The Mudgee Wombats women’s side will contest their second finals series in as many years of competition this weekend.
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They will contest a semi-final match against Bathurst.
The Wombats - who contested last year’s grand final - finished the regular season in third.
The Wombats’ colts side will feature in the 2017 finals series having finished the regular season in fourth place, taking on CSU in the elimination semi this weekend at Bathurst.
Although a repeat of the last match of the regular season – which ended in a 46 to 5 win to the students – coach Tony Moylan is confident that with a full compliment of players the local lads can do the job.
“I think we’ve got a good chance to knock them over, unfortunately last week we only had 12 and they had 23 and they used every one of them,” he said.
Numbers have been an issue at more than one occasion throughout the year, but when the Wombats are on they’ve shown to be capable of mixing it with the top teams. In the last month they knocked over third placed Roos and shook up second placed Lions.
“We were playing pretty well, we beat the Dubbo Kangaroos, which was a great effort,” Moylan said. “And the next weekend against Orange City we were narrowly beaten by three points, we lead most of the game but just ran out of steam.
“When we get together we’re right up there. I think it would be a stretch to beat the Bulldogs if we get that far, but who knows if we’ve got good players on the field we can come close to them.”
Three Wombats junior teams into finals
The red,white and blue of the Mudgee Rugby Club will be flown by no less than three junior Wombats sides as they contest the finals this weekend.
The 13s Blue, 15s and 17s sides all finished third in their respective competitions.
And although missing out on a finals berth the 13s Red side did have a strong season.
Junior coordinator Eric Brown said that being competitive against clubs from the areas they play against is a significant achievement.
“It’s been a fantastic effort by all of the sides to get to the finals because it’s a tough competition,” he said.
“They’re up against a lot of rep and country players, so they’re doing quite well.
“Orange City, Dubbo, Bathurst are all strong clubs in strong towns which makes it a great effort for a small town like Mudgee to be competitive in this competition.”
He added that while all teams finished the regular season in third they took slightly different paths getting there.
“The 13s lost by a try to finish third, they were fighting for second but third is an absolutely fantastic effort,” He said.
“The 15s also finished third.
“And the 17s won their last couple of games to get into the finals, they’ve been under a bit of pressure but stepped up to the occasion and proved they can play competitive rugby.”
The Central West Junior Rugby Union semi finals will be held at the home ground of Orange City, Pride Park, this Saturday (August 26).
The 13s Blue take on Orange City at 9am, 15s play Forbes at 11am and the 17s face Dubbo Rhinos at 1pm.
With a four-team finals format in place and all three Mudgee teams in their respective minor semi-finals, this weekend is a must win to stay in the race.
“We have to win to stay alive, but I think all three teams are in with a great chance to go to the next level,” Brown said.
He put the young Wombats’ successful showing down to the right attitude and club culture, which has been nurtured over time.
“The main strength would have to be the attitude of the kids,” he said.
“We created an environment many years ago, when a lot of these kids were playing in the sub-junior competition, to make it a family orientated club with good attitude and respect towards their footy and other people.
“And I think it comes down to a good attitude by the kids, a great effort by the coaches and managers and volunteers that they couldn’t do it without.
“It’s a great group of not only good rugby players but also good kids.
“I’ve seen some of the 17s play Under 7s together and they’re now at the stage before they go into their senior football, so they’ve been together a long time.”
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