Blue Mts Rugby Union to contest NSWSRU Division One grand final

The Blue Mountains DRFC (Mountain Goats) will play minor premiers Hunters Hill in the Grand Final of the Kentwell Cup, at 3pm this Saturday afternoon at Concord Oval.

The Kentwell Cup originated in 1923 and is the major trophy for the NSW Suburban Rugby Union (NSWSRU), colloquially known as the “Subbies” competition.

The NSWSRU is made up of five divisions and is the highest level of amateur Rugby Union in NSW. Blue Mountains fields five open-age teams (1st grade – 5th grade) and a Colts (Under 21s) in Division One of NSWSRU. The Kentwell Cup is the trophy awarded to the winning first grade team in Division One.

Teams that have played in the competition since its inception include those linked by geographical location, such as Blue Mountains DRFC, Drummoyne DRFC, Lane Cove RUFC and Petersham RUFC; some are linked by connections to schools, such as Old Ignatians, Newington Old Boys (NOBs), St Patrick’s RC and Knox Old Boys; whilst others have been linked by occupation, such as Fire Brigades, Royal Australian Artillery, CBC Bank and Bondi Lifesavers.

This year’s list of first division teams, in order of their finishing position on the competition ladder at the end of the regular season, were Hunters Hill, Blue Mountains, Waverley, Drummoyne, Colleagues, Mosman, Petersham, Forest and St Patrick’s.

Blue Mountains and Hunters Hill met on just one occasion during the regular season, with Hunters Hill recording a 31-27 win. The major semi-final between those two teams would however be a triumph for Blue Mountains, scoring a crushing 47-27 win to progress straight to the Grand Final and sending Hunters Hill back to the Preliminary Final to meet Waverley, which had defeated Drummoyne 39-17 in the Minor Semi-Final.

Hunters Hill lived up to their regular season form, winning 38-31 to earn another crack at Blue Mountains this Saturday in the Grand Final.

Action from the 2023 Major Semi-Final     – photos courtesy of Brad Redfern Photography Instagram @bradredfernphotography.

Blue Mountains coach Luke Raams is in his second year as coach and, with the assistance of co-coaches Peter Richey and Brad Morgan, along with team leaders Chris Nay, Angus McGrath, JP Sauni and Luke Smart, has turned around a tough season in 2022 to guide the Mountain Goats into the grand final.

“Chris, Angus, JP and Luke are all coaches in their own right, and I really couldn’t have done all of this on my own,” said Luke. “Those guys have taught me a huge amount from their past experience as professional players.”

Luke’s squad through the season has involved 38-40 players, with a rotation of lineups through the season due to work / personal commitments and injuries. The grand final squad will number 25 players, with 15 in the starting line-up and 10 reserves.

The ages of the players vary from 23 – 34 years, featuring up-and-coming stars of the future playing alongside seasoned veterans who predominantly originate from the Blue Mountains – Penrith districts. Many have moved closer to Sydney for work commitments but still travel back to Lapstone Oval to play for the Mountain Goats.

“I didn’t have a preference as to which team we’d rather face in the grand final. Waverley was very strong and Hunters Hill were deserved minor premiers,” said Luke.

“Everyone is fit and we have one more training session this week before Saturday, when we will be ready to play.

“It’s taken us a very, very long time to make it into Division One, and that’s why it would be such a huge achievement for us if we can win the first grade grand final. It really
doesn’t get bigger than this for our club.”