Eastwood v Gordon: Stags head to TG Millner to prove they can match it with the big boys 

Gordon will face arguably one of the most difficult challenges the Shute Shield has to offer on Saturday, facing equal competition leaders Eastwood at TG Millner on Back to Eastwood Day. 

The Stags have won their last three matches and find themselves in a four way battle for the final two playoff spots but will give their finals hopes a huge boost if they can upset the Woodies on Saturday. 

Eastwood drew level with Warringah on top of the Shute Shield ladder after beating Manly away last weekend, but coach Ben Batger said it was far from a polished performance. 

“It was a great example of effort trumping application,” the coach said. 

“We turned over way too much easy ball but we won the effort areas and took our opportunities to win the game.”

The Woodies are now in a four way battle for the minor premiership and welcome back workhorse Rhys Allen at lock for Saturday’s clash against Gordon at TG Millner. 

“Our focus this week has to be on our attitude. 

“They’re a very competitive team who work hard all game so we need to match them in that area before we think about anything else.”

Gordon scored seven tries, including a double to young centre Joey Walton off the bench, in a 46-12 win over West Harbour last week. 

“It was a little scrappy but I was pleased that we finished strongly and scored some nice long range tries against a team that’s proved tricky for many teams this year,” coach Darren Coleman said. 

Coleman has named Brendan Mitchell and Walton in his starting side to face the Woodies, who were far too good for Gordon when the two sides met earlier this year according to the coach. 

“Eastwood was the only game we’ve had this year that we didn’t compete and never looked like winning.

“They strangled us and gave us a lesson in the physical side of the game. We planned to run them around but couldn’t get any quick ball to do it. 

“It’s a great opportunity to see how far we’ve progressed as a team. 

“The Woods at Millner, leading the comp and on Back to Eastwood Day. We can’t wait.”

Eastwood (1-15)

Dean Doumbos, Ed Craig, Rob Lagudi, James Neale, Rhys Allen, Michael Icely, Tevita Piukala, Pat Sio, Mick Snowden, Tayler Adams, Kiti Ratu, Nox Muliufi, Barton Picone, Afa Pakalani, Jackson Bird.

Gordon (1-15)

Harry Rorke, Mahe Vailanu, Nick Fraser , Cameron Holt , Jack Margin, Brendan Mitchell, Jack Maguire, Jordy Goddard, Jacob Abel, Sean Kearns, Ahmu Tuimalealiifano, Joey Walton, Alex Gregory, Mike Molloy, Alex Barker.

Photo: Serge Gonzales

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