Shute Shield: The fascinating origins of the best club rugby competition in Australia

Robert Shute survived World War One only to die after hitting his head on Manly Oval playing rugby in 1922. John ‘Shute’ (no relation) was involved in the tackle that led to Robert's death. Yet while greatly-affected by the incident right up to his own death some 66 years later, Jack Shute left a great legacy for the Shute family, for Eastwood DRUFC, for rugby, writes MATT CLEARY of the Northern Beaches Sports Tribune.

The old man sat at the bus stop in his dressing gown, long white pyjamas and fluffy slippers. There was a cowboy hat on his head. And he was telling himself the story he’d been telling - living - for 66 years, the one about the day that Robert Shute died.

“I met up with Robert before the match, he said he felt a bit crook. Then I tackled him and he crumpled and he died. He’d survived the Western Front. He died on Manly Oval. His mother wrote me a letter to say it wasn’t my fault. It wasn't my fault.”

When the man’s family found him and took him back to the nursing home, he repeated the story again. And again. And again. The one about Robert Shute, who’d been a Gunner in the 8th Field Artillery Brigade, who’d survived war in France and hospitalisation in Italy, only to pass away after hitting his head on Manly Oval, June 5, 1922.

Two days after his family picked the old man up, he passed away himself, aged 87. He was still telling the story. The old man was John ‘Jack’ Shute and he was no relation of Robert Shute’s, though the men were friendly having played rugby against one another.


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