Shute Shield Mid Season Review: Warringah, Sydney Uni & Manly

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: Karen Watson

Mark Gerrard: Warringah – 3rd (28pts, 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?

“It’s been a little disrupted at times and injuries don’t help but overall, I’ve been happy with the progress of the group,” first year coach Mark Gerrard said. 

“We can still be a lot better in all areas though which is a good thing at this time of the season. 

“Top four was the aim at the start of the year, but we know that now that we’re there, everyone will be out to get us in the second half of the season.”

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

“I think our top performers have been our forwards. In saying that, our leaders have been a huge part of our current success – Hamish Angus, Josh Holmes, Matt Foulds, Sam Thomson, everyone of our backrow,” Gerrard said. 

“Ben Marr is probably one to watch, he’s very exciting.”

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

“Win the competition,” he said with a laugh. 

Rob Taylor: Sydney Uni – 4th (28pts, 5 wins)

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 we’ve gone through a bit of a learning and development stage, but we’re really pleased to see a number of players who have come through our Colts system get exposure and perform well in first grade,” Taylor said. 

“It’s created a lot of depth in key positions as we enter the second half of the season. 

“It’s a tight top six and we’re in touching distance at the moment. We play everyone in the top six again though, so there is a lot in our control.”

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

“In the forwards Wayne Borsak is playing his best ever rugby and Nick Champion de Crespigny has been destructive. 

“In the backs, Harry Potter and James Armstong have put up some impressive stats in attack.”

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

“We need to keep getting better, you can’t plateau in the second half of the season. Players need to feel fresh, motivated and well equipped to perform during the run towards finals.”

Billy Melrose: Manly – 5th (22pts, 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?

“I think we’ve have competed pretty well with all teams despite having to play with a number of different combinations,” Billy Melrose said. 

“We aren’t where we want to be but we’re in there amongst a tight race. I’m confident that we’ll improve and be more dangerous once we can settle a bit.

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

“Alex Humfrey has been pretty consistent. Beaudein Waaka and Jimmy Ohmsen are probably the only two backs who have consistently been there, albeit in different positions due to their versatility.

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

“Winning the comp is the goal of most people,” the coach said. 

“We’re going to have to do a lot right to just make the finals but there aren’t many cups handed out for the minor place getters and we know that.”



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