2019 Shute Shield Season Review: Gordon

Things were close to rock bottom at Chatswood Oval last year, following another disappointing season in grade.

While the club was rebuilding through their colts, there was still plan of work to be done when new coach Darren Coleman arrived. 

Considering where they came from, the Stags 2019 campaign was fairly remarkable. 

And if the past 12 months are any indication, things look like they’re only just getting started at Gordon. 

Overview with Darren Coleman:

“I really enjoyed my first year at Gordon. I enjoyed the experience of going to a new club, I made a lot of good friends and like all footy clubs there are a lot of good people involved,” Coleman told Rugby News. 

“I think in regards to the grade program, they’d probably lost their way a little bit and I’d like to think we’re back on track now and pushing for bigger and better things moving forward.

“If you look at grade, they were a bit of a beaten dog really after a number of tough seasons and they were really down on confidence. They were second guessing whether they should stay around and they just needed some belief that they could turn it around and turn it around quickly. 

“If I look at our season in a nutshell, we finished with three tries in six matches and of seven games that were decided by a try or less, we only won two.

“The final blow and the one that ended up costing us our season was the 84th minute try by Jack Grant in the second last round against Easts but we had four other games like that throughout the season as well. Manly, Norths at home, Souths in round one when we could have won but didn’t. 

“Within the first grade playing group, there’s a lot of disappointment because we know we were able to beat every team in the competition bar one and we were in pretty good form towards the end of the season. 

We might not have won the competition, but I think we could have caused an upset of two in the finals. 

“From the rest of the club, there’s a lot positivity and guys are really excited that we’re back on the right track. 

“Second grade won the minor premiership, third grade won the comp, fourth grade fell just short in the preliminary final and colts won the club championship so the club as a whole is in really good shape.”

Which of your non contracted players deserves to go on and play higher honours? 

“I’m probably a little biased on this one, but Mate Vailanu deserves a crack. I’ve got a long association with him and he won our best and fairest award by quite some way this year,” Coleman said.

“He’s playing NRC down in Melbourne and he’s got a training contract to Christmas with the Rebels and I think he deserves a shot.”

“The other standout was Jake Abel, he was outstanding for us and is a Super Rugby player in waiting.”

What needs to happen at Gordon between now and round one next year? 

“I think we’ve just got to build on what we did this year. We’ll be launching from a much better platform this time compared to October last year and it’s looking like we’ll have around 90% player retention. 

“We want to add some guys in key positions and then just build all aspects of our game so that we can match it with the best and win the comp.”

Bold prediction for 2020: 

“Sydney Uni to drop out of the top six next year.” 

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