Group Nine’s leading pointscorer from two seasons ago is back and on the hunt for an even bigger year.
Tumut’s strong recruitment drives continues as the look to be a force this season.
The Blues have welcomed back Jacob Toppin following a season in the Canberra Raiders Cup.
Toppin decided to follow former Blues coach Jarrad Teka to Yass last season, but is back with his hometown club.
Blues co-coach Dean Bristow is excited to have him back on board.
“What he brings to the team is great, we dearly missed him last year, so it’s great to have him back in what is building as a pretty promising side,” Bristow said.
“His energy and enthusiasm and passion for what we’re trying to bring – a bit of pride and passion in the jersey – is something has brings heaps of.”
The hooker had an up and down year as co-captain of the Magpies with his season interrupted with a three-week suspension.
However with the Blues also welcoming Lachlan Bristow back to the fold, what role Toppin takes is up in the air.
“It is a good headache to have as this time last year we were scratching at who we were going to play where,” Dean Bristow said.
“This time we’ve got a lot of options everywhere.
“His preferred position is hooker but with Lachlan here he will probably play there, he’s not as versatile as what Toppo is.
“He’s pretty handy in the halves, can play fullback if needed or in the centres.
“He can pretty much play anywhere.”
Toppin was Group Nine’s leading pointscorer in 2017 and Bristow is more than happy to relinquish the goalkicking responsibilities back to him.
He’ll also be joined by former Yass teammates Ben and Tom Warner who have also signed on with the Blues for 2019.
Interchange player Sandy McRae is the only loss from the side who finished sixth last season.
Bristow is confident it bodes well for an exciting season in the hills.
“We’re hopeful of getting another one or two signings and want to finalise that in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“Then we can just build with our squad rather than chase them through the rest of the pre-season.”
The Blues were a chance of sneaking into the top four coming into the final round of last season.
Bristow is confident they are much better placed this time around.
“We’ve managed to get ourselves a little bit of depth this year and if everyone can stay fit and healthy then I think we’ll definitely be there at the right end of the year.”