Tumut co-coach Zac Masters is turning his attention to next year's Group Nine premiership after the season came to an unfortunate end this week.
The Blues, who finished minor premiers, were well-positioned for another premiership assault but NSW Rugby League confirmed the cancellation of all regional competitions on Tuesday, due to COVID-19 and the associated restrictions around community sport.
Masters conceded it was a disappointing way to end the season, especially right on the eve of finals, but said there was no alternative other than to look towards next season.
"It was obviously a pretty disappointing way to end the year but I think we knew it was coming, especially when John Barilaro said that we need to get to 80 per cent double vaccs before we could actually play. It was only going to be a matter of time," Masters said.
"It's a disappointing way to finish, especially when we were in such a good position, a lot of hard work went into getting there but hopefully we can keep the side together and go again next year."
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Tumut had only lost two games throughout the season to finish the year on top. Masters believes they were well-placed to go all of the way.
"I think so, it's probably the best position we've been in for a very long time," he said.
"We had only lost a couple of close ones during the year and they were games that we probably shouldn't have lost as well so we had a good chance to go through undefeated, which says a fair bit about the side we had."
Masters said the big query for Tumut was the likely unavailability of Canberra-based players Jed Pearce, Ron Leapai and Tolo Aroha-Tuinauva.
"I suppose the other worry for us was getting our Canberra boys back," he said.
"We had three boys coming from Canberra and with their status, being in lockdown at the moment, we were a fair chance of not getting those boys back. Three of our gun players too, which would have hurt us a little bit, so whose to say that could have made a big difference to our side."
Southcity counterpart Nathan Rose was also disappointed the season didn't get a finish. He had the Bulls in second spot when the statewide lockdown halted the competition.
"Yeah I think that's probably the right word, disappointed. There's definitely disappointment not to see the finals series out," Rose said.
He believes the Bulls were going into finals with a live chance.
"Yeah we finished second, we were thereabouts. Finals footy is a different type of footy and it is anyone's game to win."
Masters also paid tribute to Group Nine for trying their best to get a season finished before the NSW Government ultimately had the final say.
"Group Nine did their best, I think, trying to hold out as long as they could to get it done but it just wasn't to be in the end," Masters said.
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