Shute Shield Mid Season Review: Eastern Suburbs, Southern Districts, Gordon

Believe it or not, we’re already at the halfway point of the 2019 Shute Shield regular season.

After nine rounds, four competition separates the top four sides, while there’s just three competition points between fifth and ninth. 


We checked in with all Shute Shield coaches to find out what they’ve thought of the season so far and what they’re expecting in the months ahead.

Photo: Andrew Quinn

Pauli Taumoepeau: Eastern Suburbs – 6th (21pts, 4 wins)

How would you describe your start to the season? Are you where you thought you would be at this point of the year?

“We’ve been hot and colt so far,” Taumoepeau told Rugby News.

“We’re currently sitting at 4 wins and 4 losses so I guess we haven’t really been able to get into a groove but we’re comfortable with that. 

“To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really think about where we’d be at this point. I just took it one week at a time but I knew it would take a little while to click with all the new combinations. 

“I’d certainly like to be higher on the table but I guess we are where we’ve played ourselves to be.”

Who has been your best performer(s) so far this year? 

“Charlie Gamble has been our most consistent performer. 

“Whilst I don’t think he’s even close to his personal best yet, his weekly performance and efforts have been consistent. 

“He’s top of the class in tackles, defenders beaten and turnovers won in our team.”

What do you need to do over the next 9 rounds to consider 2019 a success?

“We need to be more consistent with our better efforts. At the moment our range for a game is either a 3/10 or a 8/10,” the coach said. 

“If we can close that range we’ll find ourselves in a good spot. 

“I‘d say we’ve had two 3/10 games and two 8/10 games in the opening half of the season.”

Don Mackinnon: Southern Districts – 9th (19pts, 3 wins)

How would you describe your start to the season? Are you where you thought you would be at this point of the year?

“Our start to the year was awesome, we didn’t expect to win three from three but you need to take those tight, tough wins,” Mackinnon said. 

“The plan was to get through those first three games leading in to the bye unscathed, win our home games and then try and pick up another game away. 

“That would have put us mid table and unfortunately it hasn’t quite gone that way, but we’re not far off.”

Who has been your best performer(s) so far this year? 

“Bailey Kunzle at flyhalf andJames Hassan playing his first year of rugby have both been consistent performers all year. 

“Young Harry McClennan has also been good when has hasn’t been injured and James Wayland is doing a great job at prop in his first year of grade.”

What do you need to do over the next 9 rounds to consider 2019 a success?

“It’s going to be tight,” Mackinnon admitted.

“We need to win five of our home games and hopefully steal a couple away to even look at finals.”

Darren Coleman: Gordon – 8th (19 pts, 3 wins)

How would you describe your start to the season? Are you where you thought you would be at this point of the year?

“Our start to the season has been inconsistent and out our record shows that. Like most teams I’d imagine, we’ve been happy with some performances and frustrated with others when we’ve let opportunities slip,” Coleman told Rugby News. 

“This year was a bit of an unknown so it was hard to know what to expect. I’m happy the club is back on track but we’re all thirsty for success so will continue to work for it.”

Who has been your best performer(s) so far this year? 

“We’ve had some good players all round but I think Jordy Goddard, Mahe Vailanu and Jake Abel have probably been the pick of our consistent high performers.”

What do you need to do over the next 9 rounds to consider 2019 a success?

“Making the playoffs would make it a good year,” the coach said. 

“Considering where we came from last year, it’d be a good progression and something we’re working hard towards.”



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