Singleton Junior Rugby eyes off big year for its nine talented squads, from under-8s to under-18s

KEEN AS: Singleton Junior Rugby president Matt Merrick with promising youngsters, back, Hamish OBrien, Hugh Partridge, Tipene Paniora, Jackson Paniora; and, front, Henry Richardson, Jack Richardson, Henry Cooper and Mornay Smuts.
KEEN AS: Singleton Junior Rugby president Matt Merrick with promising youngsters, back, Hamish OBrien, Hugh Partridge, Tipene Paniora, Jackson Paniora; and, front, Henry Richardson, Jack Richardson, Henry Cooper and Mornay Smuts.

SINGLETON Junior Rugby (SJR) is set to tackle a new, albeit reduced, season from next month.

NSW Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee recently announced outdoor community sports for those aged 18 years and younger were ready to return from July 1.

It follows a nation-wide shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Things will need to be done a little differently than in pre-COVID-19 times and following a safety plan is key to keeping people safe," he said.

"Children will be thrilled they can get together with friends and team-mates again.

"And, I'm sure parents are welcoming the news, too.

"NSW loves sport - and I am so pleased clubs and organisations will now be able to plan their fixtures list for their competitions to resume."

More than 100 players are expected to represent the young Bulls - from under-8s to under-18s - in Hunter Junior Rugby Union, with matches kicking off from Saturday, July 25.

SJR president Matt Merrick said everyone was looking forward to the restart.

"We've received lots of messages [since the government announcement] to see when training begins," he said.

"That started last week, with full contact drills taking place from July 1.

"We have been informed 2020 will consist of a 10-round competition; and no finals.

"Singleton is fielding nine junior sides in eight age groups - under-8s (two), under-9s, under-10s, under-12s, under-13s, under-14s, under-16s and under-18s.

"That's one extra team than 2019.

"So, our numbers are encouraging, although some spots are still available.

"But, it's a great little comp with squads traveling as far as Nelson Bay, Newcastle and Maitland."

The Bulls will also host their much-loved Friday night "Train and Play" initiative for the under-6s and under-7s at Rugby Park.

The family-orientated sessions hit the paddock from July 24.

"Usually, we get between 30 and 40 youngsters," Merrick said.

"It's a good introduction to the Singleton club and the code.

"And, it has proven very popular in the past.

"I'd just like to thank Lancasters and our other sponsors for their continued support."

If you're interested in junior rugby in town, contact Matt Merrick on 0450 606 351.