The Tumut Blues have turned to the 15-man code in a bid turn their fortunes around in 2017.
At 32, former Wagga City fullback James Curgenven will provide invaluable experience and a mighty left boot when he turns out for the Tumut Blues in the Group 9 season and he is confident of making a successful transition to league after over 20 years of playing union.
New Blues president Tom Arragon was instrumental in the handy acquisition and Curgenven and feels he has a lot to offer the Blues who are coming off a horror 2016, winning just three games to claim the dreaded wooden spoon.
“I know Tom through work and I caught up with him in September or October last year and he asked if I would be interested in trying league, and it felt like the right move. I’d played union for 20-odd years and wanted to try something different,” he said.
“I’ve got a big left boot, I was the kicker for Wagga City the last three years, so hopefully I can bring a bit of tactical kicking and obviously the goal-kicking as well. It depends on where the coach wants to play me, at fullback, or five eighth or centre, I do like to have a run with the ball, and I enjoy the contact, and have plenty of heart as well, so it will be interesting to see how it all pans out.”
Originating from Bristol in the South West region of England, where union and soccer reign supreme, Curgenven has had a taste of the thirteen-man code through watching the NRL, while several of his friends ply their trade for Wagga City and Wagga Kangaroos, setting up a great rivalry this season.
“I follow the NRL and have some mates at Brothers and the Kangaroos, so I’ve watched them a few times, I’ve seen more league here than back in the UK, it’s all union and soccer in Bristol.”
“There will be a few areas that I’ll need to work on, but I think the transition will be fairly smooth and I should be able to pick it up pretty quickly, I’ve watched the game these last four or five years so I kind of understand it, playing it is obviously a different kettle of fish so there will be a bit of a learning curve,” he said.
Curgenven has been filled in on the areas that need addressing at the Blues and is hopeful that with a bigger pack he can be a success, linking up with the outside backs as a third playmaking option.
“Tom has been pretty honest with where the club is at, obviously they did struggle in the pack last year, that’s not a position I’m coming into, but he’s assured me they will have a stronger pack this year and they have a lot of depth out wide.
“Being a little older I want to link them all together and get us in the right part of the field, utilising the backs with their pace and skill, and the big boppers too.”
Like much of the Blues squad, he hasn’t had a lot to do with incoming coach Jarred Teka who is based in Canberra, but will have a chat in the coming days and looks forward to meeting his new teammates during pre-season and gelling ahead of round 1.
“Tom has passed on my number and I expect I’ll be having a bit of a chat soon to discuss things and see what his expectations of me this year. Obviously coming from a union background, it’s going to be interesting, and I’ll be heading over in the next week or so to have a chat with them all and we’ll go from there.”
“Last year I had a pretty good season for Wagga City at fullback so I’d like to stay there, but it’s wherever the coach wants me, be it fullback, five eighth or centre, I want to try and fit in with what they’ve already got there, whatever suits them, in the past I’ve played rep footy in all those positions so I like to think I’m able to adapt and adjust to whatever position I’m needed for.”