Shute Shield: Jed Holloway picks the best Southern Districts team of his time
After reading a fantastic yarn by Josh Holmes on the Northern Beaches Sports Tribune, we thought we’d borrow the concept (with permission) and get players from various Shute Shield clubs to name their best team of all time.
To clarify, this team is from the perspective of the player and will largely feature individuals from that player’s era.
It might not completely fill the void left while the rugby season is on hold, but hopefully it’ll help kill a little time.
By Jed Holloway
1. Duncan Chubb
Chubby is an absolute stalwart of the club and has played close to 200 first grade games at Souths. He’s been close to getting a crack at the next level a few times and probably should have but he still loves the game and the club more than anyone I know.
2. John Ulugia
John was my first captain when I started playing first grade and he really took my under his wing in both life and rugby. He would drive me in to training at the Waratahs every day and on the field he could change the game with a big hit. He’s playing for Clermont at the moment.
3. Tim Metcher
He’s one of the best scrummagers I’ve seen and for years with Metch and Chubby in the front row, our scrum was always going forward and a lot of our success came off the back of that. He’s playing in Seattle and had a stint in the ITM Cup last year.
4. Kane Douglas
Obviously his rugby resume speaks for itself but more than that, he’s always really loved Souths. He can do it all from playing tight and tough, to making breaks and throwing cut out passes.
5. Andrew Leota
He wasn’t a flashy player but he did his job week in, week out and was always happy to put his head in some dark places. He always put the team and the club first.
6. Lopeti Timani
World class player and the best thing was his attitude and intensity wouldn’t change whether he was playing for the Wallabies, the Waratahs or Souths. He’s a game changer.
7. Sean Doyle
He’s the type of guy you want to have on you team. Ole “Shove” Doyle would always be the first one in to every little confrontation and he was never scared to throw some serious chat at the opposition to try and get in their head. He snapped his finger in half and wanted to keep on playing, that sums him up.
8. Marcus Carbone
If I was picking a team, Marcus would be the captain and he really should have got a chance to play Super Rugby. He’s a real student of the game and he’s a great leader. He’s one of those special blokes and is the heart and soul of the club.
9. Grayson Hart
This is probably the toughest to pick because we’ve had a lot of great No.9s, but I’d have to go with Grayson Hart. He was big and physical and although he wasn’t flashy, he had a really calm head on his shoulders and always made the right decisions. He was 6’2 and about 105kg so it was like having another forward on the field.
10. Rohan Saifoiloi
Roey was one of the key guys behind the club’s success for five or six years. He was part of that young team that won a second grade premiership then moved into first grade and dominated for years. He rarely got injured and was just really consistent week in, week out.
11. Alex Gibbon
I’m a bit biased because I’ve been playing with Gibbo since the U13s but he’s a superb finisher and has probably the biggest right hand palm that I’ve ever seen. He’s an out and out try scorer.
12 & 13. Apo Latunipulu and Denny Godinet
Apo and Denny played alongside each other for years and along with Roey, they were the foundation for all the success we had. They’re both also great club guys and really loved their teammates.
Apo’s probably still one of the most powerful and agile ball runners I’ve played with or against and you definitely don’t want to run at Denny’s right shoulder.
14. Luke Smart
There’s not many players that can go from playing in the back row or at lock to starting on the wing and still be as dominant regardless of what number he wore. When he moved out wide later in his career he knew how to find the try line and is a really special player.
15. Ben Volavola
Benny played both flyhalf and fullback at Souths and is one of the calmest and most composed footballers I’ve ever seen. He kicked that penalty goal from about 47 metres out and on the sideline to beat Sydney Uni in a semi final and that’s still probably one of my best rugby memories of all time.
Coach: Matt Barr
Barry was the glue that held that Souths team together. We were a bunch of misfits with not a whole lot experience and we while loved having a good time, he helped us realised that we’d have an even better time when we were winning.
He understood how to get the best out of different personalities and he really deserved to win a premiership. He’s a quality, quality guy and I was extremely fortunate to play under him in my younger years.