Resurgent Turtles team members Adam Murrell and Stuart Milowski.
Resurgent Turtles team members Adam Murrell and Stuart Milowski. Mike Knott

Turtles talent is showing

TURTLES coach Rob Darney remembers clearly the last time he witnessed a display of raw talent similar to what his players have offered in the opening rounds of the All-Safe Spring Cup.

The year was 2002, and a mix-matched squad of union faithfuls and league converts came together to become one of the most successful in the history of Bundaberg Rugby Union.

“They were a dominant force in local rugby for years and took their rightful place in the history books,” he said.

With some careful coaching and a few choice words of encouragement Darney's former team, the Buccaneers, went on to appear in six consecutive grand finals and achieve four consecutive premierships.

Now defunct, the Buccaneers were rolled into the resurgent Turtles franchise this year in a nod to another of local rugby's former heavyweights.

Formed in 1985 and disbanded in 2002, Darney said there were promising signs of making the Turtles return to competition a triumphant one.

The Turtles have made an uncharacteristically speedy re-entry into Bundaberg rugby romping home to comfortable victories in their first three encounters.

“The interest in the return of club has been exceptional and as a result we've got a good bunch of players together who play with a spring in their step,” Darney told the NewsMail.

“Not all the guys have a lot of experience, but they've all got their hearts in the right place and they've all got the skills to get there.”

Darney said the Turtles backline was among the finest he had seen in local competition, outclassing the back end of the Buccaneers in their prime.

Halfback Adam Murrel, five-eighth Luke Cummins and centres Mat Tanner and Danny Moran have been serving up a brand of football their opposition has found hard to swallow.

“The backs have been razor sharp for us which has been crucial for us,” he said.

“They know how to play as individuals and they can work in together as a team.”

A late addition to the Turtles arsenal will be Matt Templeman who will try his hand at union after playing a crucial role in Brothers' BRL premiership and playing representative league with the Queensland Rangers.

While only a union hatchling, Darney expects Templeman to become an attacking force for the turtles.

“He's going to slot into the centres pretty nicely and early indications point to him absolutely cutting them up.”

Turtles will play Isis Crushers in the fourth fixture of the All-Safe Spring Cup 8 o'clock tonight.

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