Shute Shield: Round 4 Talking Points

Thu, May 2, 2024, 12:23 AM
NSW Rugby
by NSW Rugby

The Shute Shield’s Anzac Round certainly didn’t disappoint with Warringah and Randwick winning brilliant local derbies in front of big crowds at Manly and Coogee.

Elsewhere Gordon, Western Sydney, Hunter and Norths claimed wins on another thrilling extra-long weekend of rugby.

Is there anything better than a local derby?

Both the Northern Beaches and the Eastern Suburbs local derbies drew massive crowds to Manly Oval and Coogee Oval respectively and the players didn’t disappoint.

Warringah’s backs proved the difference against the Marlins, while at Coogee, Randwick showed the poise and patience of a premiership winning team to fight back from 21-3 down to beat an Easts’ side who suffered their first defeat under new coach Ben Batger.

It’s hard to imagine any travelling fans left disappointed though as the rugby and the atmosphere was a perfect example of why the Shute Shield competition is thriving.

For those wondering, Easts host Randwick in the return bout in round 12 on June 29, while Warringah host Manly a week later on July 6.

It’s worth throwing both dates in the diary today.

Hunter return to form

After a slow start to the season, Hunter looked a lot more like the side that played finals footy last year in a 38-19 victory over Eastwood up in Newcastle.

New flyhalf Ethan Morgan showed his class, while the big Wildfires forward pack bullied their way around the park.

Hunter host the Two Blues in Newcastle next week, then travel to play Sydney Uni and will be eager to continue their push up the ladder.

Tight losses hurting Uni, while Gordon continue to rise

Sydney Uni lost their second tight match at the death in three weeks, this time conceding a try in the 79th minute against Gordon at Chatswood Oval.

The young Uni side have been impressive so far this year, but they need to find a way to close out tight matches if they want to return to finals footy this season.

After producing their best performance of the year against Hunter last week, Gordon were lucky to escape with the points against Uni, but take plenty of momentum into Saturday’s clash against the Marlins at Manly Oval.

Big men doing great things

If you love watching props in space, then do yourself a favour and check out the highlights of Norths’ win over West Harbour from last weekend.

Norths’ props George Thornton and Michael Scott combined for one of the tries of the season, in the eyes of most other props at least.

The entire Norths’ forward pack moved the ball incredibly well all match and their short passing game looks to be a new and exciting addition to their game plan.

Souths and West Harbour deserve a win and one side should get one this weekend

Souths fell just short against Western Sydney at Forshaw on Saturday but showed glimpses of their potential.

The Rebels scrum and lineout looked a lot more like what we’ve come to expect from any side coached by Joe Barakat, but unfortunately, Souths couldn’t land the killer blow at lineout time in the final minutes of the match.

West Harbour were also beaten by Norths but again seriously challenged the competition leaders in certain periods of the game. If the Pirates can play for 80 minutes, they’ll win more games than they’ll lose moving forward.

West Harbour host Souths on Saturday in a clash both sides desperately need to win.