By Lawrence Machado
Fiji will add extra firepower and skills to this year’s Ron Massey Cup, a fact not lost on Hills District Bulls coach Mick Withers, who admires the Pacific Islanders.
The Bulls, who open their rugby league season this Saturday with an away fixture against Windsor Wolves, will encounter the Fiji Kaiviti Silktails later in the competition. The Fijians thumped the Wolves 40-16 on their debut last year before the Ron Massey Cup was stopped due to COVID-19.
“It is a great thing to have the Fijians in the competition because Queensland’s rugby league have the PNG side,” Withers said.
“The Fijians are the national side and will strongly challenge all teams because they want to prove themselves. As for us, we are ready for the season and I am happy where we are. However, for some players, it has been a long pre-season because last year’s competition was halted due to COVID-19 back in March. Many of the players are also playing their first competitive game since September but this is a settled team. The Wolves always field a strong side and it will be a tough opener.”
Making the Bulls’ challenger even harder will be the presence of former Australian, Tongan and NRL star, Tony Williams – also known as T-Rex – in the Wolves clothing.
The Bulls edged out St Mary’s 34-32 in their last trial game, which provided Withers the opportunity of giving many of his players a good hit out. They had beaten the Windsor Wolves in their first trial before being edged out by reigning champions Wenty Magpies in their second friendly.
“St Mary’s are always hard to beat so it was good to come away with a win,” the former Irish international said.
The Bulls have proven rugby league stars in Tom Robinson, Daniel Harrison, Josh Lewis, Levai Li and newcomer David Gower while their junior ranks always produce quality players.Gower, 35, said he relishes the lack of intense pressure, unlike in the NRL and Super League.
“I am very excited at being able to play for the Bulls because though there is less pressure than in NRL, it is still a very good competition,” Gower said.
Gower has the invaluable experience of playing for four NRL teams and the Super League in Britain before his switch to the Ron Massey Cup, providing an extra edge to the Bulls attack.
* The Hills Bulls take on Windsor Wolves in the Sydney Shield game at 4pm, followed by the Ron Massey Cup clash at 6pm, at the Windsor Sports Complex.