The Tumut Blues are the 2019 premiers after putting away a woeful Southcity Bulls 28-4 at McDonalds Park today.
A match dominated by errors and penalties early in proceedings allowed a bigger and stronger Tumut side to assert their dominance in the end result.
The first 15 minutes of the contest saw a plethora of errors and penalties as two nervous sides tested the waters with both teams offered chances to score first.
In the 14th minute, Lachlan Bristow made a terrific legs tackle on Nathan Rose, stopping a surefire try.
Only a play later, Ben Lucas put up a towering bomb that fell between Dean Bristow and Austin McDougall.
This ball bounced into the hands of Nick Skinner, who offloaded to Mitch Bennett before passing to Rose, who blitzed Tumut’s left edge to cross to the right of the posts; Steven Tracey missed the conversion for a 4-nil lead.
Minutes later and against the run of play, Lachlan Bristow made a probing run from acting half, splitting lazy Southcity defenders to sprint 45m and score to the left of the sticks; Jacob Toppin converting for a 6-4 lead.
Following points, the Bulls gave away a fourth tackle penalty on their own 30m line and put the Blues in scoring distance.
Bristow proved the difference maker once again, dummying from close to the line to beat some tired Southcity forwards and score his second try to the right of the sticks in the 22nd minute; Toppin converting for a 12-4 lead.
The Bulls had a chance to get one back in the 29th minute when Harrison Lucas made a break on the left edge, giving the Bulls prime real estate.
Southcity tried a short-side run on the following play but determined defence from Dean Bristow and Tommy Warner saved a certain try.
The Blues were spurred on by this heroic defensive play and started to control the contest for the rest of the half, slowing down Southcity’s play and working towards deep kicks, turning the Wagga forwards around.
The half ended at 12-4 but two different sides left the field, the Blues jogging to the sheds, while Southcity ambled off..
Things didn’t get better for the Wagga side after the break, giving away a penalty off the first set following the kick off and making two silly errors.
As a result, Tumut made them pay in the 46th minute when Zac Masters barged over from short range, scoring to the left of the posts; Toppin converting for a 18-4 lead.
The Blues kept the roll on, moving the ball down field with ease and putting themselves in great field position.
Ben Roddy, in his last game for the Blues, was rewarded for his hard work when he finished off a nifty left side play.
Toppin received the ball with space and hit Roddy short, before the man affectionately known as ‘the body’, muscled his way past would-be Bulls’ defenders to score on the left edge; Toppin missing his first conversion for a 22-4 lead to the Blues.
Tumut just couldn’t be stopped following this try and kept finding themselves well past the advantage line and into Southcity territory.
A relentless Lachlan Bristow was able to score his third try in the 55th minute when he again locked on to some tired Bulls’ defenders.
The dynamic hooker burrowed his way under these defenders and scored his third try; Toppin converting for a 28-4 lead.
The Blues took the pedal off after these points and really just toyed with their opponents for the final 20 minutes.
At times, players even acknowledged the vocal and supportive Blues’ contingent of the crowd, only further motivating the Tumut side to play a physical style of rugby league in the final stages of the game.
In the end the result finished 28-4 with the Blues running out impressive winners, Bristow named man of the match and Tumut handed a historic Group 9 premiership.