Shute Shield: Top five recruits of 2017
We’re now six weeks into the Shute Shield season and already a number of new recruits have made a big impact. While it’s still early days, we’ve picked five of the best first year Shute Shield players so far this year:
Kevin Fuavao – Manly
Manly have been looking to replace Wallaby Reece Hodge since his departure to Melbourne and they looked across the ditch to do so this year. Auckland born centre Kevin Fuavao has slotted into the Marlins backline brilliantly and is forming a dangerous midfield combination with Denis Pili-Gaitau. On average, Manly are scoring more than 40 points a match so far this year and Fuavao is a big reason for that. His matchup against Con Foley this weekend could decide the game.
Con Foley – Northern Suburbs
While Con Foley isn’t a new name in rugby circles, the former Australian 7s star has been brilliant for the Shoreman this year and has added plenty of class and experience to an understrength Norths side. With a number of last year’s premiership players on Super Rugby duties, Foley has been arguably the signing of the season and is a big reason why Norths remain undefeated.
Jameson Faanana-Schultz – Southern Districts
Barnstorming No.8 Jameson Faanana-Schultz was brought to Sydney by the Waratahs earlier this year and while he’s yet to make his Super Rugby debut, he’s made an immediate impact in the Shute Shield. Souths are yet to find their best this season, but Faanana-Schultz has been a shining light and will play a big role for the Rebels later this year.
Maclean Jones – Warringah
Former UQ backrower Maclean Jones is another Waratahs recruit and has split his time between Super Rugby and Shute Shield so far this year. In his first year as a specialist No.7, Jones’ work rate is incredible and the 20-year old consistently tops Warringah’s stats sheet. According to coach Darren Coleman, he’s only getting better as he adjusts to his new role.
Zac McKay – Eastwood
Former Penrith Panthers back Zac Mackay saw the light and headed to Eastwood this year and he’s been fairly impressive to date. Son of former Australian rugby league back Graham McKay, the winger has added plenty of spark to the Woodies attack and he’ll only continue to get better as the season progresses.