Shute Shield: Round Eight Talking Points

Wed, May 29, 2024, 1:09 AM
NSW Rugby
by NSW Rugby

Norths and Warringah played out a gripping 28-all draw over the weekend, while Gordon, Manly and Easts all secured their spots in the top four after wins in round eight.

Here’s what we noticed over the weekend.

Did we watch a grand final preview?

Norths and Warringah’s clash over the weekend was played with a finals-like intensity. At this stage, it wouldn’t be surprising to see both teams in the final game of the season this year, just as they did back in 2017.

Neither side played their best rugby on Saturday and both were missing key players, but they both seem to be building nicely into this season and appear to have a lot of what it takes to make a run at the backend of this season.

It’s tight at the top

We’re almost at the halfway point of the regular season and after last weekend’s results, just three competition points separate Warringah in top spot and Manly in fourth.

Below them, only four competition points is separating Norths in fifth and Randwick in ninth and a handful of teams below that remain in striking distance.

The middle third of the regular season, before rep players return, is going to be very important.

Extra time?

After Norths and Warringah’s 28-all draw on the weekend, many are asking if extra time should be played during the regular season, as it is in finals.

It’s a tricky one and a question the AFL is asking itself as well.

Do tired teams deserve to walk away with nothing if they concede a penalty in extra time? Or should be give teams a chance to take maximum points from a match? The jury is still out for most.

Gordon has plenty of momentum

Gordon has won six straight matches heading into Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash against Warringah.

The Stags haven’t played their best in recent wins over Eastwood and Southern Districts, but they are finding ways to win and are the form team of the competition at this stage.

Warringah had one four straight games before Saturday’s draw with Norths and has only lost one game this year.

Both sides get a chance to prove their premiership credentials this weekend.

Shute Shield on the big stage

Norths and Manly will meet at Allianz Stadium on Friday night before the Waratahs take on the Reds.

It’s great to see the Shute Shield on the big stage and if you want to see more of it, make sure you head to Moore Park early to watch the match.

The new stadium is easily accessible by public transport and the food offering is superb. It’s well worth a trip if you haven’t been before regardless of which club you support.