Shute Shield: Mid Season Review – Part 2

As the Shute Shield takes a weekend off to celebrate an old English ladies’ birthday, we thought we’d take the opportunity to check in with all 11 coaches and find out how they think their side is travelling at this point of the season.

Finals footy might still be a long way off this year, but there isn’t a lot of room for error in a competition as tight as this one.


Norths: 2nd – 7 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw

After falling just short in last year’s decider, Norths lost their coach and a number of key players to the Waratahs ahead of the 2018 season.

But under new mentor Shannon Fraser, the Shoreman haven’t missed a beat and sit comfortably in second after nine rounds.

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

“I’d say the first half of the season has been adequate in regards to our results. We’ve managed to pick up a few crucial wins without having necessarily outplayed our opponents,” Fraser said.

“To be fair, I think in some games we’ve been a fair way off playing our best.”

Who has been your best performer so far this year?

“I think to date we have started about 33 different players in first grade since round one. Our depth has certainly been tested, but that has been good for the club and will definitely help down the track.”

What do you need to do over the next 9 rounds to consider 2018 a success?

”Our expectations are really high, so it’s fair to say we’re not content with what we’ve produced so far. It’s important that we keep pushing ourselves to be better.

“The standard of our competition is improving rapidly, so we’re going to have to start to produce some better performances, if we are serious about playing on the 1st September, 2018″.

Sydney Uni: 1st – 7 wins, 2 losses

Coming off their worst finish in years in 2017, a new look Sydney Uni side has reinvented themselves under new coach Rob Taylor and were the surprise package of the opening rounds.

By the halfway point of the season, Uni are surprising no one though and will arguably be the team to beat come September.

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

“I’d rate it 6 out of 10. It’s nice to be at the top of the table but the fact is we lost to Norths and Eastwood therefore we have plenty of work to do,” Taylor told Rugby News.

“As a relatively new SUFC team coming together, we’ve been focussed week to week since preseason and we haven’t worried too much about where we are on the table, but it’s nice to be where we are.”

Who has been you best performer so far this year? Why?

“Our forward pack as a whole have been very impressive. The quality attacking ball and defensive scrum pressure they’ve produced has been a pillar in our teams overall performance.

“The backs have showed glimpses of the magic they are capable of but they need to be more consistent.”

What do you need to do over the next 9 rounds to consider 2018 a success?

We need to be achieving the performance standards that we set each week. We let in 32 points last weekend, that is far off where we want or need to be.”

Warringah: 5th – 6 wins, 3 losses

The hunters became the hunted for the very first time in 2018 and Rats coach Darren Coleman seems happy to admit that it has taken his side some time to adjust.

Despite that, Warringah are fifth after nine matches and building nicely. Something that will be keeping plenty of opposition coaches up at night as the finals draw closer.

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

“Our first half of the season has been a pass mark, nothing more. We’re in the hunt still and we’ve beat some of the teams with playoff aspirations but lost to others,” Coleman said.

“The comp is so tight that I think you just need to get yourself into the top 6 and arrive at August with most of your key players fit and the team in enough form to have genuine belief.

“At this stage of the year I was hoping our attack would be more clinical and we’d be making less errors.

“Our defence has been tough. One of our goals was to significantly improve that and under Ben McCormack I think we have, particularly our defensive lineout.”

Who has been you best performer so far this year? Why?

“We’ve had a few good performers. Some of our new players have genuinely added to the group. Tyson Davis has been our most consistent performer, he hasn’t had a poor game this year.

“Harry Jones is also showing a more physical side to his game which is pleasing.”

What do you need to do over the next 9 rounds to consider 2018 a success?

“For 2018 to be a success we need to reduce our turnovers in attack. If we can do that, we’ll be in with a shot against anyone at anytime. The results will then fall where they will and we can be proud of our efforts.”