The Tumut Blues have pulled off a major signing boost ahead of the 2019 season recruiting Canberra Raiders Cup brothers Tom and Ben Warner from the Yass Magpies.
Hailing from Cootamundra, Tom and Ben are both forwards and have spent the last two years in the highly competitive Canberra Raiders Cup competition with Tom particularly excelling winning the 2018 Les McIntyre Medal.
Awarded to best and fairest of the Canberra Raiders Cup, Tom was joint winner of the award after a stellar season scoring the most tries of any player despite playing front row crossing for 14 tries.
While Ben lined up beside his brother each week scoring just two tries throughout the season but boasting a more aggressive and hard running style of play.
In a lucky stroke for Tumut, the pair reached out to Blues co-coach Adam Pearce as the pair wanted to move closer to home.
The Blues made it clear they wanted to boost their forward pack ahead of next season and the formidable Warner brothers fit the bill perfectly according to Pearce.
“We’ve been talking to them for a little while and they were pretty interested in coming which helped,” Pearce said.
“They’re both different types of players even though they’re brothers. Benny’s got some more aggression and Tom’s a bit more skillful and has a bit more footwork.”
“They both bring different things to the table which is what we need.
“Both are front rowers and we wanted some extra bigger bodies to help out so it’s exactly what we needed.”
The pair has played most of their first grade career together, starting their career with the Cootamundra Bulldogs before moving to Wagga Brothers, Yenda Blue Heelers and Yass.
Both Tom and Ben also represented group 20 first grade whilst playing for Yenda.
Coming full circle, Tom’s debut match in first grade was against the Tumut Blues in 2010 and says he is hoping to continue his Canberra Cup form and do everything he can with the Blues in 2019.
“I had a good year last year and hopefully looking to continue that form and do what I can to help the Blues out,” Tom said.
“Everything sounded good and I was pretty keen to get here.
In an added bonus for the Blues, Warner is keen to add to the family affair and entice his younger brother to the club further boosting their numbers.
“We’ll probably bring our little brother across too he just finished the 18’s so hopefully we’ll get all three boys out on deck which would be pretty special,” he said.
Tom and Ben are major boosts to the Blues roster in 2019 and will also provide the younger players coming through with plenty of leadership and mentoring with their extensive Rugby League background.
However, Blues are still on the hunt and looking to add more depth to their playing roster, and Pearce says if successful the Blues will be looking very competitive for next year.
“We’re still working on a couple other players we want to get over and if we can get them over the line we should be strong all over the park,” he said.
“We weren’t far off this year so if we can build off that with some new players we should give it a red hot crack.“