12 of the most underrated players in the Shute Shield
Over the last few weeks we’ve seen a number of big names return to their clubs following the end of the Super Rugby season, but it’s not always the big names that win side’s premierships.
Every champions team features a handful of workhorses, happy to go about their jobs with minimal fuss.
Heading into the final month of the regular season, we’ve put together a list of 12 of the most underrated players in the competition.
Michael Icely – Eastwood
The No.6, described as a young Hugh Perrett, has been a standout since playing way into the Woodies starting side earlier this year. Icely has a huge engine and is strong at the breakdown and in the lineout.
Nicholas Champion de Crispigny – Sydney Uni
The man with the longest name in the Shute Shield is arguably one of the most consistent and routinely stands out in a Uni forward pack filled with Super Rugby stars.
Tuitakau Kioa – Western Sydney
Few players in the Shute Shield are spoken more about by opposition coaches than Two Blues lock Tuitakau Kioa, better known as Teekay. The tall, powerful forward is a nightmare to tackle and has made more than a few defences look silly this year.
Jack Johnson – Randwick
Another great Shute Shield name, Randwick flanker Jack Johnson is another workhorse who rarely puts a foot wrong. Behind Kotoni Ale and Charlie Gamble, Johnson is the third most dominant player at the breakdown in the competition.
Denny Godinet – Southern Districts
Rebels outside centre Denny Godinet has been a staple of the Souths’ backline for what seems like forever and continues to impress on the edges. Godinet can burn defenders with his lightening feet and use his physicality in both attack and defence.
Harry Bergelin – Manly
What you see is what you get with Manly forward Harry Bergelin. The consistent and versatile backrower rarely produces a poor performances and will likely continue to do so until he brings a premiership back to Manly Oval.
Connor Vest – Northern Suburbs
Norths lock Connor Vest, from Grafton in northern NSW is another that goes about a whole heap of work without much fuss. Vest is the competition’s most dominant line out jumper and averages more than 13 carries and nine tackles every match.
Mike Molloy – Gordon
Gordon winger Mike Molloy may not have been talked about as much as some of his new teammates at Chatswood, but since crossing the ditch the former Southland Stag has made quite an impact. Molloy is in the top 10 in the competition for defenders beaten, metres gained and clean breaks.
Jack Grant – Eastern Suburbs
Grant is the heart and soul of the Eastern Suburbs first grade side and is playing the best rugby of his career in 2019. The competition’s leading try scorer only starting wearing the No.9 a few years ago and has quickly become one of the most dominant rakes in the Shute Shield.
Ru Mackenzie – Warringah
There’s no shortage of talent in the Warringah backrow but Scottish forward Ru Mackenzie is arguably one of the best. The no nonsense big man has made more tackles this year than any other player in the competition.
Rhys Allen – Eastwood
Woodies backrower Rhys Allen has been one of the most consistent performers at TG Millner in recent years. The red headed No.6 is in the top 10 in the competition for tackles made, carries and turnovers.