Shute Shield: Eight recruits to watch in 2019
With eight new coaches entering the Shute Shield in 2019, there was always going to be plenty of player movement over summer.
So ahead of round one, we thought we’d take a look at eight recruits to keep an eye on in the opening few weeks.
Taylor Adams – Eastwood
Adams starred for West Harbour in 2017 and was rewarded with the Ken Catchpole Medal and a contract with the Melbourne Rebels.
The Kiwi born flyhalf earned two Super Rugby caps last year but has returned to Sydney to fill retired Eastwood legend Jai Ayoub’s shoes at TG Millner.
There will be plenty of pressure on Adams to live up to the hype at his new club, but if he does the Woodies will certainly be one to watch this season.
Jake Kay – Southern Districts
While the Southern Districts forward pack has been one of the most dominant in recent years, they’ve done so largely without a traditional on the ball No.7.
It’s cost them dearly at times, particularly in two rather important finals matches against Norths, but they’ve picked up Jake Kay from West Harbour to fill that void.
Kay grew up watching his father play at Southern Districts and returns south to give the Rebels pack more balance in 2019.
John Folau – Western Sydney
The younger brother of Israel, John Folau picked up a Waratahs contract late last year and was named on the bench against the Sunwolves last week.
While we haven’t seen a lot of him just yet, the former rugby league outside back has a pretty decent pedigree and will be an interesting one to watch this season.
Jacob Abel – Gordon
The younger brother of Robbie and Charlie Abel, halfback Jacob Abel has made the move up to Sydney this year and joined Gordon after winning the MacDougall Medal in 2018, awarded to be the best player in the Canberra club competition.
Playing for Easts in the nation’s capital, Abel helped his side break an 1106 day losing streak in the opening match of last season, then led them to within a whisker of a highly unlikely finals berth.
Highlander’s fans will be hoping for a similar revival at Chatswood this season.
Charlie Gamble – Eastern Suburbs
Former New Zealand U20s flanker Charlie Gamble was awarded the Kentwell Medal, as the best player in the NSW Subbies competition last year and was quickly snapped up by Easts.
The tough on the ball No.7 reportedly plays quite similar to recently retired Easts flanker Rowan Perry and is expected to start for Easts in round one.
Le Roux Roets – Manly
The 24-year old South African giant was signed by the Waratahs in the hope that he may be the next Jacques Potgieter.
Although we haven’t seen much of him in sky blue just yet, it’s never a good idea to talk ill of a 200cm, 135kg South African, something opposition forwards may quickly learn this season if Roets lives up to the hype.
Tiaan Swanepoel – West Harbour
Another South African import, Tiaan Swanepoel has reportedly been training the house down at Concord and made an immediate impact in a new look Pirates outfit.
The flyhalf/fullback has a monster boot and has spent the past few years in and around the Stormers academy in Cape Town.
The Pirates have also picked up 25-year old South African centre Tyler Fisher.
Fred Dorrough – Randwick
Former QLD U20s utility back Fred Dorrough has joined Randwick in 2019 after spending time in both Brisbane and Canberra in recent years.
Dorrough can play flyhalf, inside centre or fullback and could pop up anywhere in a new look Galloping Greens backline.