Match of the Round preview - Easts v Eastwood

by Declan Armstrong

It’s a heavyweight clash this weekend with Eastern Suburbs set to host last year’s grand finalists, Eastwood in Round Four of the Charter Hall Shute Shield.

Both sides have shown strong form to begin 2021, with a pair of after the siren losses the only blemish on the teams otherwise perfect starts. 

Eastwood come off an agonising 49-44 loss to Sydney University, after a Tim Clements try in the 83rd minute snatched almost certain victory from the Woodies. 

Eastwood Head Coach Ben Batger is set to welcome back Waratahs Tane Edmed and Mark Nawaqanitawase into the starting side, bolstering an already impressive list which now includes nine of last years grand final team. 

Inclusion of these Woodies representative players is a factor not lost on Batger, who admits they will add instant class to his side. 

“Both Tane and Mark played all of last season with us, so they know the systems really well,” he said. 

“They’ll slot in seamlessly because they’re elite players. 

“We’re obviously very fortunate to have these players come back to us and I’m sure they’ll make their mark on the game when the chance arises.”

By comparison, Eastern Suburbs are coming off an impressive victory against fierce rivals Randwick in last weekends Battle of the East. The Beasties composed one of their most complete performances at Coogee Oval, with a late try to breakaway James Donato sealing a 31-22 victory. 

The Beasties Round Four clash begins a run of fixtures which includes the Two Blues, Wildfires and Penrith, meaning victory this weekend could spark a real purple patch for Pauli Taumoepeau and his men. 

The two sides previous encounter was last years Preliminary Final, with the eventual grand finalists too strong for the Beasties 29-20. 

With both Easts and Eastwood expected to feature in finals again this season, this weekend’s Match of the Round could be our earliest snapshot of what to expect come September. 

Teams

Eastern Suburbs

1. Faalelei Sione
2. Moli Sooaemalelagi
3. Kalafi Pongi
4. Jack Digby
5. Sione Fifita
6. Archie Gavin
7. James Donato
8. Charlie Gamble
9. Angus Fowler
10. Rohan Saifoloi
11. Blake Rixon
12. Mosese Tuipulotu
13. Nicholas Jooste
14. Clay Uyen
15. Daniel Donato

Eastwood 

1. Lewis Ponini
2. Ed Craig
3. Rhys Sheriff
4. Charles Granger
5. Charlie Cale
6. Ratu Tuisese 
7. Tom Murphy
8. Michael Icely
9. Matt Gonzalez
10. Tane Edmed
11. Lachie Shelley
12. Enoka Muliufi
13. Devan Stoltz
14. Fabian Goodall 
15. Mark Nawaqanitawase

Woollahra Oval – Saturday 3pm

Catch all the action Ad-Free, Live and On-Demand on Stan Sport.

 
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