Intrust Super Shute Shield: Depth could be key as injuries halt contenders finals hopes

Eighteen long rounds of rugby have taken a toll on a number of teams ahead of the opening weekend of the 2017 Shute Shield finals series. Several sides have injury concerns in key positions already and depth could be the key in this year’s premiership race. Manly wrapped up the minor premiership in round 17 and coach Billy Melrose was able to rest a number of players in recent weeks, however inspirational captain Kotoni Ale is understood to be in a race against the clock to return and play a part in this year’s finals campaign. Southern Districts have won nine straight matches but it may have come at a cost. After losing former Brumbies halfback Dewet Roos for up to nine months with an ACL injury in round 17, reserve halfback Eli Pilz was injured in the final play of Saturday’s tight win over Randwick and is awaiting the results of scans to see if he’ll return this year. Matt Barr could choose to shift inform flyhalf Rohan Saifoloi to No.9, where he started the seas
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