Intrust Shute Shield Round 8: Match Previews
Southern Districts v Gordon
Southern Districts face Gordon in the match of the round live on 7TWO from 3pm on Saturday.
The Rebels held on for a tight one point victory over Parramatta at Merrylands last weekend in one of their worst performances of the year and will be eager to bounce back on Back To St George Day at Forshaw.
“We started well against Parra, but then we went away from our structures, had lapses in concentration and dropped off our intensity and you can’t do that in this competition,” Souths coach Matt Barr said.
“Gordon will come at us hard so we will need a greater effort from last week and a lot more detail in the execution of our plays.”
Fili Tufui replaces Jake Douglas in the Rebels starting forward pack.
The Highlanders tough season was made even tougher last week with a big loss to rivals Norths, as Gordon continue to struggle through an injury plagued season.
Flyhalf Terry Preston will play his first match of the year and will need to inspire a young Gordon side that has struggled against the better sides in 2016.
Ladbrokes: Southern Districts – $1.10; Gordon – $6
Sydney University v Northern Suburbs
Tim Davidson was thrilled with Sydney Uni’s effort in a 33-10 victory over Eastern Suburbs last week, which pushed the Students to third on the Intrust Shute Shield ladder.
“I was really happy with our defensive effort and our patience in attack,” he said.
Uni welcome back Matt Sandell and Jim Stewart for Saturday’s clash and are looking to take on the Shoreman up front.
“We will need to improve our breakdown accuracy but our biggest challenge will be repeating the effort and playing with the same intensity after the physical encounter last weekend.”
Norths head into round eight on the back of consecutive wins and played with plenty of confidence in a 45 point victory over Gordon last weekend.
Despite that, Simon Cron still doesn’t think his side has produced an 80 minute performance this year.
“We were strong in the first half, but we didn’t keep the pressure on in the second. Our communication needs to improve and our consistency over 80 minutes,” Cron said.
Norths are unchanged from last week.
Ladbrokes: Sydney Uni – $1.16; Northern Suburbs – $4.75
Warringah v Randwick
Warringah bounced back from their narrow loss to Uni with a bonus point win over Penrith at Nepean last weekend.
The win leaves the Rats just one competition point out of the top six, heading into crucial matches against Randwick and Manly.
“We created some good scoring opportunities and I was pleased that we finished most of them off. Against the better sides, we will need greater consistency in our effort and more concentration. That should help us eliminate the errors and score more points,” Warringah coach Greg Marr said.
Harry Jones returns at fullback after spending two weeks on tour with the Waratahs, however Josh Holmes will miss the clash through Sevens duties.
Randwick picked up a scrappy victory over West Harbour last week but struggled to build momentum against the Pirates, something Shannon Fraser is looking to overcome this week.
“We need to work smarter and sometimes harder to win the collision and increase our front foot possession. Fundamentally, that’s the single most important ingredient for our success this week against a strong performing Warringah team,” Fraser said.
2015 Australian Schoolboy halfback Harrison Goddard will make his run on debut on Saturday, with centre Kuki Maufu also starting for the first time this year.
Ladbrokes: Warringah – $3.40; Randwick – $1.29
Parramatta v Eastwood
Parramatta fell agonisingly short of their first win of 2016 last week, going down to Souths 27-26 at Merrylands.
However Two Blues coach Paul Hardwick was so impressed with his side’s effort, that he told Rugby News he thinks Parra will beat the reigning premiers this weekend, if they can build enough pressure.
“Our effort was terrific after a two week slump but our third and fourth phase play still needs more direction and purpose. You need to build pressure to win Shute Shield games and we have been guilty of giving up pressure and making mistakes at crucial times,” Hardwick said.
“We will win this weekend.”
Eastwood overcame a 13 point deficit at half time to claim a confidence boosting 35-27 victory over Manly at TG Millner last weekend in a rematch of the 2015 grand final.
The Woodies now sit second, four points behind Randwick, and look to have filled the void left by the departures of Ben Batger and Hugh Perritt after last season.
Flyhalf Jai Ayoub and fullback John Grant are both expected to miss Saturday’s clash.
Ladbrokes: Parramatta – $5; Eastwood – $1.15
Eastern Suburbs v Penrith
Easts were disappointing in a 33-10 loss to Sydney Uni last week and failed to claim a four try bonus point for the first time this season.
Despite the loss, the Beasties are currently fifth and can consolidate their spot at the top end of the table with a win this weekend.
“We just didn’t take our chances in the first half against Uni, when we had both possession and territory,” Darren Coleman told Rugby News.
Four players will make their first grade debut at Woollahra on Saturday – lock Mick Ross, flanker Gus Brotherton, centre Ned Yeomans and winger Ratu Tagive.
Penrith were beaten 50-14 by Warringah last weekend, but coach Jeremy Paul was happy with his side’s effort labelling it a “step forward but still a long way off the mark.”
The Emus are yet to register a win this year, but Paul is confident the team and the club is on the right track.
“Morale is fantastic. We know where we are at and where we want to get too. It’s all about the end goal and the hard road we have to take to get there. I’m in for the fight and so are the players,” Paul said.
“We’ll get there,”
Ladbrokes: Eastern Suburbs – Suspended; Penrith – $21
Manly v West Harbour
Manly were left to rue a missed opportunity after giving up a 20-7 half time lead before going down to Eastwood 35-27 in a rematch of last year’s decider.
“We lacked a real determination to close the game out. 27-14 with 20 minutes to go at TG Millner, you don’t get many chances to win there and we won’t get that get that one back,” Damien Cummins told Rugby News.
The Marlins welcome back Harry Bergelin and Sam Blanchet for the clash against the “physical, unpredictable and confident” Pirates and will be eager to build momentum ahead of next weekend’s local derby against Warringah.
“We need to be better at the breakdown and certain individuals need to execute their roles and tasks better,” Cummins added.
West Harbour’s 34-13 loss to Randwick last weekend was their first since round two and the Pirates will be eager to bounce back this weekend.
Despite winning four straight matches, West Harbour sit ninth on the Intrust Shute Shield ladder and risk losing touch with the top six if they drop this match on Saturday.
Ladbrokes: Manly – $1.16; West Harbour – $4.85