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After a draw and two losses to start their Group 9 campaign, it wasn’t looking great for the South City Bulls.

With new coach Cleveland McGhie (pictured above, centre) at the helm, the Bulls drew with the Young Cherrypickers 28-all in their first match but fell to Albury 34-18 before a shock 28-20 loss to Junee.

Leading a young group, McGhie took advantage of a bye in Round Four.

With his side ‘resetting’, they have since come out and won four games on the trot defeating the Tumut Blues 26-18 at Twickenham, knocking off Wagga Kangaroos 22-12 and Wagga Brothers 32-14 before a tough trip into Temora in Round Eight.

Playing the Dragons, South City held their nerve to secure a thrilling 26-22 win propelling them into fourth spot and just one competition point behind the second-placed Dragons.

McGhie was impressed with his side’s efforts against a strong Temora outfit led by former NRL star Josh McCrone.

“Against Temora, we were down 14 points with 15 minutes left on the clock, but something clicked and the boys just went on with it,” McGhie said.

"As a coach I want to bring out their best, and we’ve worked as a team on composure and handling the heat of the battle, as I know that mental composure is the difference between clawing your way back into a game or getting beat by 20-30 points.”

While South City endured a tough start to their campaign, McGhie said the Bulls would only continue to improve.

“There are about three of us over 30, and myself, and then the rest of the playing group is 22 or younger,” McGhie said. 

“It’s a young squad, so I’ve been able to come in and work with them. For me, it’s about developing them as footballers, giving them a bit of a system, and teaching them some of that professionalism.

“The thing is, there is so much improvement in the boys, and from our Round One draw and those losses, we’ve been able to build … do some hard work off and on the field, and by building that mental resilience and fortitude, we’ve come out and got those wins.”

Born and raised in Illawarra, McGhie progressed through elite Rugby League systems, spending time in Canberra before briefly hanging up the boots.

He returned to the paddock and played at Newcastle, Canterbury-Bankstown, Mounties, and Wests Tigers before returning to Group 6, where he played for the Oakdale Workers.

The 28-year-old then opted to move to the Riverina, where the Wagga community welcomed him and his family with open arms.

“It’s a good competition, and there are good quality players out here that should probably be playing in Sydney, and some should have kicked on to play in the NRL,” McGhie said.

On Sunday, McGhie and the Bulls will be chasing five straight wins when hosting the red-hot Gundagai Tigers at Harris Park.

Gundagai has won three on the trot, and McGhie said his Wagga side was focused on the job at hand.

“It’s massive,” McGhie said.  

“It’s just as big as playing Temora last week and coming up against Kangaroos after beating Tumut, and it’s something we’ve talked about already.”

In other Group 9 Round Nine fixtures, Young hosts Temora at Alfred Oval, Junee takes on the visiting Wagga Kangaroos at Laurie Daley Oval, and Albury trek to Wagga to take on Brothers at McDonald’s Park.

Click here for all Group 9 ladders, results, and draws.

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