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Southern Inland Rugby 2021


Fred Wood (13)
That's ordinary news for the Phantoms. Fingers crossed they can work their way back into 2022.

Not great for the phantoms at all. But i would say in all honesty that the writing has been on the wall for the last 3 or 4 years . 2017 they won it. 2018 they battled at times for players. 2019 they pulled out of 2's half way through the season . 2020 was propped up by Group 20 and out of towners. 2021 sees them slip back to 3's.

Its a massive shame because i would argue that Leeton has some of , if not the best facilities in the comp. It puts Connollys antiquated facilities to shame . I wish them luck in their come back but its a tough battle .


Desmond Connor (43)
Not great for the phantoms at all. But i would say in all honesty that the writing has been on the wall for the last 3 or 4 years . 2017 they won it. 2018 they battled at times for players. 2019 they pulled out of 2's half way through the season . 2020 was propped up by Group 20 and out of towners. 2021 sees them slip back to 3's.

Its a massive shame because i would argue that Leeton has some of , if not the best facilities in the comp. It puts Connollys antiquated facilities to shame . I wish them luck in their come back but its a tough battle .

GF hangovers are always difficult to deal with, hopefully they can pull it together in some fashion.

Leeton's facilities are definitely top three within the zone, CRP is not in that ballpark in any fashion in terms of off-field but I would argue that CRP is certainly the best surface in the competition.

My view on CRP has always been that we didn't need any more green space but the off-field areas were what needed attention. Having said that, SIRU needed to secure that parcel of land to avoid it being sold or developed in some other capacity and green space made sense - I would have liked to see that dedicated to junior fields rather than a second #1 pitch.

paul bristow

Billy Sheehan (19)
I don’t know what to think of the draw, Reasoning. What do you say. It’s what you get when you work from the bottom up instead of the top down. Here at Griffith in the 1st round we have the Sports Club ground booked & 2 out of our 4 teams (who have been training for quite a while now) will be sitting in the crowd watching. It’s definitely unusual. Leeton, Athol always struggled before they had an influx of disgruntled players from Griffith. That situation has obviously run its course and now they’ve lost the player & local support base they had before those players arrived. Leeton are a one team (2nd grade) plus girls team town. That’s what the community can support despite having had quite good juniors over the years. CRP is what it is. Pretty crap for a central venue. Hopefully it gets upgraded over time.


Fred Wood (13)
First grade sides will play 14 comp games in 2021 . Which is only 4 more comp games than what was played in Covid Cup 2020 ! Which only had 4 teams !


Peter Burge (5)
That obviously means that each Club playes their other 6 opponents twice during the year on a Home & Away Basis ( 12 matches) and then play a further 2 matches against 2 different Clubs.
It would be interesting to see the break up that each 1st Grade side got with their extra 2 matches
Leeton definitely threw a spanner in the works with their late Withdrawal that's for sure

Looks like CSU picked up City (home ) and Ag College (away) - don't leave Wagga
City got Reddies (away) and Tumut (home) - don't leave Wagga
Ag College got Reddies (h) and Albury (a)
Waratahs got Tumut (a) and Griffith (h)
Albury got Griffith (a) and Ag College (h)
Griffith got Albury (h) and Waratahs (a)

Without a doubt the big winners from these extra matches are City because they don't leave Wagga and play CSU and Tumut who came 3rd & 4th in last year's 4 Team Comp
Obviously it helps to be the defending Premiers in this situation
Interesting to note in Round 10 City host Tumut in 1st Grade but Tumut host Deniliquin in 2nd Grade - doesn't seem fair to Tumut


Fred Wood (13)
When 4 out of 7 first grade teams are all based on Wagga its always going to seem skewed towards the wagga clubs.
I'd rather we be commenting about this than be commenting about only 12 home and away games in first grade. The great issue is that we have to make the concessions to a 9 team 2's comp ( for reasons I well understand) . Hay and Deni need meaningful, regular footy , and they wont get that in 3's. So do we let them go to 3's ? Do we begin a two tiered comp ? Do we even have the numbers to contemplate that ?

To give SIRU credit , its had to make a rather unpleasant sandwich at least a bit palatable. I dont think theyd have wanted this scenario anymore than what we do.


Allen Oxlade (6)
All points of view respected but I agree with PB that the 1st Grade Comp shouldn't be compromised for other Grades full stop.
By trying to keep 'Everyone Happy" you end up creating an overall Competition that has too many leaks and ?? marks
For example the Tumut Bulls 1st Grade side kicks off the season with 2 consecutive Byes.
Wagga Waratahs 1st Grade twice during the season have consecutive 1st Grade Byes (Rounds 4 & 5 and Rounds 13 & 14)
Reddies 1st Grade has 2 consecutive Byes in Rounds 11 & 12
Agrred that these are "Unpleasant Sandwiches" for SIRU but they have resulted in " Tasty Sandwiches" for the 2nd Grade and Women's Comp which don't list any successive Byes in their respective Competitions
As PB stated earlier in his posts there is an element of the "Tail wagging the Dog" with this yerars overall Competition structure
Let's keep our fingers crossed that there are no more alterations to this year's Draw and the Clubs can prepare for what is hopefully a successful season with some entertaining Rugby to be played.
Final 4 predictions in no order are City ( hot favourites to defend their Premiership) with probably Griffith, Waratahs and Albury to fight it out for the final 3 positions

paul bristow

Billy Sheehan (19)
That might be the case Whistle but I just had a look at the 3rd grade draw. In the 1st 4 weeks Griffith has 3 byes. The whole draw process has been based on being inclusive of Hay & Deni in Siru. Unfortunately this inclusion of Hay & Deni is fine for 2nd & womens grade where these clubs have teams but it’s buggered the draw for 1sts & 3rds.


Alfred Walker (16)
That might be the case Whistle but I just had a look at the 3rd grade draw. In the 1st 4 weeks Griffith has 3 byes. The whole draw process has been based on being inclusive of Hay & Deni in Siru. Unfortunately this inclusion of Hay & Deni is fine for 2nd & womens grade where these clubs have teams but it’s buggered the draw for 1sts & 3rds.

Wouldnt these have been byes anyway. Simply because Tumut and Albury dont have 3rds?
Thought we were worried about tails wagging the dog. Thats not ideal for Griffith but 3rds are simply the tip of the tail.
Cant have that wagging any dogs.

At least the draw has given everyone something to talk about for the last 10 weeks.

Bubba? did Wagga city approve of the draw and can anyone actually advise of their respective clubs did? if so reckon we can move on. Just my Opinion.

Side note I'm surprised by people essentially writing off Waratahs. Very talented son of a sponsor has returned to town and will make a massive difference for them from what I've heard. you'll also get the next wave of Aggies moving to Tahs after a hiatus last year.

I really hope your boys lift off from where they were PB, same with you cartman.
Griffith and Albury were two on the charge in 2019.

Looking forward to some footy to chat about after this weekend.

Anyone interested in a Southern inland tipping comp? I'm happy to administer

paul bristow

Billy Sheehan (19)
I’d be interested in the tipping comp Mauler. With the 3rds situation I reckon they should have a seperate draw. Maybe like the pub comps they have in League where games are held fortnightly and all games are held at a common venue. At least that way the teams would have consistent footy. As far as 1st grade goes Griffith have the no.s in the club Mauler if that counts for anything.


Fred Wood (13)
Yeah i'll be in that .
For whats it worth :
Albury by 20+ over Reddies. I havent seen much of reddies but i have seen a bit of Albury. And i think they will have a big year.

Tahs by 15 over Aggies . Tahs will have to much for aggies over the 80 , but i think the enthusiasm of WAC and speed will give them a lot of problems on saturday.

I will be having a wander over to Leeton to see our 3's and Girls go round.


Fred Wood (13)
I wonder if there will be any media coverage of the start of the SIRU season? Last story on any form of rugby was about Tess Staines playing 7's.
Bit of a story in the border mail about Liam Krautz and thats about it. Our game isnt in that big of a death spiral that we dont even get a mention is it?


Peter Burge (5)
SIRU Season Preview for 2021 as per the DA
City deserve to be hot favourites on what they have gained for this Season
The Tumut coach sounds as if he is getting his excuses in Early ! although not playing their initial 1st Grade game until Round 3 is not ideal
After only four teams took part in the shortened first grade competition last year, the 2021 Southern Inland season looms as much more normal.
It is not quite there after the late withdrawal of Leeton, and the fact Hay and Deniliquin's place in second grade sees a large number of byes throughout the year, but it feels like we're almost there.
How teams manage the larger number of bye will be a telling factor, with a couple having a string of weeks off throughout the year.
Despite this it shapes as a much more even season.

Some teams have had massive changes since they were last on the paddock so it is hard to judge where they are at after missing last season but you feel like the ladder shake up is set to continue.

Wagga City went through the season unbeaten and the premiers look the team to chase down again in 2021 however who the leads the charge is definitely up for grabs as clubs get back into the swing of things.
It should see a more even competition as a whole.
Coach: Paul Hood (second season)
Last season: Third
Key gains: Ratu Josefa Ralima, Rosivela Nagatarogo, Rob McMahon
Key losses: Liam Krautz
What the coach says: We're looking pretty good. There are a few places where I'd like a bit more depth in but that's every year but we're pretty excited about the prospect of a full season. We've had really good numbers, which is a real positive, and a lot of the guys are new to the area so we will have to gauge what their impact is going to be throughout the year.
What we say: CSU were the big improvers last season as the club looks to become more competitive after almost a decade in the doldrums. Liam Krautz heading back to Albury is a massive loss for the side, but they've improved their depth which will help fill some of the Bill Castle Medal winner's void. If Reddies can continue on their path from last season they will definitely rise up the ladder, especially as the club looks to celebrate an anniversary season. However it's going to be a lot tougher this season with more rivals to tackle so it still could be a while before they get back to a higher level.
Prediction: Sixth
Coach: James Kora (first season)
Last season: Did not play. Preliminary finalists in 2019
Key gains: Koresi Waqanivalu, Mosese Baleidrokadroka, Tully MacPherson-Peacock, Dave Siakaking, Liam Flanagan, Tomasi Turuva

Key ins: Dave Cooper-Dunn, Andrew Dunn, Tom Boyle, Tim Carroll, Tom Harvey, Shaun Coel, James Devlin, Sam Allen, Tom Wilmore
What the coach says: We're looking alright. We've got a few players who have come in, we stole a few from the league side of town, so I think we are looking ok. It will be pretty good to see the club back in first grade after last year playing second grade and a lot of those players have gone into the first grade team. Our aim is to try and finish in finals and that will gauge how far we've come back.
What we say: Albury are almost starting from scratch with just five players from their 2019 preliminary final side still with the club. They've brought in some new faces but experience is hard to replace so quickly. The Steamers were strong in second grade last season and most of those players are a big part of their plans this season. It's a big step up and it could take a while for many to adjust to a different level but there is some potential on the border with a couple of club favourites at the helm and Liam Krautz back in their line up.
Prediction: Fourth
Coach: Michael Davis (third season)
Last season: Grand finalists
Key gains: Harry Tyson, Gerard McTaggart, Sam O'Leary
Key losses: Kurt Holzl, James Whiteley, Nathanael Mooney, Tom Green, Sam Palmer, Kula Kaloundonu, Sam Carwardine
What the coach says: It is going to be another building year, the same as last year, but we've certainly got a lot more depth than last year. It is great that bar Leeton everyone has been able to get back on board and participate. You can never really tell until a few weeks in but I wouldn't be surprised if it is a very even competition this year.
What we say: Waratahs almost pulled off an upset in the grand final to just fall short of a third straight title. While the perennial powerhouses are expected to be strong again they've taken a different approach this season with only a couple of new faces at the club while they've got a longer list of departures. High turnover is not a new thing for the club but it should see them drop closer to the chasing pack than in previous seasons. It's hard to write off a club that has been so strong for so long but some of the polish needs to be reapplied.
Prediction: Runners-up
Coach: Chris McGregor (first season)
Last season: Did not play. Fourth in 2019
Key gains: Hamish Wrafter
Key losses: Tikiko Koroivoutu, Timoti Tomeru, David Serukai
What the coach says: We've got good numbers and are developing all the time. We've got a lot of youth coming through and some experience so hopefully we can get the mixture right throughout the year. We are looking to play finals footy, that is our first goal, and we're looking to start the season strong. We've kept most of our squad plus picked up a couple.
What we say: The Blacks are starting afresh after being the only club not to have any presence last season. However unlike many of their rivals they've basically got the same personnel as did the last time they took to the field and that should hold them in good stead to be around the same level as before. David Serukai will be a loss but the year off has given some of their younger talent more time to mature. They've also got strong numbers which could be a big plus in the longer season.
Prediction: Third
Coach: Elliot Barrett (first season)
Last season: Did not play. Grand finalists in 2019
Key gains: Sam Carwardine, Harry Cooper, Hamish Spackman
Key losses: Duncan Woods, Matt Harris, Charles Callaghan, Luke Turner, Mike van Diggelen, Ben Brooke, Gerard McTaggart, Cam Duffy, Hamish Pennington, Pat Logan
What the coach says: We're still trying to gel as a team and we have a few injuries already so we're trying to get our combinations right in the early couple of rounds. For us in a rebuilding stage our main goal is to double our wins in the second round. We're just working to try and keep building as a team and as a club.
What we say: Ag College looked to be building something special before COVID stopped them in their tracks. They will field an almost unrecognisable line up to the team who pushed Waratahs in the 2019 grand final, with only two of their starting side still at the club. It's going to take some time to build back up, especially after a later start from their university base. Expect to see big improvement in the second half of the season but what level the young side can reach by then is the concern.
Prediction: Last
Coach: Ray 'JR' Wells (first season)
Last season: Fourth
Key gains: TJ Sala, Andy Graham
Key losses: Mitch Ivill, Will Luff, Tate O'Donovan
What the coach says: The lack of pre-season games, through no circumstances of our own, is going to hinder us a bit. Not having those games to fall back on to put into practice what we've been training is tough but we've been trying to work around that at training within the squad. Everyone tells me the numbers are better and we've worked hard on upskilling through both squads. Like everyone we could always do with more numbers but at this stage hopefully we can improve on last year's performances.
What we say: Tumut only won the one game last season but proved to be much more competitive than what the ladder suggested. With a new coach there is a new approach for the club which seems to be paying dividends with improved depth and there is plenty of positivity coming out of the hills. They lost some ground in 2019 but look set to make it back up as everyone tries to get back into the swing of things and should be back pushing for a finals berth once more.
Prediction: Fifth
Coach: Ben Schreiber (second season)
Last season: Premiers
Key gains: Dylan McLachlan, Jordan Little, Tyson McLachlan, Tom Blanch, Mikaera Smylie, Jone Kurusiga, Waisale Sautu Sauvinaloto, Tom Nabuliwaqa

Key losses: Rei Spooner, James Olds
What the coach says: We think it is a positive there are more teams able to compete this year so hopefully it makes for a more competition season with a bit more entertainment and variety for every one. We've recruited fairly well so I think it is going to put us in fairly good stead. We've lost James Olds, who is a massive loss after he went back to league, but at the same time we've picked up Dylan and Tyson and that has filled the void James had left and the boys are keen to rip into a full season this year.
What we say: Wagga City proved to be a cut above last season as they went through the shortened season undefeated to end their premiership drought. If anything they look to be stronger again this season, which should be a big worry for their rivals. The addition of Dylan McLachlan will give their attack a new dimension, which already had plenty of points in them, and they've added in plenty of size as well. It will take a strong effort to get the better of them again in 2021. The clear team to beat.
Prediction: Premiers


Fred Wood (13)
I will be very interested in the Griffith V Tahs game and its result this weekend. A genuine early season test for both teams i'd suggest. . Griffith havent been seen since 19 so will be looking to stamp some authority on their first home game in 2 years.

Seeing H Wrafter on the team list is also a massive in for the Blacks.


Fred Wood (13)
I have a feeling Waratahs might get 'ambushed' by Griffith this Saturday - the scoreline against Ag College looked impressive last Saturday but they definitely have a lot of work to do with so many new players in their Ranks
Albury to beat Ag College & City to put a big score on CSU at the Uni

I reckon Griffith will be fair snorting and stamping for this game at home ! Never can write Tahs off though i think a road trip and some emotional play from Griffith will be to much for them . Blacks by 7
Albury will continue their winning ways by 20 plus.
City by 20 plus.


Allen Oxlade (6)
CSU & Ag College already look like shot Ducks for 2021 after Saturday's results
The Tumut ( 1st maytch of the season for the Bulls ) v Griffith will probably reveal who is going to be in the Top 4 with City, Waratahs & Albury- my money is on the Blacks this Saturday and to be in the top 4