Riverina Ripe for Round Two Clash with Dragons

Updated: March 14, 2019

The Riverina Bulls enjoyed double victories in the Under-23’s and Women’s opening round of the Country Championships and both coaches are hopeful their teams can continue their impressive form against the Illawarra South Coast Dragons this weekend.

Riverina Women’s Coach Dean Whymark was thrilled with players 22-6 Round One win over Newcastle, especially considering his team had only ever played trial games together.

“We didn’t know what to expect with Newcastle and Hunter,” Whymark said.

“We knew there was a women’s competition up there and we knew it would be a hard game but we were really happy with the way the girls went with their first try at it and I’m quite confident that they’ll only improve each game.”

Whymark expressed when the team gets together their main focus is on appreciation and although both their games include long distance travel to play, the team are excited at the chance to showcase their skills.

“They are so grateful for the opportunity and that’s what we’ve been teaching them along the way -gratitude – it’s a massive part of developing our squad this year.

“We knew that we could teach them Rugby League but more importantly we wanted to teach them to be good people along the way.

“The long distances we’ve had to travel to play just creates a different experience for us; naturally everyone would like to play at home but the girls have really enjoyed it.”

The Illawarra South Coast Dragons team roster includes the likes of Jillaroos Kezie Apps and Keeley Davis and Whymark says his side can’t wait to come up against players of such high-calibre on the weekend.

“The girls are extremely excited about playing this week, we’ll take on an Illawarra side with a few Australian players in it which is great for the girls.

“It’s not every day you get a chance to play females of such a high level so the girls are really looking forward to the challenge.

“What a unique opportunity to play a side as good as Illawarra this weekend; it’s all part of an amazing experience for the girls.”

Riverina Men’s Coach Jody Rudd says his side are professional, committed and enjoy playing at a high level and their efforts were suitably rewarded with a 26-18 victory over Newcastle and Hunter in Round One.

“It was quite an intense and physical game; defensively our patterns worked quite well,” Rudd said.

“In the offseason, we worked on pushing up for each other in attack and defence and I think they did that on the weekend which was great.”

“Our middle were standouts, our front row and front row rotation was fantastic and our back row worked hard for the full 80 minutes.”

The Bulls will travel to Wollongong on Friday and have a light training run in preparation for Saturday; Rudd says his side must be at the top of their game to compete with the Dragons.

“In Round One, Newcastle were a bit bigger and more physical, whereas Illawarra looked to play the game a lot faster and moved the ball around a bit quicker as well so it’ll be test for our defensive pattern.

“I don’t know how long it’s been since we’ve beaten that Newcastle representative side, I think it’s been a while, so they’re pretty excited about this weekend; it’ll be good to get down there and get into it.

“If we can play to the same way that we played last week and just clean up a few of those handling areas its certainly going to put us in the right frame and I think we’re a chance of winning.”

The Men’s Under-23’s and Women’s Country Championship Illawarra South Coast Dragons v Riverina Bulls matches will take place at Collegians, Figtree; with matches kicking off at 12:50pm and 2:00pm.

Both matches will be live streamed via the CRL Facebook Page.