BATHURST Bulldogs' under 12s got their Central West Rugby Union season off to a winning start against Orange Emus over the weekend, and this Saturday junior football action kicks into a new gear at Ashwood Park with a revised gala day.
The Bulldogs 12s have started on a positive note and their younger club mates will hope to do the same at the Walla gala day, featuring six clubs from across the Central West.
The under 6s through to 10s finally take to the field on Saturday and get to do so on their home turf.
Meanwhile the under 12s look to keep up their perfect start with the trip to play Wellington.
Walla rugby has had to undergo a serious overhaul due to coronavirus restrictions but Bathurst Bulldogs junior president Mike Curtin said the system put in place should give juniors from across the region the chance to play plenty of football this season.
"It's fantastic to see the kids out playing. We've had to reorganise our structure for Walla level rugby, which is under 6s to 10s. To be COVID compliant we've split our Central West competition into two halves
"We're in the eastern zone, which means this weekend we'll be hosting Millthorpe, Orange City, Orange Emus and Cowra. In order to keep our numbers at the venue below 500 we've asked to have just one parent in attendance.
"We're excited that they're still going to be able to play. It's great that the season hasn't been a totally lost cause and I'm sure parents are excited that their kids are expending some energy in something positive."
Bulldogs under 12s were 35-17 winners over Orange Emus White in round one.
Curtin said the team greatly enjoyed being able to kick off a big day's play against the Emus.
"It was great last weekend to have the club play against Orange Emus from under 12s right through to first grade," he said.
"The majority of the under 12s team are in year six so this will be their final year with Bulldogs. It's fantastic for a lot of those kids - many of whom have been with the club since they were five or six - can still have a final season with the club.
"It's the first year playing on a full field and having all 15 positions on the paddock so they get that first taste of positional play. The under 10s is where they start splitting into forwards and backs but now they have specific positions and they'll learn their craft."
A change to age group structures this season has been seen as another big positive by Curtin.
"We've moved to even age groups this year, 12s, 14s and 16s, and that brings us into line with the rest of the country, not just the state," he said.
"We tend to bleed off junior players to private schools so having the under 12s demarcation is a big boost for us."
Curtin also expressed his thanks to the Wellington club who he said were very accommodating by giving Bulldogs a 10.30am kick-off.
This Sunday's Walla gala day runs from 9am to around 11.30am.