Shute Shield: Round 5 Talking Points

Tue, May 7, 2024, 11:08 PM
NSW Rugby
by NSW Rugby

Norths held off Randwick to claim a one-point victory in a grand final rematch at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Eastwood scored late to beat a handful of former Woodies now playing at Easts, while Souths broke through for their first win of the season. Here’s what we took out of round five.

Not much between last year’s grand finalists

Norths held on for the narrowest of victories over Randwick on a drier than expected afternoon at North Sydney Oval but the result could have gone either way.

Norths dominated at scrum time in the first half, but that battle seemed to turn in Randwick’s favour after the break.

Both sides have electric backlines, but it was a scrappy match on a heavy track and it’s hard to imagine that either side would have been thrilled with their performance.

Max Jorgensen’s debut for Randwick was cut short when he hobbled off with a hamstring injury early in the second half. Jorgensen had a few good touches in the first half and looked ready to put his stamp on the match in the second before he succumbed to injury.

Eastwood win grudge match against former coach and teammates

A young Eastwood outfit scored in the 80th minute to claim a famous win in a seesawing match at Woollahra Oval.

Easts played arguably the better rugby of the two sides, but repeatedly let Eastwood back into the match by conceding points against the run of play.

The Woodies may have lost a lot of talent and experience from recent seasons, but this group showed they have plenty of fight and an ability to make teams pay. They did the same thing to Warringah at home in round two.

Ben Batger’s week got worse following the loss, learning that he will likely lose both Harry Wilson and Mosese Tuipulotu to contracts overseas before the end of the regular season.

Souths crack maiden

Southern Districts have been awfully close on a number of occasions this year and finally held on for an important win over West Harbour at Concord on Saturday.

The Rebels kicked two penalty goals to claim a 24-21 lead inside the final 10 minutes and defended their line stoically to seal the win.

While they have plenty of heart, the Rebels attack remains clunky and they’ll need to find a few more points in the coming weeks when they host Manly and then Sydney Uni.

Tight losses hurting Students

Sydney Uni lost another tight game on Saturday, their third in five matches so far this year.

Leading 26-10 in the 70th minute, nothing went right for Uni in the final stages and an in-form Warringah side were good enough to capitalise.

Todd Louden’s young side are playing some impressive rugby, but they are struggling to do it consistently over 80 minutes, something the veteran coach will be desperate to address heading into important and very winnable matches against Hunter and Souths in the upcoming fortnight.

Gordon look better every week

It was hard to know what to expect from Gordon this year following the departure of Billy Melrose and a handful of senior players at the end of last season.

But after dropping their first two matches, the Stags have won three straight and dominated Manly at Manly Oval on Saturday.

Harry Fehily’s side drifted in and out of games across the opening month of the season but were brilliant against the Marlins and will take plenty of confidence into Saturday’s semi final rematch against Randwick at Chatswood.