The Bullettes are one win away from George Tooke History.
The Bullettes celebrate a try against Crookwell. When the Cootamundra Bullettes take the field in Saturday’s George Tooke Shield (GTS) League-Tag Grand Final against the Harden Hawkettes, they will enter uncharted territory. During their time in Group 9 and the George Tooke Shield competitions, the Bullettes have never featured in a Grand Final, and it’s been cause to celebrate for the club, community and local Rugby League fans.
“It’s very exciting for everyone involved,” said Cootamundra Bullettes co-coach Lauren Connell “It’s been a very long time since the club has been involved in a Grand Final. It’s the first time ever that the senior League-Tag side has been in a Grand Final, so we are all very excited.”
Cootamundra and Harden have played some entertaining games in 2023, with Harden winning 26-20 in Round One. Cootamundra ended the Hawkettes’ winning streak in Round 14, getting up 10-8 in a thrilling contest. They last met in the major semi-final at Crookwell Memorial Oval earlier this month, and Harden fired on all six cylinders to win 36-nil. The Bullettes bounced back from defeat, belting Crookwell 30-nil in their Preliminary Final in Boorowa on Saturday. Andie McTavish led the way with three tries, Maddison Gillies scored a brace, and Kristen Byrne scored a try and kicked three conversions in the dominant win. Connell, who was happy with her side’s victory over the She Devils, knows it will be a more challenging assignment against Harden, and she had the utmost respect for the reigning premiers. Still, Coota’s skipper is confident in her side’s ability to claim a long-awaited premiership, especially after their recent win over Harden in what doubled co-coach Kristen Byrne’s 150th game for the Bullettes.
“We need to continue to keep showing up for one another. It will be a hard game, but whoever can control the ball the most will win.” Cootamundra League-Tag ranks are very strong, and the future is looking bright, with Connell explaining that a young Bullettes side, peppered with experienced players, will contest Saturday’s decider.
“We have a young side mostly with the majority aged under 20. However, we do have a couple of older, more experienced players as well,” Connell said. “I think the mixture of young and old has helped us a lot throughout the season. “Everyone is close and gets along really well; we have amazing connections and friendships between us all and show up for one another each and every week.” In terms of winning on Saturday and what it would mean for the Bullettes and the club, Connell believes a win has the potential to drive a new wave of juniors to the club, setting Cootamundra up for long-term success.
“It would mean the world,” Connell said. “It would be amazing for everyone’s hard work all year to be recognised with such a massive achievement. “I think it will also encourage girls to play in the coming years, knowing that girls can succeed in this sport and sport in general.” Whatever happens on Saturday, win, lose or draw, it’s been a terrific season for the Bullettes, who are just happy to be playing for a premiership. “The girls are all very excited,” Connell said. “The vibe after our game on Saturday was nothing but amazing; everyone is bursting with excitement and eager to show everyone what we have got this weekend.”
Saturday’s match kicks off at 12.50 p.m., and the club is encouraging everyone to get along to Crookwell and support the Bullettes. For those that can’t make it, Canberra Region Rugby League (CRRL) will be streaming the match.