Shute Shield Round Two: Key Matchups

Thu, Apr 11, 2024, 1:13 AM
NSW Rugby
by NSW Rugby

The sun came out just in time for kick-off in the opening round of the 2024 Shute Shield season last Saturday and the rugby that followed didn’t disappoint.

While it’s still too early to know exactly what to make of each team just yet, here are a few key matchups to keep an eye out for throughout round two this weekend.

Warringah v Randwick - Buy tickets (
Sam Thomson (Warringah) v Angus Houston (Randwick)

Randwick were electric in round one and even without Kurtley Beale and Triston Reilly, they’re going to be hard to handle this weekend. But five of Randwick’s 10 tries last week started from a lineout. If Rats’ veteran lock Sam Thomson can make young Angus Houston’s life tough at lineout time, Warringah could limit Randwick’s scoring opportunities.

Eastern Suburbs v Gordon - Buy Tickets (
Teddy Wilson (Eastern Suburbs) v Harry Emery (Gordon)

Back from the Waratahs, Easts No.9 Teddy Wilson will start his first Shute Shield match of the season and add further class to a seriously impressive Beasties’ backline. His opponent, Gordon No.9 Harry Emery has quite a bit of experience over Wilson and will need to limit his explosiveness at the base of the ruck.

Sydney Uni v Manly - Buy Tickets (
Isi Naisarani (Sydney Uni) v Hunter Ward (Manly)

Sydney Uni Uni No.8 Naisarani was destructive in his Sydney Uni debut last week and increased the average age and average weight of the Sydney Uni pack quite significantly. Hunter Ward will need to limit Naisarani’s impact in attack and get his side over the advantage line against the Students, who look to be a very different team from 2023.

Hunter v Southern Districts - Buy tickets (
Donny Freeman (Hunter) v Alan Fitzgerald (Southern Districts)

In a losing side, Donny Freeman still did a mountain of work for the Wildfires in their first round loss to Randwick and has the ability to stifle the opposition attack at the breakdown. With both the Wildfires and Rebels looking for their first win, Souths No.7 Alan Fitzgerald has a job on his hands to limit Freeman’s impact.

Western Sydney v West Harbour - Buy Tickets (
No.9s: Rilloy Suesue (Western Sydney) v Dion Spice (West Harbour)

Two teams with plenty of big ball carriers, both the Two Blues and Pirates will look to roll through the middle of the field and it will be job of both halfbacks to manage the tempo of the game and decide when to spread the ball to a handful of electric outside backs.

Northern Suburbs v Eastwood - Buy tickets (
Brodie Leber (Northern Suburbs) v Ratu Tuisese (Eastwood)

Two of the most underrated but talented No.7s in the competition will meet in Cowra as the Shute Shield heads to the country for the first time this season. Tuisese is an experienced backrower in an Eastwood forward pack filled with new, young faces. He’ll need to be at his best against Leber and the equally experienced and talented Shoremen.