Intrust Shute Shield Rd9: Match Previews
After a slow start to the season, West Harbour has won its last three matches and will be out to make life tough for the Students on Saturday.
As usual, the Pirates attack will be unpredictable, led by young fullback Angus Le Lievre.
“Having a natural fullback is a big thing. We toyed with other players in the position at the start of the season with mixed results. Gus is still only in his second season out of Colts and is very keen to learn and the experience he is getting is only going to help us as we go longer into the season,” coach Mark Gudmunson said.
Chris Malone has named an unchanged Sydney Uni side to face West Harbour and said his side are heading to Concord expecting a tough battle.
“West Harbour are a big abrasive side that had a good win over Easts last week. We know that we are going to have to be at our best to get a result,” Malone told Rugby News.
Manly v Eastwood
Manly was far too good for Randwick last week, showing its premiership credentials.
Despite that, the Marlins will need to be at its best against the reigning premiers in what will likely be Manly’s toughest test of the year so far.
Eastwood proved it is the team to beat in 2015, after an impressive performance against Sydney Uni last week, yet still John Manenti wants to see improvement.
“The main focus has been defence this week, I thought we really let ourselves down in that area against Uni.”
With both sides still undefeated, this is another potential match of the season. A match not to be missed.
Penrith v Parramatta
The Western Sydney local derby has some added spice in 2015, with both sides desperate to claim their first win of the season.
Penrith has had its work cut out for it so far this year, but has shown signs of improvement and will tough to beat at Nepean on ‘Back to Penrith Day’.
“I need the boys to play together this weekend as a unit, stick to what we have been working on and play with plenty of attitude,” Coach Teki Tuipulotu said.
Parramatta lost its third match by less than four points against Gordon last week, but coach Gerrard Fasavalu is more worried about his side’s performances than results at this point in the year.
“We need to be smarter with the ball in terms of how we use it. It’s 90% about us and 10% about them this week,” he told Rugby News.
Watch for Two Blues prop Nigel Vaifale returning to Penrith to play against his old club.
Warringah v Eastern Suburbs
Warringah was far too good for Penrith last week and will take plenty of confidence into Saturday’s clash.
The Rats seem keen to continue to build on what it has established over the last month and secure its position at the top end of the ladder.
“We know Easts will have a strong set piece and will be willing to have a crack from anywhere on the field,” hooker Luke Holmes said.
Easts suffered another disappointing loss against West Harbour last week and will be desperate to turn its season around.
“If we continue to work hard, our luck will turn around,” Darren Coleman said.
Coleman has named an unchanged side to travel to Pittwater and is wary of the Rats attacking ability, particularly Josh Holmes and Dave Feltscheer.
Randwick v Southern Districts
Randwick was disappointing against Manly last week and faces another tough test in the Rebels at Coogee on Saturday.
Shannon Fraser has been forced to make a number of changes to last week’s team and will again be without his Australian U20’s reps.
“Souths have momentum at the moment and the ability to score points from anywhere. They have a strong forward pack and are directed well by their halves. We’ll need an appetite for physicality and the work ethic to play for the entire 80 minutes,” Fraser said.
Souths scored three tries in the final 10 minutes to claim a remarkable win over Norths at Forshaw last week and will welcome recently re-signed Waratah Jed Holloway (likely) and fullback Paul Asquith from the Australian 7’s program this week.
Despite last weeks win, Matt Barr wants to see a lot of improvement.
“We need to start well against Randwick, they’ll be looking to bounce back after a tough loss last week. I think we need to show a lot more urgency and intensity in a number of areas,” Barr said.
Gordon v Northern Suburbs
Gordon returned to the winner’s circle last week against Parramatta after a number of tight losses and will take confidence into Saturday’s clash.
Despite the victory, Geoff Townsend said his side’s attack needs to improve significantly from last week.
“Norths are a young side who have started the year really well, so we are expecting a tough local derby,” Townsend said.
The Highlanders may be without star backrower Jack Dempsey, who has been named on the Waratahs extended bench.
Norths was stunned by a late Southern Districts onslaught last week and will be eager to bounce back against Gordon.
The Shoreman welcome back Michael Wells and Peter Schuster from the Australian 7’s program for the clash.
“I think we need to maintain possession for longer periods of the match,” coach Simon Cron said.
Lead image provided by Adam Macdougall.