Eastwood v Sydney Uni: Six Shute Shield Grand Finals in 15 years

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Eastwood backrower Hugh Perrett won a Shute Shield premiership in his first season in 2003 and another in his last a full 13 years later, with two more thrown in the middle for good measure. 

An Eastwood junior, Perrett watched the Woodies win their maiden premiership in 1999 and spent his teenage years watching the likes of Bill Young, Jeff Reid, Matt Miller, Travis Hall and Tim Donnelly dominate at TG Milner. 

By 2003, a young Perrett had cracked first grade and helped the Woodies to a 29-14 victory over Randwick in the first of seven Shute Shield grand finals he would play in. 

“I was a pretty young 20-year old and at that stage, I honestly just thought we’d win it every year,” Perrett said. 

“But I found out very quickly just how hard the Shute Shield was to win. How much you had to put in and how much had to go right.”

After losing grand finals in 2004 and 2005, Perrett was forced to wait until 2011 to play in the final match of the season again, this time against a Sydney Uni side chasing a seventh straight title. 

“I always loved playing Uni. They would roll out their big names and we’d have no one but our guys would always rise to the occasion. We seemed to play a style of footy that they didn’t like and find a way to win against them,” he said. 

“I remember one particular afternoon at TG Milner during the 2011 regular season. 

“We defended brilliantly and they didn’t score a try. Neither of us had our best teams on the park, but I think that afternoon gave our guys the confidence that we could beat them, which we ended up doing in the 2011 grand final.”

Playing alongside a handful of childhood mates – guys like Ben Hand, Jimmy Hilgenfdorf, Simon Daff, Dave Rimmer and Ben Batger – Perrett won Shute Shield premierships in 2003, 2011, 2014 and 2015. 

Along with his teammates, he said it was the characters around TG Milner that made the place so special.  

“‘The Bus’ – Christian Kerisiano. He’d be playing fourth grade and guys would turn up to watch him. Neil ‘Monster’ Taylor. He coached a lot of us in the under 10s and is still around all the time. Then you’ve got Jerry selling his programs,” Perrett said.

“I could go on for ages, it’s a wonderful club filled with a lot of very special people.” 

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