Shute Shield Colts: Randwick ready to battle Manly in first of three big tests

With six bonus point wins from six matches, Randwick have been close to perfect so far in 2019. 

But the Galloping Greens, who won both the first and second grade colts premierships last year, face their toughest test of the season on Saturday against Manly and play three top four sides in their next four matches. 

Randwick have a bye after the Marlins clash, then face Sydney Uni and Gordon in consecutive weeks in June.

“I think we’re building nicely but we’re coming into of a string of tough games,” Randwick colts coach Peter Dumbleton told Rugby News. 

“We had a good hit out last week against Rats and that was a very good challenge. Although the scoreline probably flattered us a little, I did think we deserved to win.”

Randwick, Manly and Sydney Uni are all undefeated so far in 2019 and while neither side has played one another yet this season, Dumbleton said he’s been impressed with the Marlins so far. 

“They’re going to be very tough to beat. They’ve had a lot of players return from what was a very good side last year and they’ve started the season very well,” he said. 

“It’s always a tough place to win at, Manly Oval, so we’re preparing for a real showdown on Saturday.”

Randwick have averaged more than 57 points a match in attack so far this year but face a Manly side on Saturday with the best defensive record in the competition. 

Dumbleton said his side will need to make the most of their chances against the Marlins, something he thinks they’ve done well so far this year. 

“I think our support lines have been really good so far this year. When we are making breaks, the guys are supporting very well. Defensively, I think we’ve been working well as a unit as well but our support play has been the most pleasing aspect.

“Ideally, we never want to let the ball die and when we do that, it gives our ball players options on the inside and out.”

In the rounds other matches, West Harbour play Sydney Uni, Eastwood host Gordon, Norths take on West Harbour and Southern Districts play Warringah. 

“This is my fifth year at Randwick and I think every year the competition has become stronger. I don’t want to look too far ahead but I think the battle for those top six places is going to be really tight and there will be eight or nine sides that will like their chances of playing in the finals,” Dumbleton predicted. 

“Easts have recruited well and although their results haven’t been as they would have hoped so far, I think they’ll bounce back in the second half of the season. 

“Rats have started the year well, having played a number of the better sides. Ourselves and Manly are both undefeated, then of course you’ve got to look out for Sydney Uni and Gordon. 

“The strength of the competition is fantastic and although we aren’t looking too far ahead, it’s exciting to think about the back end of this season.”

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