Dewar Shield: Heavyweights meet in mid-season clash
The first round of the Dewar Shield wraps up with a top of the table clash between Harlequins and Box Hill this Saturday at Ashwood Reserve.
Quins handed previously undefeated Melbourne their first loss two weeks ago and Box Hill coach Tom Navanua is well aware of the challenge his team faces.
“Harlequins have set the benchmark for every club, they’ve gone unbeaten and we expect nothing but a well-drilled, clinical team.”
Harlequins coach Pom Simona said his team have been looking forward to the game after struggling against Box Hill recently.
“In the last couple of years, Box Hill’s had our number.
“They’ve got a big pack and really dangerous backs from halfback to fullback so we’ll be on our toes for sure.
“We know how dangerous Box Hill are so we’ve just been working on defence and making sure we clean up any mistakes we make. I think they’re probably the most dangerous team in the comp when it comes to turnover ball.”
Navanua said his team’s backline strength is well known but it is in the forwards where the game will be won and lost.
“Everyone knows about our backline, so I’m not too worried about their backline. It’s the forwards that I’m looking forward to. Their forwards aren’t big but they’re very, very clinical.
“For me it’s about up front. Whoever sets the platform right is going to come out on top.”
Another key for Box Hill will be controlling territory and possession. Navanua said fly-half and captain Dan Yakopo will be crucial.
“I think his leadership and decision making has to be up there in regards to where we play on the field, game awareness and so forth. I think it will be more on the captain this week than anything else. He’s going to play such a big part.”
Harlequins welcome back Steve Cummins from the Rebels this week and Simona said they are excited to have the lock back in the fold.
“He was a big part of our team last year and he’s someone that’s always happy to come back to Harlequins from Rebels duty. He’s a massive influence on the team both on and off the field.”