Singleton Bulls’ cult hero Ben Osland speaks on behalf of his whole playing group when declaring his optimism for the season ahead.
Osland, who was named captain on the weekend, endured scorching temperatures throughout the Hedweld Rugby Sevens tournament which saw the Bulls’ improve from their performance in 2017 (finishing fourth).
“We’re just keen for the next hit out and you can tell from the morale around the club that we’re keen for the upcoming season,” Osland said.
Singleton was joined by Southern Beaches and Eastern Districts in Pool B of the six team tournament.
The Bulls rectified a slow 0-12 start to draw level with Beaches in their opening test before easily accounting for Eastern Districts 28-15.
“The focus was on the basics of the format and it turned out all right for us with the draw and then the win over Easts,” he added.
Veteran Alan Harris, aged 46, ran rings around his youthful Eastern opponents before Tongan born Sion Kamoto, 23, landed the sealer with a few minutes remaining (see here).
“Al is always good to come on board and chuck the boots on and come and have a play with us,” Osland continued.
“It’s great because he injects a lot of confidence into the group.”
Sadly, the honeymoon period came to an end for the host club who suffered a 40-0 defeat to the eventual tournament winner Australian Universities.
“That was a bit of a test for us, we didn’t have much hope given how well they did last year (runner up to West Harbour),” he said.
“There was a lot of talent and all the boys thought that was it (which was a nice thought given the heat) but there was still the third place game.”
“We couldn’t get the job done (defeated by Central Coast 29-15) but to get the jump early in the piece was a great sign going forward.”
“All in all it was a good day.”
Head coach Steve Merrick, who turns 50 this month, watched on from the balcony on Saturday; assessing the fitness and skill level of each of his players from a bird’s eye view.
“Steve has us down on Thursday night and we’ll go back to our standard Tuesday and Thursday training sessions after Christmas,” Osland said.
“He (Merrick) is really going to grill us during pre-season (I can tell) but there’s a good feel around the club and the numbers are good at training so we’ll continue to go forward.”
Australian Universities defeated Southern Beaches 29-22
Third Place Final
Central Coast defeated Singleton Bulls 29-15
Fifth Place Final
Eastern Districts defeated Nelson Bay 17-12
Australian Universities defeated Singleton Bulls 40-0
Southern Beaches defeated Central Coast 17-12
Australian Universities defeated Nelson Bay 28-10
Central Coast defeated Nelson Bay 15-10
Australian Universities defeated Central Coast 29-5
Singleton Bulls drew level with Southern Beaches 12-12
Southern Beaches defeated Eastern Districts 20-0
Singleton Bulls defeated Eastern Districts 28-15