Shute Shield Mid Season Review: Eastwood, Randwick & West Harbour

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: Serge Gonzalez

Ben Batger: Eastwood – 1st (32pts, 6 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 put ourselves in a good position and hopefully after this round at the halfway point, we’ll be in the top four which was our goal at the start of the year,” Batger told Rugby News. 

“Having said that we aren’t where we should be as team. A few results have gone our way which has helped our position on the ladder. We have high standards and expectations and we haven’t met those yet. 

“In saying that, we’re a new team and we want to be peaking in August not June.”

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

“Enoka Muliufi has provided an excellent attacking platform through his strong carries and physical presence. 

“Then the old war horses Rhys Allen and Mick Snowden have also been very consistent. 

“Watch out for Pat Sio in the second half of the year.”

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

“We need to finish in the top four and continue to evolve as a team. 

“If we aren’t getting better every week, then we wont be successful because in such a tight competition there’s only a small difference between winning and losing.”

Hadley Jackson: Randwick – 7th (20pts, 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 are where we deserve to be,” Jackson said honestly. 

“It took our combinations a few weeks to come together but since then we’ve improved each week and I think we’ve played some more consistent rugby over the last five rounds.”

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

“Mitch Short is becoming more dangerous each week and really leading the team around the park.  Brian Croke has also been great at No.10 since coming into the side.

“Jackson Mohi And Zac Carr are both colts wingers from last year who look more comfortable and dangerous with each week in grade. 

“Tom Nowlan and Nathan Den Houdt have been strong in the second row, then David Vea and Adam Freier have each led the team well from No.2 at different times of the year.”

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

“We need to continue to improve week on week. If we can do that, then we’ll continue to play good, hard, consistent rugby and results will come our way.”

Mark Gudmunson: West Harbour – 10th (14pts, 2 wins)

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

“The first half of the season has been interesting to say the least. We started really poorly in round one with our attack, then played really well in round two,” Gudmunson said. 

“Since then we’ve had some really interesting results. On a few occasions we’ve been up on the scoreboard against good opposition and just let things slip at crucial times in the game. 

“As a result of that, we’re disappointed with where we are on the table. With a few bounces of the ball or decisions our way, we could really be near the top of the table or at least in the six.”

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

“Our best performer so far have been No.8 Francis Ieremia Saufoi. He’s just a worker and has some real classy touches as well. 

“Dion Spice at No.9 has also been excellent for us, then Noah Cooper at 15 has been a real calming influence on the team, he has a real rugby brain. 

“James Turner has been finding the line fairly regularly and a few others have impressed with important stats.”

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

“First grade need to keep on getting better as a squad and start turning some competitive games into wins. We’re not shying away from the fact that we want to play finals,” the coa

“We’ve got some tough opposition ahead, but for us as a team, it’s an opportunity to right some wrongs against some good opposition.”



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