Around The Traps Column: Derby delights, 1970s memories, Two Blues thumbs up, Worth his weight

BY MARK CASHMAN

We’re into Round Four of the Shute Shield and as always the phone has been ringing hot with all the news and views from the greatest club competition in Australia. Here’s what we are hearing:Lots of banter and spirited debate about the emotion that derbies bring to the Shute Shield on the Shute Cast podcast this week.

The old classic – Northern Suburbs v Gordon – made a pretty good case about that one being the pre-eminent derby on the weekend after a cracking game at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.

Then there was the cracker of a game at Coogee Oval that saw Eastern Suburbs score a try after the bell to seal a famous victory over Randwick.

This column reckons that the Battle of the North has got its nose in front at this stage but former Manly president Anthony Bergelin maintains the line that the Battle of the Beaches between Manly and Warringah is still the standard bearer.

Whichever way you look at it these games make good business sense with Norths gate taking doubling anything they have had over the past six years and the turnstiles really ticking over at Coogee on Saturday at the same time.

A lot of the people that stuck their head into North Sydney Oval and Coogee will be back for more that’s for sure.

The pandemic last year meant that most clubs ran a significant deficit on their books for the 2020 so days like last Saturday are important for the continued robustness of the Shute Shield.

And while we’re talking about the Battle of the Beaches the tickets for the 50th anniversary luncheon on June 4 have been absolutely flying out the door.

I’d hate to make this into some sort of competition but there have been north of 600 tickets sold and the Warringah types are out selling their Manly rivals at the moment.

May the derbies and the debates continue.

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While we’re in derby mode the Beaches Derby teams of the 1970s have been announced.

Lots of names and lots of memories in these names.

MANLY (1-15): Bernie Bergelin, New Taylor, Ian Finlay, Russell Bate, Tony Miller, John Swan, Dempsey Joy, Peter Lumsdaine, Wayne Florentine, Tony Cox, Keith Chapman, Andy Black, Wally Meakes, Phil Speer, Malcolm Noad.

WARRINGAH (1-15): Harry Rainbow/Paulm Drake, Doug Leslie, Warren Poole, Barry Millar, Ian Bathie, Rod Macqueen, Kevin Hitchcock, Mark Holmes, Peter ingram, Reg Ryan, John Appleton, Peter Aroney, Paul Booth, John Montgomery, Paul Rowland.

For the record of the 15 times the two clubs played in the 1970s Manly won 13 times and never lost by more than eight points.

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Good to see that Stan Sport have taken up the suggestion of this column to work some crowd noise into the coverage of each of the six Shute Shield games that are streamed live each weekend.

When most game are called off the stream in Stan Sport HQ it’s not an easy task to inject the excitement that you feel at the ground but this is helping.

On top of that a big thumbs up to the Highlights and Mini Match packages that are part of the overall menu – the punters out there love it.

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Rugby News got their hands on some of the early season stats earlier this week and many of the usual suspects headed up categories like most metres gained and defenders beaten.

Sydney Uni’s Tim Clements and Alesana Pohla from Gordon were right up there in these categories but the good early season form of Norths’ hooker James Margan and Brad Hemopo was there for all to see.

Margan featured in a number of categories rating in the defenders beaten area on 13 and of all things lineout steals.

I think Hemopo has been the form player of the first three weeks of the Shute Shield and his work in the Shoremen’s defensive line out has been on show weekly.

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Big thumbs up to the off-field staff at the Western Sydney Two Blues who had to manage a medical emergency during the Shute Shield game against Penrith at Holroyd Sports Ground last weekend.

The incident involved one of the Two Blues first graders and the quick work of the medical staff stabilised a situation that could easily have spiralled out of control.

They got him off to hospital and he is waiting on test results before being discharged.

My contacts at the Two Blues tell me he’s in good spirits apart from the boredom.

Well done to all concerned.

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Southern Districts head coach TODD LOUDEN’s close relationship with Melbourne Rebels boss DAVE WESSELS has seen a very handy recruit walk in the door at Forhsaw Rugby Park earlier this week.

Louden was shooting the breeze with Wessels a week or so back when the subject of getting some more game time for their English import GEORGE WORTH came up.

Souths’ stocks in the centres had taken a bit of a battering in the first three weeks of the Shute Shield and the former Leicester Tiger was keen for a run.

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The deal was quickly done and once the Rebels Super Rugby AU season is finished in coming weeks Worth will be worth his weight in gold, so to speak.

As well as covering 12 and 13 he can also play fullback and is a pretty sizeable No.10 at a pinch.

He’s a good get for Souths whose season is coming together after a slow start.

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The best and the brightest women’s sevens talent will be on show over the weekend at Forshaw Rugby Park.

The first of the two national rounds of the AON University Sevens Series will be staged at Forshaw over the two days and a sprinkling of stars that are headed to Tokyo will be part of the action.

It’s an ideal chance to get a close look at some world class women’s sevens talent and an important part of the build up to the Olympics.

The Aussie squad are heading to New Zealand in a couple of weeks time to take on New Zealand in a series of matches and the weekend’s matches will be closely watched by national team boss JOHN MANENTI.

Pool A: The University of Queensland alongside Bond University, Griffith University, the University of Adelaide and Melbourne University.

Pool B: University of Sydney, the University of Canberra, the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of Newcastle

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West Harbour hosted many of the stars from their Shute Shield finals side from the 1980s including NEALE MURPHY, GEOF HARPER, DARREN ROWLEY, DOUG NICOLS, LEE MAHER, STEVE ADAMS, PERCY HALE and KEVIN UYEDA last weekend at Drummoyne Oval.

They had a dinner on the Friday night before the game against the Hunter Wildfires and those attending were ecstatic about the end result. Murphy was the Rothmans Medallist for the best and fairest player in the Shute Shield in 1981 and a great stalwart of that hulking side that Wests were in this days where tobacco companies were all part of the sporting landscape.

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CSU Mitchell Rugby Club in Bathurst will celebrate its 50th year anniversary this weekend. Close to 450 ‘Old Boys’ will be returning for a formal do on Saturday evening, hosted by Old Boy Tim Sheridan, with former Wallabies Justin Harrison and Joe Roff the guest speakers.

Before that, the universities first grade, second grade and women’s teams will take on Parkes in front of a big crowd at CSU’s home ground ‘The Zoo’. The largely student based club doesn’t mind hosting the odd social event. Mount Pan Run, Beef Brothers, Mensa and Red Bear Sundays are some of the most popular held each year.​

IMAGE: KAREN WATSON