Shute Shield: Will the 2020 draw help or hinder your team’s premiership chances?
The Shute Shield draw has been released which means the countdown to the start of the 2020 season is officially on.
While the players slog it out during a painfully long summer, we thought we’d take a look at next year’s draw and analyse how that will affect each side’s chances next season.
Eastern Suburbs: C
The Beasties face a tough start to 2019 with clashes against top four sides Norths, Warringah and Uni in the opening weeks ahead of a local derby against Randwick at Woollahra on Anzac Day. Easts are also one of seven teams without a second bye at the back end of the season.
The Woodies will start the season as one of the competition favourites but will be tested in the opening six weeks against Norths, Souths, Uni, Warringah and Manly. They have two byes and play Uni and Warringah twice each but have a favourable end to the regular season.
Gordon start the year with clashes against Western Sydney and West Harbour on either side of a bye in round two and get a second week off in round 13. The Stags were the big improvers in 2019 and play Randwick, Warringah and Souths in the final three rounds in matches that may decide their season.
Manly have a dream start and face four teams who missed the playoffs in 2019 in the opening four weeks and again at the backend of the season. Marlins fans also have derbies against Warringah to look forward to in round 7 and 12.
Northern Suburbs: C
The Shoreman start and finish the regular season with tough clashes against Eastwood and Easts but face the Two Blues, Pirates and Souths twice each. Consecutive matches against Uni, the Woodies and Easts in the final three rounds will likely decide their season.
It’s been a disappointing few years at Coogee but at least on paper, things look promising in 2020. Randwick have possibly the pick of the draws and would like their chances of winning at least four of their first six matches. They then have byes in round 10 and 17 which could help them break their finals drought.
Southern Districts: B-
New coach Todd Louden faces a baptism of fire at Southern Districts with clashes against Manly, Uni and Eastwood in the first three weeks of his reign at Forshaw. If the Rebels can get through a tough start, they have a second bye in round 14 and a fairly favourable run towards the finals.
Sydney University: B+
The two-time defending premiers will be tested early with clashes against Warringah, Easts and Eastwood in the opening month but have a favourable run through the middle part of the season ahead of a second bye in the final round.
Western Sydney: B
The Two Blues start the year with matches they’ll like their chances in against West Harbour, Manly and Randwick. They play the Pirates, Wicks and Rebels twice as well, who all missed the playoffs this year.
West Harbour: A-
Could 2020 be the year West Harbour end their finals drought? The draw suggests it could be. The Pirates start the year with a string of winnable matches, have two byes and only play away from Concord once in the final five rounds.
Rats fans probably still won’t be over this year’s grand final defeat by the time Warringah face Uni again in round one at Rat Park. While it won’t make up for it, the Rats do have a decent draw in 2020 with two byes although they face Eastwood, Easts and Manly twice before the end of the regular season.