Shute Shield Power Rankings: Where does your team stand after round three?
It’s been a strange old start to the 2019 Shute Shield season.
In week one, Easts ran through Sydney Uni late in the match and sent a warning to the rest of the competition.
A week later, the Beasties were belted by Warringah in a result that surprised most.
Then last week, Sydney Uni – who lost to Easts in week one – put 50 points on a Warringah side who beat Easts comfortably a few days earlier.
Confused? Us too.
So to try and make sense of it all, we’ve put together our first Power Rankings of 2019. This is different to a ladder, and takes into account who sides have played and how they’ve performed so far this season.
Photo: Karen Watson
1) Northern Suburbs
Despite finishing in the top three for the last three seasons, Norths somehow floated under the radar early this year but have started their campaign with two clinical victories against Warringah and Eastwood.
2) Sydney University
The Students couldn’t match Easts in the final 20 minutes of their round one match but haven’t put a foot wrong since. Scoring 50 points against Warringah on Good Friday is an ominous sign for the rest of the competition.
3) Southern Districts
Souths lead the competition with three straight wins but still haven’t been properly tested. While the Rebels will admit they are still a long way off playing their best rugby, they head into a bye in round four with three wins next to their name and it’s hard to ask for much more. Their clash with Manly in round five will be one to watch.
Another perennial contender who somehow floated under the radar over summer, Manly showed how dangerous they can be with an impressive win over Easts on Saturday. While they fell short against Eastwood in round two, the Marlins have recruited well and have the core of a very good footy side. Their clash against Norths this weekend will tell us a lot about both sides.
The Woodies came into the season with plenty of hype surrounding their new look line up and while they’ve been good early, they haven’t been great. Eastwood were no match for Norths at home last week, but still boast arguably one of the best rosters on paper and will jump right up the rankings if they can challenge Uni in Mudgee this weekend.
6) Eastern Suburbs
After the best possible start to 2019, it’s hard not to be disappointed by back to back Beasties losses. Coach Pauli Taumeopeau put the Warringah loss down to an off day but it’s worrying to see the same thing occur again a week later. Easts will be up there at the back end of the season but their consistency must improve.
The new look Stags claimed their first win in almost a year on Saturday, a week after falling just short against Souths. There is no doubt that Gordon are a different side this year but it’s still too early to tell exactly where they sit. A win against a Warringah side struggling for consistency this weekend would be a very good sign for Stags fans.
A loss to a very good Norths side and an upset win over Easts had Rats’ fans optimistic but conceding 50 points in this competition is not good enough for any side wanting to play finals footy. The Good Friday loss to Sydney Uni may be a turning point for Warringah but their week to week consistency will need to improve if they want to return to the finals this season.
9) West Harbour
A new look West Harbour side barely touched the ball against Souths in round one, then turned it on late against Randwick to claim an impressive bonus point win. The Pirates new recruits showed plenty of positive signs in round two and have had another week to work on their combinations during a bye round last weekend.
The Galloping Greens produced their best performance of the season to challenge Souths at Forshaw on Saturday but are still yet to claim a win this season. They take on Easts at home in an Anzac Day derby this Thursday afternoon and while they’ll start that clash as underdogs, Randwick will have no shortage of motivation.
11) Western Sydney
The new look Two Blues showed positive signs in their round one clash against Manly but have struggled since then in losses to Uni and Gordon. Joel Rivers’ side will be desperate to open their account when they take on West Harbour at the new Parramatta Stadium this Saturday night.