In 2018 we saw a close Top 3 contest between Deniliquin, Hay, and the eventual Premiers, Waratahs. Our one club teams (Deniliquin and Hay) continue their form, but our reigning premiers have fallen behind slightly, whilst Griffith has climbed to the top of the ladder after last weekend.
The 3rd Grade season kicked off a few weeks after everyone else, and only features 7 teams this year, which meant every team would encounter 2 byes during the season. Every team would also be required to travel to Hay and Deniliquin during the season, unlike previous years.
We will also see only four teams in the Finals, not all of them like previously.
See below for a little summary for each team, as well as recent results and upcoming matches.
Griffith had serious concerns about their likelihood of being able to field a 3rd Grade side before the season started. They now have the most “Season” registered players in the zone, so well done to them on a late recruitment drive.
They recruited hard for 3rd grade this season, with their highly successful Junior programs becoming a pathway for 17 and 18 year old young men to move into Senior Rugby through their 3rd Grade side. A lot of these players are now creeping into 2nd Grade. We’ll have to wait and see if this change in playing group makes a difference to the results for their side who currently sit on 5 Wins and 1 Loss.
8. Win v Tumut (26-12)
9. Win v Hay (19-12)
10. v City (A)
11. v Deniliquin (A)
12. v Waratahs (H)
Hay approached 2019 considering their options to continue in McMullen Cup or push for 2nd Grade. Anyone who has played against or seen Hay play (especially at home), would agree that they could hold their own against plenty of 2nd Grade sides.
Hay have been consistent all season up until Round 9 where they slipped to Griffith in Griffith.
They boast basically the same team as 2018, plus they have brought along the Cutlets (Women’s team) with them to most away games this year.
Their highlight so far would be their Saturday Night event against Wagga City before their Jnr Gala Day on the Sunday. Many parents choosing to travel over and stay the night before, with plenty draining the water and coffee supply the following morning.
Hay were undefeated until Rd. 9, can they restart their streak for the remainder of the season?
7. Win v WAC (52-0)
9. Loss v Griffith (12-19)
10. v Deniliquin (A)
11. v Waratahs (A)
12. v Tumut (H)
Deniliquin came into 2019 full of hope, multiple players made the trek to Wagga to trial for the SIRU Representative Squad, two even played in the City v Country match (congratulations again to Ben and Darren). They knew that 2018 was somewhat successful, but they wanted to go one better and make the big dance where everybody knows, anything can happen.
A new Captain-Coach was appointed early on, with plenty of pre-season training organised. Deniliquin have also got a number of players participating at a Junior level as part of the Hay club, could be a great sign of things to come for the club moving forward into the future.
They have seen mixed results, including a draw and 3 wins from 6 games.
7. Draw v City (12-12)
8. Loss v WAC (15-19)
9. Win v Waratahs (68-0)
10. v Hay (H)
11. v Griffith (H)
Wagga City came into 2019 looking to have strong numbers across all grades with their new 1st XV Captain-Coach seeing some new faces arrive at the club, which was sure to filter down some talent into McMullen Cup.
City has often faced the issue this season of too many players being available for their 3rd Grade side, could become a problem as they enter Finals.
They just scrape into the Top 4 after the first half of the season with their draw against Deniliquin making the difference between them and 5th placed rivals Waratahs.
7. Draw v Deniliquin (12-12)
8. Loss v Waratahs (21-26)
9. Win v Tumut (22-19)
Our reigning 2018 premiers are yet to match their 2019 form. Dominant from start to finish in 2018, this has not been the case in 2019 with 2 wins from 6 games.
The departure of their long-term Head Coach John Serong may have played a part (even though he always still seems to be around the team).
They have made both of their major away trips of the year in the first half of the season, they may finish the back-end of the season very strong.
7. Loss v Tumut (19-10)
8. Win v City (26-21)
9. Loss v Deniliquin (0-68)
10. v WAC (A)
11. v Hay (H)
12. v Griffith (A)
Wagga Agricultural College:
WAC came into 2019 hoping to find some new coaches to ease the load on their 1st XV coaches. They managed to find a suitable 3rd XV coach in Dave Ferguson, S&C Coach for the Southern Sports Academy.
The boys from Ag College have struggled during the 1st half of the year, with only 2 wins so far, but with notable returns in higher grades, the talent may filter down to help WAC climb the ladder.
7. Loss v Hay (52-0)
8. Win v Deniliquin (19-15)
10. v Waratahs (H)
11. v Tumut (A)
12. v City (A)
Tumut Bulls entered 2019 looking to bounce back after a poor 2018 season, whilst the team is known for playing for the love of the game, a few extra wins wouldn’t go astray.
With a new coach in Shane Herrington, as well as some young players coming through, the team was positive leading into the season.
Unfortunately Tumut has only had one win so far this season, but with a week off this week they will be looking to get a few more in the Win column as they enter 6 consecutive games to finish the season.
7. Win v Waratahs (19-10)
8. Loss v Griffith (12-26)
9. Loss v City (19-22)
11. v WAC (H)
12. v Hay (A)