Intrust Shute Shield Rd 5: Match Previews
Both Warringah and West Harbour will be desperate for points when they meet at Rat Park on Sunday. West Harbour claimed its first win of the year over Gordon last week, but coach Joe Barakat still thinks his side needs to improve.
“I think we’ve played better and lost so far this year,” he told Rugby News.
Watch for former English Rugby League international Lee Smith in 2nd Grade and off the bench on Sunday.
Warringah coach Greg Marr hopes the Rats can turn around their season with a win this week.
“Last year I think the guys caught a lot of teams by surprise and did really well to make the finals. I think they thought they could pick up where they left off this year and it’s been a bit of surprise.”
Marr wants to see a more physical performance from the Rats.
“We need to start dominating the defensive line and the breakdown. So I’d like us to start getting off the line and start to dominate the tackle.
Southern Districts v Sydney University
Sydney Uni have been waiting for this match since Ben Volavola ended the Students season with a long range penalty goal after the siren in last years Preliminary Final.
Although Uni is struggling to find its feet in 2015 and the Rebels remain undefeated, you get the feeling Saturday’s match will be a cracker.
Southern Districts will be without Australian Sevens players Paul Asquith and Alex Gibbon, but watch for 21-year-old winger Matt Teki who has been brilliant so far in his debut season.
“He’s been a revelation this season after coming out of Colts last year. He’s creating and finishing a lot of opportunities, so it’s exciting every time he gets the ball,” Souths coach Matt Barr said.
Sydney Uni coach Chris Malone said his side isn’t out for revenge this weekend but is focused on turning its season around.
“We need to control the ball, we didn’t do that against Manly and it really cost us. They scored four tries from our turnovers,” Malone said.
Uni welcome back halves Jake Gordon and Stu Dunbar for the clash, but will be without centre Chris Ingate.
Manly v Gordon
Manly will be full of confidence after thumping Sydney Uni last week to extend its unbeaten start to the season.
The Marlins are expecting a strong crowd at Manly Oval, following the launch of ‘Sun, Surf and Scrums’ – a book on the history of Manly rugby.
Gordon coach Geoff Townsend felt his side missed an opportunity to win against West Harbour last week and knows the Highlanders will need to improve against the Marlins.
“We need to meet them up front, they’ve had that power game for the last few years and although they’ve made some changes to the way they play, they still rely on their forwards to do the damage.”
“We’ve got a good pack with good size this week so we’ll see how we go.”
Eastwood v Parramatta
Eastwood have been brilliant in the opening month of the competition, yet John Manenti was quick to play down their early season form when asked what they needed to improve.
“How long is a piece of string, we’ve still got plenty to improve. We set a few targets last week and ticked them off and we’ll look to do a similar thing this week,” he said.
Manenti said Eastwood are looking past Parramatta’s disappointing performance against Randwick last week and are expecting the Two Blues to show the form they showed in a narrow loss to Norths a fortnight ago.
The Two Blues welcome back former Australian 7’s star Dan Yakopo at outside centre, but he’ll need to be at his best to trouble the in-form defending Premiers.
Penrith v Randwick
Despite a tough few weeks, Penrith coach Teki Tuipulotu remains upbeat.
“The last few weeks haven’t been great but we’ve been progressing, even if the scoreboard hasn’t shown it.”
Tuipulotu has identified ball security and defence as two areas of improvement for Penrith and wants to see both addressed this week against Randwick.
“They like to throw the ball around and find space so it’s really important that we make our one on one tackles.”
Randwick was at its attacking best against Parramatta last week and will look to take that confidence into the match.
“The focus is on us and continuing to improve on what we are doing. We are starting to play some good footy so it’s important to maintain that momentum,’ Shannon Fraser told Rugby News.
Andrew Deegan gets his first start of 2015 replacing Dave Horwitz (Waratahs) whilst Andrew Kellaway shifts to outside centre for the match.
Eastern Suburbs v Northern Suburbs
Easts coach Darren Coleman was filthy with his side’s first half performance against Southern Districts last week, with the Beasties leaking 36 unanswered points before the break.
“That was really disappointing. We need to improve our discipline and ruck defence if we want to stop Norths. They’re playing with plenty of confidence.”
Watch for Australian U20’s rep Alex Newsome at fullback.
The Shoreman scored 10 tries against Penrith last week and are three from four after the opening month of 2015.
“We have a real focus on our own performance at the moment and making sure each player does their own piece of the puzzle,” Norths coach Simon Cron said.
A win this weekend is crucial for Norths ahead of a tough string of matches.