From men’s captain to women’s coach

April 29, 2017

New venture: Fili Fili (Shepparton Bulls) has stepped back from his on-field role to coach the new women's team this season.Star of the show: Fili Fili finished with 23 points as Shepparton Bulls down Maroondah on Saturday.

The Shepparton Bulls Rugby Union Club will host a double-header today at Vibert Reserve in what promises to be a blockbuster day.

Bulls senior manager Theresa Ifopo was excited for the year ahead after the club had a few changes during the off-season.

‘‘It’s quite exciting, there’s been a lot of changes within the club including launching our women’s team so there’s a lot happening,’’ she said.

The Bulls’ women’s team took to the field for the first time last week against Box Hill and will be looking to taste their first Victorian Women’s Rugby Union victory today when they host Power House Rugby Club.

‘‘A lot of the girls are giving it a go for the first time so all I want is for them to get a feeling for it,’’ head coach Fili Fili said.

‘‘It is a learning process and they’re very excited for their first home game.’’

Fili captained the senior men’s side last season, but has stepped back from his on-field duties to lead the women’s team.

‘‘My main focus is on the girls this year but I will fill in when they need me,’’ he said.

‘‘Today’s game gives a lot of people in the Shepparton community who haven’t seen women’s rugby to come down and see what it’s all about.’’

The senior men have had a mixed start to the Victorian Club Rugby second division season, losing to Kiwi Hawthorn in round one before defeating Ballarat by just three points last week.

The Bulls sit fourth on the ladder and host the winless Bendigo today.

‘‘We’re very confident, it was give and take last year (against Bendigo) but we got over them last time we played,’’ Ifopo said.

‘‘We have a lot of players unavailable but we’re all praying for a good result.’’

Under-18 captain Billy Fangatua has already made an impression this season after gaining selection into the Elite Pathways Victorian Schoolboys squad.

‘‘It’s really exciting for him and the club,’’ Ifopo said.

‘‘The juniors won last year and he is captain again so he will definitely do his best.’’

The initial squad of 35 will be whittled down as the season progresses, but the club was confident Fangatua could hold his own.

The under-18s are on top of the Victorian Junior Rugby Union ladder after smashing Box Hill last week and will travel to Melton today.

The women’s match begins at 1.30pm, with the seniors to start at 3pm.

Anyone interested in playing rugby can attend training at Vibert Reserve Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm.

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