By Emily Gobourg
In eager spirits for the upcoming union season, the first grade seniors of the Molong Magpies R.U.F.C had their 2021 training debut last Thursday night at the Rec.
With the idea to breed a more competitive system of rugby throughout the season, the competition is said to trial a new tournament format this year.
Each of the nine teams will face off against one another in the first round, where the results will then determine a final tier system; splitting teams into two equal parts of four teams either side – with the ninth team at the bottom of the ladder knocked off the podium for the season, and out of the running altogether.
Concluding this new first round format, the top four teams will then compete for the OILSPLUS Cup, where the remaining bottom four teams will compete for the OILSPLUS Shield. The draw will then divide evenly into home (H) and away (A) games, with four H and four A matches to be scheduled for both tiers.
Zac White, Vice Present for the Molong Magpies R.U.F.C, said the Pies have around 25 players for the 2021 season, with most of the “regulars” back on board for this year.
“We’ve pretty much got the same team as last year, but with a couple of losses,” said Zac.
“There’s possibly a few new players, but we won’t really know until the season [officially] starts.”
With the uncertainties of COVID last year, many sports events were left up in the air. Zac explained how some of the Rugby League boys had come across to the R.U.F.C during 2020, and said he has hopes that some of those same players might return for another season of union.
“The COVID year gave us a bit of mix in the team, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes this year,” Zac said.
“Hopefully we can hang onto to some of that mix, and have that co-community crossover between league and union.”
Though 2020 certainly brought its challenges, the Pies boys still managed to secure a sturdy third place in a strong last season of footy, with hopes to keep the momentum going for this year’s season.
“We’re usually competitive, and we want to do well,” said Zac.
“We finished strong last year, and we’d like to go strong again off the back of that.”
Matt Steventon will continue as President for the club in 2021, with coaches Peter “Evvo” Evans and Kyle Travis to lead the boys through another season. Debbie White will take on the role of treasurer, with club legend Mary Mulhall fulfilling the position of club secretary.
Scheduled for kick-off on the 10th April, the first game of the competition will see the mighty Pies face-off with the Coolah Roos in an away match for round one of 2021.
“The more you sweat in training,