Norths dig deep to keep unbeaten run alive

by Declan Armstrong

A dogged defensive effort and a moment of pure individual brilliance from star man James Turner have seen Norths continue their unbeaten run in a 19-14 thriller at North Sydney Oval.

The Shoremen prevailed in a low scoring tussle against last year’s Grand Finalists, with the ever-reliable boot of Angus Sinclair ensuring victory for Norths despite a late Woodies charge. 

In a match of finals intensity, neither side allowed much opportunity for expansive attacking play, with rumbling forward sequences and regular kicking duels the preferred approach in blustery conditions. 

Impressively, the Shoremen nullified the Woodies usual attacking flair, restricting a side which was averaging a daunting 42-points a game to just two tries. 

The win continues Norths blistering start to the Charter Hall Shute Shield season, joining the Students at the top of the ladder after Uni composed an impressive 43-12 win over Easts at Woollahra Oval. 

The boot of Angus Sinclair opened the ledger between the two sides, with the Norths flyhalf accounting for the nightmarish kicking conditions to shoot out to an early 6-0 lead. 

Eastwood were parked in the oppositions half soon after, with some relentless forward momentum seeing them continuously challenge the Norths line. 

With Norths prop, Dewald Dekker, shown yellow for repeated infringements, the Woodies pressure was too immense. A sheer weight of numbers saw holes forming in the Norths defence, with Eastwood lock Charlie Cale the beneficiary of some silky hands to stroll over for the games first try. 

As both sides looked to exploit the blowy North Sydney conditions, an aerial battle ensued which saw both sides guilty of handling errors. 

Another penalty to Sinclair restored Norths slender lead to 9-7 running into half time. 

Eastwood were the far stronger team following the break, with the Woodies showing elite patience with the ball on the back of clever offensive kicking from both Tane Edmed and Chris Bell. 

However, a surging run from Norths flyer, James Turner, broke the Eastwood momentum and eventually presented Angus Sinclair with a penalty goal opportunity significantly against the run of play. 

It was to be the first of three key moments for Turner in the match, with the Norths winger running down Eastwood’s Harry Wilson moments later to stop a certain intercept try. 

Turner, who was recently promoted into the NSW Waratahs squad, then went on to score a decisive Norths try in the 69th-minute. After catching the ball almost flat footed, Turner danced around five Eastwood defenders to slam the ball down and extend his sides lead to 19-7. 

The late Norths try sparked the Woodies attacking flair, with the visitors peppering the Norths defence and composing their best attacking play of the match. 

A late try to Eastwood winger, Sam Dolores, gave the Woodies hope of a late comeback, however the Norths defence again stood firm in the final stages to deny their rivals and secure an impressive 19-14 victory. 

The win will fill the Norths dressing room with immense confidence, as the Shoremen prepare to face the Two Blues next Saturday at North Sydney Oval. 

Eastwood head into their bye round this week, allowing a week off to prepare for the Wildfires at T G Millner in Round Eight. 

In other results around the ground, Gordon defeated Randwick 47-27, Sydney Uni continued their fine form with a 43-12 victory over Easts, Warringah easily dealt with Penrith 44-15, Souths finally earned a win over the Wildfires 39-21, while West Harbour held on in a thrilling 33-32 win at Manly Oval. 


Norths 19

Tries: Turner

Cons: Sinclair 

Pens: Sinclair 4 

Yellow Card: Dekker 

Eastwood 14

Tries: Cale, Dolores 

Cons: Bell 2

Round Six Results 

Randwick 27 v 47 Gordon 

Easts 12 v 43 Sydney Uni 

Warringah 44 v 15 Penrith 

Souths 39 v 21 Wildfires 

Manly 32 v 33 West Harbour 

Norths 19 v 14 Eastwood