Around The Traps Column: West are waiting, Moore and more, that damn bus!

Words: MARK CASHMAN

We’re into Round Five 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:

Great chat on the Shute Cast podcast from Western Sydney Two Blues boss CRAIG MORGAN about the realities of running a Shute Shield club in Sydney’s west.

Bottom line is it’s not easy to pull together a competitive first grade side in Sydney when the realities of earning a buck to provide for the family are the priority.

Work always must take precedence, Morgan explained in his chat with ANTHONY BERGELIN, and that has an effect.

Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby and the Sydney Rugby Union are due to have chats with the three clubs in western Sydney about what lies ahead.

Morgan is still waiting to hear when this is going to happen but feels that it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Then there is also the fear that the group will come in, call for a merger of Wests, the Two Blues and Penrith, and “then run away”.

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Angus Sinclair, Northern Suburbs’ astute No.10, has put some sense into race for the Shute Shield’s top points scorer.

Sinclair sits atop the table after four rounds with 46 points from a collection of tries, penalty goals and conversions but hot on his tail is Sydney Uni hooker DECLAN MOORE who is on 45 points.

Moore’s points come from nine tries so you could imagine how far in front he would be if he took over the kicking duties at Uni.

Eastwood’s CHRIS BELL is on 44 points from only three games while Souths’ CHRISTIAN KAGIASSIS is not far away on 36 points.

Another big try scorers is Eastwood backrower MICHAEL ICELY on 35 points from his seven tries including a hat track last weekend at Woollahra Oval.

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I’m the first to admit that I love a trawl through a rugby program – new or old it doesn’t matter – to find out who played on a particular day and what a great find last week while pulling together Rugby News.

West Harbour have a prop in their third grade side by the name of TREVOR LEOTA and yes it is the man who was renowned at his peak as the biggest hitter in the game.

Leota lives in Sydney now and is a big part of the Samoan community where he helps Pasifika youth keep on track.

He played more than 200 games for Wasps in the English Premiership and had 30 Test for Manu Samoa between 1997 and 2005.
What a legend.

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There are always great stories coming out of the subbies competitions but this one caught my attention and showed that rugby is alive and well in Sydney’s west.

It reminded me of those simpler times when a valid excuse for being home late centred around the pay phone at the pub not working.

The NSW Subbies Rugby Facebook group reports on a “huge night at Lapstone Oval for the boys from Forest – channelling bus tours from decades gone by”.

Here’s Blue Mountains club legend, Jeff ‘Jab’ Lalchere’s post:

“In my 40 plus years of Blue Mountains rugby I’ve never seen it happen before – the Forest boys went to leave at around 6.30pm, but their bus broke down, they couldn’t get away till around 9.30pm!

“So Jack ran the bar and they spent a fortune in their wait. I’m assuming it was Jack’s family and Dave doing the good deed. There will be a few sore heads down at Melwood Oval (Forest’s home ground) way this morning.”

Friendships made and it’s set the scene for the return of serve in the second round at Melwood – well done to both clubs.

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Great to see that the Hunter Wildfires have taken on Richard Tombs’ Guns Out Spinal Foundation as their charity partner for this season.

The foundation was established by Tombs to help bring together people going through the same troubles, raise awareness of the impact of spasticity, and most importantly, help fund research to find a cure.

‘Tombsy’ has been battling the condition since his accident a couple of years ago and has been making significant progress.

Spasticity is a condition experienced by cerebral palsy and spinal cord injured patients in which the nervous systems message to the muscles is to contract continuously causing discomfort for the patients.

For the rest of this season, the Wildfires will be taking donations at No.2 Sportsground and Richard Tombs himself will be in attendance across a number of home fixtures!
All the details at https://gunsout.org/ and https://gunsout.org/home/donate/

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There is a healthy wedge of the Shute Shield’s Generation Next getting a crack at making NATHAN GREY’s Junior Wallabies squad.

A total of 18 players from a range of clubs have been invited to try their luck in the camp in Canberra starting on May 10.

A number have already had their Shute Shield debuts and I really like the look of Mosese Tuipulotu, a centre at Easts, and Hugh Bokenham a lock or No.6 from Sydney Uni.

Teddy Wilson, Easts, Mosese Tuipulotu, Easts, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Randwick, Sione Taufui, Sydney Uni, Papillon Sevele, Sydney University, Paddy Tagg, Sydney University, Witika Rees-Hatu, Gordon, Dan O’Brien, Randwick, Irie Papuni, Easts, George Poolman, Sydney University, Hamish Moore, Easts, Thomas Maka, Gordon, Ben Dowling, Randwick, Nick Chan, Randwick, Hugh Bokenham, Sydney University, Dan Botha, Sydney University, Adrian Brown, Eastwood, Zac Barnabas, Manly.

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A very happy 100th birthday to the oldest living Wallaby ERIC TWEEDALE who notched up the three figures earlier this week.

It’s a big couple of weeks for Tweedale who will have a special celebration lunch at Merrylands RSL next Friday with 200 special guests.

The lunch, which will be MC’d by RAY HADLEY and I am hearing will see TATAFU POLOTA-NAU and former Wallabies skipper NICK FARR-JONES amongst the crowd.

A little known fact is that MC Hadley played for the Dundas Valley Vikings as a lock or backrower. It was also the junior club of the Price brothers.

Should be a good afternoon and it will end with Tweedale leading the room in the Two Blues club song.

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More teams for the Manly v Warringah teams of the decade announced this week and of course there are some great characters in there derby teams of the 1980s decade.

MANLY (1-15): Ollie Hall, Rod Crerar, Fred Whiteman, P{aul Kennedy, Steve Williams, Bill Calcraft, David Reen, Ross Reynolds, Philip Cox, Tony Cox, Steve Holdstock, James Black, Paul Flemons, Phill Speer, Tony McGeoch.

WARRINGAH (1-15): Rick Black, Lance Walker, Topo Rodriguez, Steve Temple, Dave Purll, Steve Lidbury, Noddy Sawtell, Matt Foldi, Dom Vaughan, Grant Andrews, Graham Topham, Rick davidson, Eddie Wayling/ matt Clegg, Simon Wood, Dean Guberina/Ian Vest.

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Pretty good starting point for the Stan Sport’s foray into rugby and from what I am hearing the Shute Shield and Hospital Cup coverage is playing its role in pulling those numbers in.

The coverage is getting better and better every week as the commentators come to grips with who is who in world of club footy.

Stan are continuing to work on making the coverage better and I am told that functionality of dipping in and out of the many club games over the weekend a lot easier. Stay tuned!

IMAGE: ANDREW QUINN / GORDON RUGBY