Southern Districts travel to Chatswood Oval this Saturday in search of their second win of the season, following an opening month characterised by agonisingly narrow defeats.
The Rebels opened their Charter Hall Shute Shield account with a brace of heartbreaking three-point losses to competition heavyweights, Easts and Eastwood.
Following a strong six-point win over a much improved Warringah in Round Three, Souths again fell short against the undefeated Norths 23-13, despite trailing by only a try for much of the closing stages.
After such a tough run of fixtures, Souths sit ninth of the competition ladder with a slender points differential of only -10. However, with fixtures against Manly, the Wildfires and Penrith in the foreseeable future, an underdog victory against Gordon this weekend could be the catalyst to springboard the Rebels season to life.
Southern Districts Head Coach, Todd Louden, believes their Round Five clash is the perfect opportunity for his side to break their run of tough defeats.
“We’ve been tested against the sides consistently at the top over the last few seasons,” he said.
“We know we’ve done reasonably well against them, but the losses have been at our own hands.
“Our side has a lot of growth in them, so if we can put together a complete performance, we will test those top Clubs.”
The Stags will be fresh off the bye this weekend, with a 33-17 loss to Northern Suburbs in Round Three the only blemish in an otherwise strong opening month of the season.
Gordon will be without the services of young flyhalf Reece MacDonald due to injury, with usual fullback option Ben Pollack slotting into the key position.
Despite Pollack being relatively untested in the flyhalf position, Head Coach Billy Melrose believes the Gordon junior will adapt comfortably.
“He [Ben] is a strong, smart player who’s earnt his progression through our Colts system,” he said.
“This is a real opportunity for him to step up and stamp his mark on this team.
“It’ll be a learning experience no doubt, but it’ll only improve him as a player and for us that’s a big positive.”
Despite missing stars like MacDonald, James Lough and Robbie Abel, Melrose has immense faith in the ability of his young side.
“We’re missing some key components and experience, there’s no doubting that,” he said.
“But we trust that the young kids coming in will play their role well.”
Gordon easily accounted for Southern Districts in the corresponding fixture last year, romping home in a 56-21 victory at Chatswood Oval. However, this Souths side has seen noticeable improvement since 2020 and will be hungry for points after impressive showings in their opening four matches.
1. Ivan Felupea'i
2. Robbie Abel
3. Mokani Fuavao
4. Jack Margin
5. Manassa Rokosuka
6. Ola Tauelangi
7. Tom Silk
8. Jordan Goddard
9. Jacob Abel
10. Ben Pollack
11. Mike Pavlakis
12. Kevin Fuavao
13. Tali Finau
14. Kurt Heatherly
15. Jaline Graham
1. Andrew Tuala
2. Lachlan Frean
3. Conor Young
4. Isoa Nasilasila
5. Jake Douglas
6. Joshua Bokser
7. Angus Allen
8. Philip Potgieter
9. Tyzac Jordan
10. Myles Thoroughgood
11. Christian Kagiassis
12. Brad Armstrong
13. George Worth
14. Roberto Ipinui
15. Fred Dorrough
Gordon will host Souths at Chatswood Oval – Saturday 3pm.
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