Warringah and Manly prepare for crucial local derby
Manly and Warringah will meet in one of the most important local derbies in Intrust Shute Shield history on Saturday, with both bragging rights and a semi finals spot on the line.
With three rounds remaining, fifth placed Manly are one spot and four competition points ahead of their northern neighbours with both sides needing at least two, if not three wins from their final three matches to extend their seasons into the playoffs.
Warringah led Sydney Uni for 88 minutes at Camperdown last week, but were forced to share the points with the Students after Stu Dunbar scored a converted try nine minutes after the full time siren to level the scores at 41-41.
“I was really happy with how we played. We started well for a change, scored some great tries and basically stuck to the task against a strong finishing Uni team,” Rats coach Greg Marr said.
“The result was frustrating, but we have taken plenty of confidence from that performance going into the derby.”
Star flyhalf and captain Hamish Angus will miss the next three weeks through injury, forcing Marr to shift former Brumby Rodney Iona to No.10 for the clash. Assistant coach and former Wallaby Julian Huxley is expected to play from the bench.
“We will obviously miss Hamish, he’s our on-field general and our most consistent player, but Rod and Julian are both very gifted rugby players and great replacements.”
After an inconsistent start to the year, Manly have returned to form in recent weeks and have won their last four matches, including a gutsy 16-15 victory over Southern Districts.
Manly coach Damien Cummins told Rugby News defence has been the focus in recent weeks and it appears to be working. In the past month, the Marlins have leaked just three tries and Cummins will be eager to continue that trend against a Warringah side that has averaged 38 points a match in their last four games.
“Derbies are fantastic occasions, it’s neighbour versus neighbour, mate against mate type of stuff,” Marr said.
“But I think this derby is so personal because each team has guys who were associated with the other club. I guess it all comes down to bragging rights at Wharf Bar late on Saturday night, but the passion displayed in the game will be awesome,” he added.
Rory O’Connor, Luke Holmes, Manessah Alaga, Jack Tompkins, Ben Adams, Paula Kaho, Tom O’Connor, Sam Ward, Josh Holmes, Rodney Esekia Iona, Harry Jones, Josh Gillard, Seb Wileman, Michael Adams, Tyson Davis.
Mitch Lewis, Vance Elliot, Alex Westgarth, Hayden Stringer, Ed Gower, Daniel Alley, James Graham, Junior Palau, Scott Bradley, Sam Lane, Josh Turner, Nick Holton, Dennis Pili-Gaitau, Richard Hooper, Brenden Hartmann.