Around the Traps: Feltsch relives 2017 GF; Nth Harbour v Sth Harbour & Shute Shield finals venues

AS YOU READ THIS ITEM there will be quite a number of Shute Shielders hiding the excesses of the day before behind a good pair of sunglasses after Rugby News’ coffee table book was launched at a lunch in the city of Friday afternoon.

It was a rollicking afternoon of good old footy fun and tall tales with Norman Tasker, Simon Poidevin, Darren Coleman and Pauli Taumoepeau giving some insight in the Shute Shield and how the Waratahs are tracking.

The classy book tracks the progress of the game in Sydney over the past 100 years and it must be said that it’s the perfect solution when you are struggling to find something for the person in your life that has everything.

It’s available on the Rugby News website (www.rugbynews.net.au) and there are some cracker stories in there from every decade since the voice of rugby in Sydney was launched in 1923.

One of the great stories is the reflections of Warringah fullback Dave Feltscheer who was a vital part of the Rats 2017 premiership side.

I’ll grab a few lines from there book to give you a taste of that time in Shute Shield history and some of the insights that are in the book.

“By the time Warringah fullback Dave Feltscheer had made it to the end of the Rats’ run on tunnel before kick off in the 2017 preliminary final against Manly, he was almost in line at the Can Bar on the Rat Park hill.

“I still get shivers thinking about walking through that tunnel and the atmosphere at Rat Park that day,” Feltscheer said.

“It was incredible to see so many people that just wanted to be a part of it.”

“A week later, Warringah and Norths traded tries in a classic grand final played in front of 16,000 people. The Rats kicked a penalty goal with five minutes remaining, then held on in the final minutes to claim a 30-25 victory.

“The clubhouse after the grand final was just incredible. There were probably 2000 odd people there, there was a band playing, people were crowdsurfing,” Feltscheer recalled.

“I remember walking out of the bathroom at one stage and seeing (Sam Ward’s mother) Jill Ward on someone’s shoulders fist-pumping to Sandstorm by Darude and thinking – this is the best party I’ve ever been to.”

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Around The Traps hears that West Harbour’s return to Concord Oval have been put on hold after a number of glitches emerged in the finals stages of sign-off for the major redevelopment.

The Pirates were keen to get in a couple of home games in before the end of the season but we are hearing that the goal posts at the ground – the tallest in the southern hemisphere – and some of the buildings will need to be moved before any footy is allowed to be played on the ground.

Now that’s no easy task as the goal posts are buried deep in the ground at either end out the playing surface.

There’s no time line of when the changes to the ground will be finished and the modifications needed could well blow out to somewhere around the $100,000 mark.

That’s a great shame as Wests have come into some sort of form over the past month.

Wests are also on the lookout for a new first grade coach with Joe Barakat stepping down at the end of the season.

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Many of us of a certain vintage will remember the days of North Harbour v South Harbour representative games at North Sydney Oval in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Well it looks like it’s all systems go for a return of these two teams with a couple of wider squads to be named a week after the Shute Shield grand final.

They will play the Waratahs in a series of trials in February next year and it gives the next layer of up and comers some exposure against top flight competition.

The squads will be large as much can happen in players lives between the end of one season and the start of another but Around The Traps reckons it’s a good idea.

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There was some talk of a big double header in the third week of the Shute Shield finals series but the unavailability of North Sydney Oval has thrown a spanner in the works.

Shute Shield officials were keen to play the grand final qualifying games at Bear Park but a previous bookings means they are looking for another venue.

That means that two venues will be needed to cater for those games with Coogee Oval looking to be one of the preferred venues.

The Galloping Greens have been able to transfer a number of their lower grade games up to Latham Park and that has preserved the ground.

Pittwater Rugby Park is another ground in pretty good shape too and will be used throughout the finals.

With an eight team finals series being played in firsts, seconds and first grade colts while a six team series is run in all the other grades, premiership deciders will be played over two weekends.

I can just see the white board at SRU HQ getting one hell of a work out.

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Stan Sport commentator Andrew Swain, like his colleague Sean Maloney, was a pretty handy lock forward in his days at the Brothers club in Brisbane back in the day but he really put his body on the line when he MC’d the Warringah lunch last week.

Swain had just finished kicking things off at the luncheon when he stepped off stage and took one hell of a tumble.

The steps to the stage had not been connected properly and came away when the big frame of Swain put his foot down.

Normally there is a bit of laughter when those sort of tunings happen but all you could hear was an audible “oooooooooohhhhhhh” when Swain hit the turf.

Years of training meant he got through the ordeal unscathed except for some light bruising to the ego. 

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Some pretty handy additions to the Sydney Uni roster last weekend with former skipper Ryan O’Regan, Sam Talaki and Jake Gordon having a run (a muddy one at that) against Eastwood at TG Millner.

Returning big dogs at this time of the season is a double edged sword with the additions usually taking a number of weeks to settle into the systems and timings.

Either way they are pretty handy additions to the Uni squad and they do have that time to find their place in the system that Uni run so well.