By TRACEY ROXBURGH and PHILIP CHANDLER
If this doesn’t wet the club rugby whistle, there’s something wrong.
After a nightmare start to the 2020 Central Otago Premiers rugby comp – which, in fact, didn’t start at all due to the Covid-19 lockdown – the revised draft draw’s out, and it shows the first fixture in Queenstown’s the local derby.
Set down for June 27, Wakatipu’s set to travel all the way to Jack Reid Park to take on the Arrowtown Bulls in game one, round one of a season that would ordinarily be almost half-way through by now.
And, in positive signs for both the local sides, player numbers are strong despite the Covid chaos.
Wakatipu co-coach Grant Murphy says about 40 players turned up to the first post-lockdown training session on Tuesday night, meaning the club can field a Prems team and a Wanderers side, which will again compete in the Southland competition.
And new Arrowtown co-coach Dan Eyles says there were up to 30 Bulls at its first training, which even featured some new faces.
“It’s pretty good for us,” Eyles says.
“The boys are looking pretty good they’re pretty excited to be back in training and getting some rugby under their belt and, of course, having a beer afterwards.”
Murphy says he’s impressed his charges have maintained their fitness over the past couple of months and they’re looking sharp.
“It was a pleasant surprise, their enthusiasm and their fitness … hasn’t dropped off a lot … so that was a good thing to see.”
While Arrowtown’s still to confirm if it’ll have a pre-season game, Wakatipu’s locked and loaded for a warm-up next Saturday, Murphy says.