The Tumbarumba Kangaroos will be buoyed by the return of many local juniors this year, while a handful of Lavington recruits will bolster the club’s depth as they look to return to the top of the Upper Murray Football and Netball League (UMFNL) in 2021.
One player excited to be back in the fabled Blue and White kit is local product and former Ovens and Murray footballer, James Waters.
“It’s a completely different set up from what I’ve had at Lavi (Lavington) in recent years but I’m definitely excited to be back,” Waters said.
“I haven’t played here since 2013. I left after the 2012 and 2013 grand finals and tried my luck in the O&M and had so much fun and learned so much, and now I can get back to Tumbarumba and teach a few of the young fellas some tricks.”
Waters touched on the tumultuous future of the UMFNL and he hoped that if the competition were to end, Tumbarumba would be the team that everyone remembered as the last ever premiers.
“I think the locals have done it tough for a few years and they are excited to see new faces coming into the club,” Waters said.
“If the league is going to fold, we are going to go out with bang and give it everything that we have got to win it.”
The returning two-time grand final winner said the playing group just needed to get used to winning again, while he was happy to admit it may take a couple of games to gel, as everyone got used to the new players and structures.
“Winning is definitely more fun for everyone and the sky is the limit and we will definitely have a lot more fun this year,” Waters said.
“We haven’t touched on our playing style yet, we have a practice match coming up in a few weeks but we know it will be tough at first, with the majority of the playing list having not played together last year.
“We will leave everything up to Quinn (Rooney) and see where he takes us and back him up where we can.”
Waters brings with him a large group of players, and he believed they would all add a little extra something to the club.
“I’ve probably got five coming across from Lavington and they are all genuine fellas and they have played a mixture of senior football and reggies at Lavi,” Waters said.
“They all jumped at the opportunity to play footy with Tumbarumba, and they want to be part of something special.”
In a good sign for the season ahead, travelling players have already committed to training and will continue to get involved as the season proper nears closer.
“The boys have been coming across once a week or once a fortnight from Albury, and that will sure up as the season gets closer,” Waters said.
“We are training down here too, and there will be about eight or so travelling from Albury, so there are opportunities for us to train here as well.”
With the UMFNL set to kick off on April 17 when the Roos hosting Cudgewa at home, the club will now focus their attention on two trials games when taking on Merimbula on March 27 and Dubbo on April 10.