Pauli Taumoepeau: Beasties lucky to still have control over Shute Shield destiny

Head coach Pauli Taumoepeau had no hesitation in saying his seventh-placed Eastern Suburbs outfit has been disappointing in 2019 but, with five rounds left in the regular season, he’s confident they’ve still got “more than enough firepower to do great things”. Crucially, and uniquely, they still largely have control of their own destiny too. The Beasties picked up an encouraging, 34-19 victory over fifth-placed Manly last weekend to stay within a victory of the top six - they’re two points adrift - and in their run home they’ll have the benefit of facing sides directly above and below them. Easts have the bye this weekend, a timely one in Taumoepeau’s eyes, before tackling Sydney University ahead of a crucial fortnight in which they’ll face Randwick and Gordon, those two sides sit ninth and sixth respectively. They’re still all but playing do-or-die rugby week-to-week, Taumoepeau knows that, but at the very least two of their last four games will be agains