The 2023 Southern Inland Rugby season came to a close on the 12th of August as Wagga’s Conolly Rugby Park was inundated with supporters, creating an electric atmosphere for the day.
The day started with the SIRU 3rd Grade Final, with Hay defeating Wagga City in a tight contest. With Hay up 19-7 at halftime after a dominant first half, they were on track to cruise home to a championship, but Wagga City weren’t ready to roll over. The hosts scoring two late tries to bring them within 1 point, but it was a penalty from Hay earlier in the match that kept Wagga at bay. A tough battle which saw Hay victors over Wagga City 27-26, and Hay’s James Graham taking out the McMullen Medal.
Following their 3rd grade counterparts, Wagga City battled it out against Tumut in the SIRU 2nd Grade Final. The sides went blow for blow with Wagga pulling out to a 21-12 lead going into the half. Tumut pulled their socks up and got to work in the second but left their resurgence too late as Wagga City walked away with a 29-24 win. Wagga City’s halfback Jayden Dobson being the difference and claiming the Warwick Tout Medal.
It came down to the wire in the Macarthur Real Estate SIRU Women’s Final, with the Waratahs defeating Griffith 31-29. Griffith came into the final with an injection of adrenaline after downing WAC in an extra time, Preliminary Final win the week before. But a sense of déjà vu plagued Griffith as the two sides were locked in at 24-all as the full time buzzer sounded. The boot of Waratah’s Milly Lucas proved the difference, slotting 3/5 conversions. Despite the loss in a valiant effort from Griffith, they were rewarded through Lele Katoa’s best on ground performance, taking home the Adamson Family Medal.
What was set to be another thriller to cap off the day, ended up being a comprehensive win for the Waratahs in the DevCore 1st Grade Final. Waratahs were facing off against Wagga City as the two sides traded points in the first half, with scores level at 10 apiece. But it wasn’t long before Waratahs fullback Lachlan Day was unleashed in the second half, scoring all of the Tah’s 26 points of the match. A best on ground performance for the ages, Day secured the Reddies Old Boys Medal and a Grand Final win for his side. The Waratahs too strong with a 26-10 win.
With a thrilling day of rugby to cap off a fantastic season, there were also some season standouts that can’t go unnoticed. The Bill Castle Medal (B&F of DevCore 1st Grade Regular Season) went to Jacob Nielsen from Wagga City. He scored majority of points in the last 5 rounds to beat out Tasitumua Sala of Tumut by 1 point.
Tessa Good from WAC took out the Alicia Lucas Medal (B&F of Macarthur REA Women’s Xs). It was a fantastic year for Good, who also took out the B&F of the BPC Tournament when playing for SIRU earlier this year. She has been a consistent point collector, with last year’s winner, Amelia Lolotonga from Griffith only 2 points behind.
SIRU Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Drew Hawkins from the Wagga Crows JRU. Drew was the leading force in the organisation and delivery of the Wallabies and Wallaroos visit to SIRU, which included visiting regional Schools and Clubs, golf day fundraisers and multiple other events which raised interest in the game at the Wagga Crows Club.
Wagga City took out the SIRU Club Championship, having three of their four teams represented in Finals, with Women’s finishing narrowly outside the top four, plus the same three qualified for Grand Finals.
A mammoth effort and well-deserved Club Champions for 2023.