Cootamundra prepare for League Tag elimination final against Gundagai, U16 Bulldogs brace for South City

FINALS BOUND: Alex Wiggins (U16s) and Kristen Glanville (Bullettes) will pull on the blue and white in this weekend's elimination finals against South City and Gundagai. Picture: Lachlan Grey
FINALS BOUND: Alex Wiggins (U16s) and Kristen Glanville (Bullettes) will pull on the blue and white in this weekend's elimination finals against South City and Gundagai. Picture: Lachlan Grey

Bullettes captain Kristen Glanville is confident her side can shut down attacking sensation Chelsea Tout and her Gundagai Tigers with a tight defensive showing in Saturday’s eliminational final at Tumut.

Along with fellow try-machines Linley Jones (14) and Billie Deacon (9), Tout (27) has accounted for roughly half of the Tigers’ tries this season and Glanville is on high alert.

“It’s tough having only played the Tigers once this year but we know what’s coming,” Glanville said. 

“We let their halfback (Tout) run around us a little in our 6-4 loss earlier this season so we really need to contain her.

We’ve identified their other major threats and we’re pretty confident that we can step up and go one better this weekend.

The Bullettes will take heart from Gundagai’s 30-4 loss to Temora last week, Glanville pointing to her side’s dual draws with the Dragons earlier this season as a mark of their capability.

“We’ve had some really close games with Temora who convincingly beat Gundagai just before, so we’re pretty confident we can do it.”

Bullettes and U16 Bulldogs coach Aaron Byrne agreed with his captain’s analysis, noting the side’s marked improvement from March to August. 

“We know their halfback is a serious attacking threat and we’ve seen that in the past … so we’ll have a plan in place for her,” Byrne said.

“That being said, the girls have come a long way since that June fixture and each week they seem to improve more and more, so we’ll see how they front up to the pressure of finals footy.”

Meanwhile U16 Bulldogs trainer Ned Miller has tipped his side to learn from their 28-16 loss to South City when the two square up for an elimination final rematch on Saturday.

The undermanned Bulldogs shot out to a 10-0 advantage but fell wayward either side of halftime as South City used their full bench to batter the blue and whites into submission. 

“We started really well but probably went off our game a little in the middle 40 minutes,” Miller said.

“That allowed South City’s more dominant players to get rolling and post a lead we couldn’t chase down.”

The return of injured skipper Zac Rumble was a welcome sight last weekend and Miller believes the former Weissel Medal leader’s influence could prove pivotal.

“It’s great to have Zac back out on the paddock and putting his foot forward.”

“He was probably still a little tentative last week but he’s the kind of player who can lead alongside Jayden D'Aran and really take control of the game.”

Miller and Byrne have firmly donned the underdog’s tag heading into Saturday but according to Miller, it’s the best place to be.

“Our blokes have nothing to lose,” he said.

Aaron’s been telling them all year they deserve to play finals footy and they’ve been training the house down, doing everything that’s asked of them.

“We’re definitely going as as smokies out of the five sides in finals but if we get over this first hurdle, anything could happen.”

Both Miller and Glanville called for support from the Bulldogs faithful, the former particularly keen to see faces from the first grade and reserve side in the stands at Twickenham.

“Hopefully we'll get a bit of support from those senior boys,” Miller said.

“Every little bit counts.”