready to go for the rest of the season.”

It is a big day at Jarrah Oval, with both first and second grade hosting strong City sides. 

Kick-off times: 1.50pm: Second grade; 3.15pm: First grade.

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