Intrust Shute Shield Rd7: Match Previews

KMP-ESBvGOR-5043Gordon v Southern Districts – Live on 7TWO

Gordon has played arguably its two best matches of the year over the past fortnight, but has been beaten on both occasions.

After leading 19-0 late in the first half, the Highlanders leaked 29 unanswered points against Warringah before scoring late to claim a much needed bonus point.

Geoff Townsend was disappointed by the losses and expects a tight battle up front against Southern Districts.

“It’s not an area that we shy away from. We are not going to be pushed around by anyone so if they want to have a crack, we’ll have a crack as well,” the former Port Hacking player said.

Rebels coach Matt Barr thinks discipline has cost his side in losses to Sydney Uni and Manly in the past two weeks.

Souths will again be without captain Jed Holloway and will need to improve to beat a side that had its measure last season.

“We are very wary of Gordon, we had two tight losses against them last year. I think they’ve been unlucky in a couple of close games against quality oppositions so we need to make sure we are up to it this weekend,” Barr said.

Video: Hear more from both camps ahead of tomorrow’s clash –  

Eastern Suburbs v Eastwood

Eastern Suburbs were embarrassed by Randwick in last weekend’s local derby with coach Darren Coleman desperate to get his season back on track.

Despite Easts disappointing start to the year, Eastwood coach John Manenti is expecting a tough battle in the wet on Saturday.

“Playing the conditions may have to be the greatest focus this week. Easts are playing much better than the scores or tables suggest so I’m expecting a very physical game,” Manenti told Rugby News.

Flyhalf Jai Ayoub returns from a stint playing with the Croatian national side and replaces Blake Sutton. However Manenti says Sutton will still play a significant role for the Woodies.

“We’ve got good pressure for positions across the park and that keeps everyone honest,” he said.

Northern Suburbs v Manly

Norths suffered its second loss of the season against Sydney Uni last week but showed enough in the 11-point defeat to prove it will be a force in 2015.

Coach Simon Cron wants his side to have a little more self-belief and thinks that if it can take control of tight matches, then it’s good enough to beat the competitions best sides.

“Yes definitely, if we can put together an 80 minute performance against some of those sides, the rest will take care of itself,” Cron said.

Manly is unbeaten in 2015, yet Damien Cummins still thinks his side lacks consistency and would like to see an 80 minute performance at North Sydney Oval.

“Norths are coached really well by Crony (Simon Cron). They’ll be hard at the breakdown and always play with purpose. (21 year-old flyhalf) Josh Kay has been doing a great job for them,” Cummins said.

Norths will wear specially designed socks to help raise awareness for Heart Research Australia with $5 from every ticket donated to the charity.

Sydney University v Randwick

Sydney Uni coach Chris Mallone has made just one change to the side that beat Norths 31-20 last week with Tomas Robertson replacing Matt Sandell at prop.

After a disappointing start to the year, Uni is looking for its third straight win and will be tough to beat on recent form.

Randwick has been the big improver of 2015 and is 5-1 to start the year. Despite that, the Galloping Greens will need to improve to challenge the Students, particularly without star centre Andrew Kellaway.

“University are a quality team with the capacity to cripple any opposition on any week. We are solely focused on our own development and performance and will be looking to simply improve on our previous performances,” coach Fraser said.

“We are under no illusions as to the quality of our imminent opponents and that we will need to continue to improve if we are to maintain this momentum.”

Find out why Andrew Kellaway will miss Randwick’s match against Uni –

Parramatta v Warringah

Parramatta appeared to be closing in on its first win of 2015 last week against West Harbour before torrential rain and hail saw the match abandoned.

“All the boys are pretty gutted with not finishing the game. If you lose, you lose but with 35 minutes to go and four points in it, it was anyone’s game,” Parramatta captain Andrew Cox said after the match.

The Two Blues are hoping to get its season back on track from this weekend.

“We’ve had a tough start to the year, we’ve played the top five teams on the ladder but arguably, these next four or five weeks contain games that if we can win, will get us back into that log jam in the middle, which was our goal, coach Gerrard Fasavalu said.

Warringah scored 29 unanswered points to claim a come from behind victory over Gordon last week.

The Rats are 3-3 after six rounds and can secure a comfortable position on the Intrust Shute Shield ladder with a win on Saturday.

Rugby News caught up with Gerrard Fasavalu and Andrew Cox after the Two Blues loss to West Harbour last week. Read more:

 West Harbour v Penrith

West Harbour took the points against Parramatta last week after their match was abandoned, with the rain coming at the perfect time for the Pirates.

After giving away far too many penalties against the Two Blues, discipline is the key this weekend according to coach Joe Barakat.

“We need to work on our structure and make our opponents work for their points, rather than piggy backing them down the field,” Barakat said.

Penrith were beaten comfortably by Eastwood in round six, but continue to improve week after week.

Emus coach Teki Tuipulotu wants his side to focus on its ball retention and set piece and thinks his side is closing in on its first win of the season.

“A win would be tremendous for the players and the club. We’ve pretty well named the same team as last week and I think our combinations are nearly there,” Tuipulotu said.

Rugby News caught up with Joe Barakat and Tom Games after last weeks unusual match. Read here: