Shute Shield: Round 11 Preview
Photo: Serge Gonzales
Will Dewet Roos spark Souths’ attack?
Southern Districts have had an up and down year to date and have a 5-5 record after 10 rounds, but the Rebels welcome back Brumbies recruit Dewet Roos this weekend ahead of what really is a must win clash against Easts at Centennial Park. While the Rebels have showed glimpses of their best this year, they’ve lacked spark at times and Roos provides plenty of that and a steady hand at the base of the scrum. Easts however have looked good in recent weeks and know how to cause an upset. A win on Saturday could see the Beasties sneak into the top six.
Can Norths bounce back?
While Simon Cron has been tearing his non-existent hair out in Georgia, Norths have lost four straight matches in the past month and will be looking to find some form when they travel to Nepean to play Penrith. Will Miller, Hugh Sinclair and Con Foley all return for the Shoreman in a timely boost as they look to secure their spot in the top six ahead of crucial matches against Manly, Sydney Uni and Souths in the coming weeks.
Rats and Randwick to battle under lights
Just a week after knocking off Manly, Warringah will be out to prove they belong at the top end of the Shute Shield ladder when they host an understrength Randwick side under lights at Rat Park. With Waratahs Andrew Deegan and Reece Robinson in Japan, Randwick coach Shannon Fraser has shifted Lachie Anderson to flyhalf and named Ben O’Connell at fullback, while Western Force recruit Mitch Short returns in the No.9 jersey.
Gordon looking to build on momentum against Eastwood
While Eastwood were clinical in a 29-15 win over Sydney Uni last weekend, Gordon caused the upset of the round, scoring late to beat Norths at Chatswood Oval. Gordon coach Mark Philp told Rugby News he thought Norths and Eastwood were very similar sides but admitted the Highlanders would need to step up again to challenge Eastwood at TG Millner. Stu Woodhouse has made two changes to the team that beat Sydney Uni, with Tom Alexander named at lock and Blake Sutton to start in the centres for the Woodies. Keep an eye out for Gordon winger Paula Balekana who scored his third hat trick of the season last weekend.
Manly not taking Pirates lightly
Manly dropped their first match of the season last weekend against Warringah and while on paper, they should be too good for West Harbour, the Marlins can’t afford to take the Pirates lightly. West Harbour have already beaten Eastwood and Sydney Uni this year and will be looking for another scalp at Manly Oval. Manly lead the competition by seven points after 10 rounds and won’t want to waste their strong start to the year by letting a match slip heading into the bye weekend.
New look Students to face Parramatta
After a disappointing loss to Eastwood in round 10, Sydney Uni coach Tim Davidson has named a new look side to play Parramatta. Prop Ezrah Amituanai, lock Nick Champion De Crespigny and No.8 Siaosi Halaifonua will all start up front, while flyhalf Ben Hughes has been named at inside centre alongside Tom Carter. Aussie 7s flyer Tom Kingston has also been named after returning last weekend. Parramatta couldn’t match Southern Districts in round 10 and will have their work cut out for them again on Saturday, with David Lolohea and Senio Teleafoa both in Japan with the Waratahs.