Intrust Shute Shield: Round 14 Match Previews

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Warringah v Parramatta – Live on 7TWO

Warringah were unlucky in a 34-28 loss to Northern Suburbs last week and have dropped to eighth on the Intrust Shute Shield ladder, making Saturday’s clash against Parramatta a must win according to coach Greg Marr.

“Overall I didn’t think we were too bad last week, I was pleased with our effort. It took two intercept tries to beat us,” Marr said.

Sam Crompton and Rod Ione have been ruled out on the match and will be replaced by Tom Connor and Josh Gilliard respectively.

“We need to be more patient with the ball against Parramatta and play with a lot more finesse. It’s definitely a must win,” Marr added.

Parramatta are one of a number of sides that will play their third match in just eight days on Saturday after playing a make-up game during the week.

After a disappointing 41-17 loss to Manly on Saturday, the Two Blues bounced back on Monday and fell just short against Randwick for the second time this year in a 24-20 loss.

“Our effort against Randwick, backing up after just 48 hours, was fantastic. Our execution and physicality around the ruck made it one of our best performances of the year,” Parramatta coach Paul Hardwick said.

The Two Blues will be without captain Andrew Cox and and lock Ngaruhe Jones but Hardwick is quietly confident of causing an upset.

“One thing we have really improved this year is sticking to our structures. We play a simple game plan and we are getting very good at executing it against much more fancied side,” Hardwick added.

Manly v Southern Districts 

Manly have pushed their way back into the Intrust Shute Shield top six with strong wins against Parramatta and Easts this week.

The Marlins picked up a bonus point against the Two Blues before grinding out a tough 17-7 win against Easts on Tuesday night.

“Our defence was the best it has been all year against Easts and I was really pleased. We pulled up pretty well with no injuries from the two games,” Damien Cummins told Rugby News.

Souths held on for a tight 23-17 victory when the when the two sides met in round one this year and Cummins expects another close encounter on Saturday.

“They’ve got a very good scrum so we will need to match them there, plus a strong maul from anywhere on the field,” he said.

“We’ll need to shut down their No.9 (Dewet Roos) as well.”

Southern Districts have also played twice this week, claiming a bonus point win over Eastwood on Saturday and a 27-8 win over West Harbour on Tuesday.

“The performance against Eastwood was our best this season and although Tuesday nights win against West Harbour lacked the execution and detail from Saturday, we showed a lot of character and grit to grind out a win,” Souths coach Matt Barr said.

“Manly at home are always very difficult. We have struggled there in the past and we’re expecting a tough encounter. We just want to continue to build momentum and improve on all aspects of our game.”

Centre Denny Godinet will miss the clash through concussion, as will flanker Sean Doyle who suffered a horrific injury to his finger against Eastwood. Amazingly, Doyle is expected to return next week to play Gordon.

Penrith v Northern Suburbs

Penrith were beaten by Sydney Uni last week but the Emus continue to step up to the challenge against the competitions better sides.

“It was our best 35 minutes of the year despite two players pulling out on game day which forced us to reshuffle the side. I was very proud of the effort however class will always prevail. Sydney Uni were outstanding,” Emus coach Jeremy Paul said.

Paul said he is confident that if he can keep this playing group together, Penrith will be a lot more competitive in the years to come.

“Our training has improved dramatically since the start of the year and we are in the process of transferring that training onto the field when we play. Under fatigue though, we revert back to bad habits and go off script a bit,” he said.

The challenge doesn’t get much easier this week when Penrith play a Norths side looking for their sixth straight win.

The Shoreman were too good for Warringah last week and continue their rise up the ladder.

“Last week we attacked quite well but I thought we had a few lapses in defence which were quite disappointing,” Simon Cron said.

“This week, I would like to see us execute our processes in attack and be strong in our defence and set piece.”

Cron added that it was “essential” for his side to continue their momentum towards the finals.

West Harbour v Eastwood

It’s been a tough week for West Harbour, who were beaten by both Gordon and Southern Districts, however Neil Tunnah said there were positives to take from the matches.

“You really couldn’t fault our effort against Souths. We just need to tighten up our discipline, we are giving away too many penalties and too many yellow cards,” Tunnah said.

The Pirates challenged and on a number of occasions dominated the Souths scrum in the opening 60 minutes but were unable to match the Rebels in the closing quarter. Tunnah said a similar effort would be needed this week.

“We need to bring an increased level of intensity against Eastwood. Our defence will need to be really good and we’ll need to be patient in attack and hold onto the ball,” he said.

“I think we can win if we weather the early story and stay in the fight for 80 minutes.”

Eastwood were thumped by Southern Districts at Forshaw last week, but Stu Woodhouse doesn’t think there is any need for panic just yet.

“We were out enthused and out played by a very determined Southern Districts side last week,” the coach said.

“We just need to keep working on the basics. Work hard to get into positions, push hard in defence to create turnovers opportunities and maintain our discipline.”

The Woodies welcome back Waratahs hooker Hugh Roach and speedster John Grant for the clash.

“We always expect a hard, physical match against West Harbour. They have a very good home record,” Woodhouse added.

Eastern Suburbs v Gordon

Easts fell just short against Randwick for the second time this year last Saturday and were beaten by Manly 17-7 in a tough match under lights on Tuesday night in what has been a tough week for the Beasties.

“As you can expect, we are fairly bruised and battered after two intense matches against other playoff contenders. Our pride is a little dented after two losses in a week,” a disappointed Darren Coleman told Rugby News.

The results see Easts drop out of the top six, making Saturday’s clash a must win.

Easts have claimed a four try bonus point in 10 of their 13 matches so far this year but still have the fourth worst attacking record in the competition.

“I’d like to see us do a little better with the possession we have. We dominated possession in both games last week but just didn’t score enough points.”

Coleman has been forced to make a number of changes for the match, with seven first graders ruled out through injury.

“Gordan will play expansive, nothing to lose rugby. They’ve got plenty of speed on the edges and a big tight five so we’ll need to be at out best,” Coleman said.

The Highlanders claimed just their second win of the year last Saturday, with a morale boosting 43-26 victory over West Harbour.

Although their finals hopes are over this year, Gordon will be out to cause a number of upsets in the weeks to come.

Randwick v Sydney University 

Randwick held on for two tight victories over Eastern Suburbs and then Parramatta over the long weekend and have moved back into the Intrust Shute Shield top three.

“The guys showed great resilience and character to back up on Monday after a gutsy win over Easts on Saturday,” Shannon Fraser told Rugby News.

“We are getting towards the pointy end of the season so every result is really important at the moment, particularly with competition being so tight.”

The Galloping Greens have named Waratahs stars Dave Horwitz, Andrew Kellaway and Reece Robinson for the match, with the new look backline expected to execute more fluently after spending another week together.

“Uni are the competition’s leading performers so we will need to be more physical and accurate at the collision if we are to get parity.”

The Student were far too good against Penrith last week and have secured top spot ahead of Southern Districts heading into run 14, albeit on points difference.

Tim Davidson welcomes back a number of his stars for the top three clash, with David Hickey, Paddy Ryan, Jake Wainwright and Matt Narracott all returning to the starting XV.

“The focus this week has been on being patient in attack as Randwick have excellent defence. We won’t get many opportunities so we have to make sure we are accurate. If we make mistakes, we will get punished,” Davidson said.

“Randwick play an expansive game and have attacking threats across the park. They look for one on ones and take the opportunities that they create. As soon as you switch off, they make you pay,” the coach added.