Waratahs and Eastwood flyhalf Tane Edmed, says he is relishing the opportunity to lead his beloved club through another Finals series, as the Woodies prepare for a semi-final date with the Marlins tomorrow afternoon.
Edmed enjoyed a breakout year within Super Rugby in 2022, cementing himself as the preferred Waratahs flyhalf and earning himself a spot in the Australia A Pacific Nations Cup squad.
But Edmed says his focus is now entirely on Shute Shield Finals and guiding his Woodies toward another Grand Final.
“I’m really loving being back around this group and having the chance to lead this team,” he said.
“Being a leader is something I pride myself on and something that I’m looking to continually develop, so to have an opportunity to do it throughout a finals series and with a group I love is special.”
Edmed featured in just four of his club’s regular season fixtures and his return from Waratah and Australia A duty has given Eastwood an evident spark over recent weeks.
The 22-year-old says being so familiar with the group has allowed him to slot in again seamlessly.
“It takes any team a level of adjustment to have a reshuffle in the backline during the season,” he said.
“Every flyhalf has a different style, but luckily for me, I’ve got a group that I’m very familiar with and who are used to me and how I play the position.
“Chris [Bell] and I have a fantastic partnership and he always allows that transition back to Shute Shield to be quick.
“It’s important that he’s still in that side when I return to allow for consistency across the backline and ensures we always have two genuine playmakers out on the field.”
Edmed faces off against another sharpshooter in Kemu Valetini tomorrow afternoon. Valetini notched 138-points at 81.9% from the tee in 2022, a fact that Edmed says his side is focused on suppressing on Saturday afternoon.
“Kemu is obviously super reliable off the tee, so it’s important we limit the opportunities that he gets,” he said.
“But I’m sure they’ll prepare the same way for me. In finals rugby, it’s always vital that your kickers capitalise on the opportunities you have in front of goal and matches are likely only decided by a few points.
“I know that my ability to take those chances will be key tomorrow and I’m looking forward to having that responsibility.”
Being a part of the Eastwood team that went agonisingly close to a Shute Shield title in 2020, Edmed believes those that remain from their Grand Final loss to Gordon are incredibly focused on changing that storyline.
In that 2020 season, Eastwood finished fifth and defeated Eastern Suburbs in the first week of finals. The Woodies also finished the 2022 Shute Shield season in fifth, before knocking out Easts 36-23 last weekend.
Edmed says his side is aware of the opportunity they hold to rewrite that narrative.
“I think over the last couple of weeks our team have recognised what our style is and it’s important we stay true to that now,” he said.
“That Grand Final in 2020 really hurt, but I think we’re in a position now where we know if we play our best rugby we will be there again.
“I know the group is incredibly motivated to go one better this year and we all hold that shared goal in mind.”
Manly v Eastwood – North Sydney Oval, Saturday 3:10pm.
Randwick v Gordon – Coogee Oval, Sunday 3:05pm.