UNDERRATED before a ball had been touched, Southern Inland Rugby Union surprise packet CSU has made a stunning case for the premiership after slinking to second on the ladder undetected.
After a jagged pre-season, Reddies coach Mick Wakeling made the lofty aspiration to cement a spot in the competition’s top six by this point in the season – a goal that has been far surpassed by the university team.
A mixed bag of raw talent and rugby union rookies are a winning combination, having lost just two games this season.
Perched underneath steam-rolling leaders Albury on the ladder, the Reddies are shaping up as the biggest competitor to a Steamers title on August 31.
“I think I’ve been consistent in saying they’ve punched above their weight this year, and they’ve surpassed all expectations,” SIRU manager Mick McTaggart told The Daily Advertiser yesterday.
“For a club that was smashed in the last round of the comp by Ag College last year, there were concerns how they would come back in 2013 and it’s just been a fantastic effort, and I take my hat off to them.
“Their for and against record proves that winning is the be all and end all, and they’re now renowned for being involved in a tight scrap, but the majority of the time they’ve emerged as winners, and that’s a great sign.
“They’re an 80-minute team that doesn’t panic and that’s a fantastic weapon to have come finals time.
“I didn’t think it was possible, but anything can happen.”
For the inspiring spirit to defeat all expectations, the Reddies were named senior team for the month when The Daily Advertiser’s Wagga Sports Awards for May and June were announced yesterday.
The Wagga Sports Awards seek to recognise the achievements of athletes and sports team in the city.
YOUNG GUNS SHINE
IN THE hotly contested category of junior sportsperson, Mater Dei Catholic College star Jada Mathyssen-Whyman was the standout contender.
With a fast-lane ticket to the big stage, the 13-year-old goalkeeper began her transition from Wagga soccer prodigy to Matilda hopeful in May after making her debut in the NSW Open team.
Against women twice her age, Mathyssen-Whyman was elevated to the opens team for the Australian championships, and is now training alongside Matilda stars with the W-League team Sydney FC.
Fellow Mater Dei star Carly Salmon also swept top honours yesterday as she was named junior sportsperson for June.
The incredible 13-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer was named as part of the Australian athletics team to tour France for the IPC Championships this month, alongside Temora Paralympian Scott Reardon.
Competing in the open division against athletes of full maturity, Salmon will undergo intense training for the competition, which starts in less than a fortnight.
MAIDEN WIN EARNS RECOGNITION
THE Riverina Anglican College etched its name in Carroll Cup folklore with a historic victory over Mater Dei in the Australian football schoolboys final on June 12.
For the first time in its 14-year history, TRAC finally landed the title over red-hot favourites Mater Dei 6.6 (42) to 4.9 (33) at Robertson Oval, after scoring its first semi-final victory the week before.
“It certainly was an honour,” TRAC sports coordinator Michael Stubbs said yesterday.
“It is also seen as a reward for all the hard work from our many sporting teams over the past 14 years.
“Many of our players are not just (Australian football) players, but also represented the college in swimming, athletics, cross country, cricket, hockey and rugby league.
“We do not allow students to pick and choose which sports they can play, it is all-in or none ... the culture we believe works.”
In scoring the underdog win, TRAC demolished a reputation as newcomers and earned the nod for junior team for the month of June.
HISTORIC VICTORY FOR TAYLOR
Snooker pair Jayne Taylor and Terry Storch also created history of their own after taking out the Wagga Snooker Association title last month.
A first in living memory, Taylor became the inaugural woman to eclipse the title during the final on June 18 at the RSL Club.
Combining with Storch for a shot of glory, Saints took out the final over All Stars 58-38 and were selected as team of the month for the effort.
PALMER PEDALS TO MONTHLY HONOUR
WAGGA-born cyclist Tom Palmer capped a magnificent weekend of cycling in the Riverina after collecting the A grade criterum last month.
Palmer, who now lives in Canberra, is a rising talent in the Australian cycling scene, but made a triumphant return to his home-town with the coveted title over 150 other riders on June 16.
For his achievement, Palmer was yesterday named senior sportsperson when the Wagga Sports Awards were announced.
JUNIOR SPORTSPERSON – MAY
Name: Jada Mathyssen-Whyman
Reason: The teenage soccer prodigy has enjoyed a stellar season on the field, kick started by her selection and debut in the NSW Opens women’s soccer team in May. A phenomenal achievement for the 13-year-old, Mathyssen-Whyman’s star has continued to rise while training with the W-League Sydney FC team with an eye on a spot with the Matildas.
SENIOR TEAM – MAY
Discipline: Rugby union
Reason: Written off through the Southern Inland Rugby Union pre-season, CSU carved through the competition undefeated through the first seven rounds of the season. With a victory over SIRU premier Ag College on May 18, Reddies earned respect.
JUNIOR SPORTSPERSON – JUNE
Name: Carly Salmon
Reason: The 13-year-old Mater Dei Catholic College star has been swept into the green and gold with selection in the Australian Athletes with a Disability team to take on the IPC World Championships in France this month.
SENIOR TEAM – JUNE
Reason:Wagga mother Jayne Taylor became the first woman in more than 40 years to eclipse the snooker pennant final at the RSL Club on June 18. Combining with Terry Storch to form the Saints, the duo claimed the grandstand title over Allstars 58-38.
SENIOR SPORTSPERSON – JUNE
Name: Tom Palmer
Reason: A rising talent in Australian cycling, the Wagga-born athlete made a spectacular return to the city in June, taking out the A grade criterium ahead of 150 riders around the CBD.
JUNIOR TEAM – JUNE
Name: TRAC Carroll Cup team
Discipline: Australian football