It’s time — in fact I’m running kinda late — to take a quick look at the weekend’s action in Australia’s three top club rugby competitions.
The point of interest in Brisbane is that the Reds have a bye so a host of squad members will be turning out for their clubs. Sydney offers a series of even match-ups that couldn’t have been better scheduled by a dating computer. It’s a similar story in Canberra, were first plays second, third plays fifth, and sixth plays seventh.
Why is the Brumbies logo in our header image? The ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union runs all its operations under the ‘Brumbies Rugby’ brand these days.
Queensland Premier Rugby: Round 4
Brothers v. University @ Crosby Park, 3:00pm Saturday
Both teams are coming off big wins last time out. The Brethren look strong and confident, and perhaps recognising this the Students have made a few changes to the starting XV. I’m tipping Brothers to continue their perfect start to the season.
Brothers: 1. Iosefo Tabalala, 2. Andrew Coady, 3. Adrian Dixon, 4. Matt Dews, 5. Nathan Ross, 6. Luke Beauchamp, 7. Charlie Freney, 8. Simon Price (c), 9. Sam Grasso, 10. Matt Smith, 11. Dom Shipperley, 12. Nathanuel Gendle, 13. Kapa Moeke, 14. Ant Sauer, 15. Damon Murphy.
University: 1. Sam Cochrane, 2. Halley Appleby, 3. Guy Shepherdson, 4. David McDuling, 5. Jordan Chapman, 6. Tim Buchanan, 7. Cameron Jones, 8. Harry Elliott, 9. Ian Prior, 10. Tom Tuffley, 11. Ryan Gilliman, 12. Herman Porter, 13. Con Foley, 14. Tom Cox, 15. Simon Morahan.
Norths v. Easts @ Hugh Courtney Oval, 3:00pm Saturday
The young Eagles notched up a confidence-boosting win over Sunshine Coast last weekend but face a pretty severe test in the shape of the visiting Tigers. Easts have it all going on, forwards and backs… they should make this win number four.
Norths: 1. Kesomi Lolotonga, 2. Scott Kennon, 3. Shane Tasi, 4. Will Hansen, 5. Tom Haire, 6. Robert William-Luketina, 7. Tom Hewitt, 8. Carlos Gavidi, 9. Daniel Ritchie, 10. Robert Butcher, 11. Sam Purvis, 12. Fred Tuua, 13. Mitchell Flynn, 14. Michael Lynagh, 15. Keni Blair.
Easts: 1. Lloyd Campbell-McBride, 2. Matt Randell, 3. Andrew Parker, 4. Greg Riley, 5. Michael Stolberg, 6. Luke Bertini (c), 7. Mitch Sincock, 8. Ed Quirk, 9. Dominic Fuller, 10. Matt Brandon (vc), 11. Chris Mansell, 12. David Skelton, 13. Toby White, 14. Johnny Wilder, 15. Aidan Toua.
Sunnybank v. GPS @ Oldmac Oval, 3:00pm Saturday
That’s a very Red-coloured Dragons pack and the Gallopers are in danger of getting shoved around in this game, just as they were against Brothers last weekend. But if their forwards can hold their ground, they definitely have the backline to compete. Still, Sunnybank should be the third of the top teams to carry on unbeaten.
Sunnybank: 1. Albert Anae, 2. Benjamin Fox, 3. Paul Alo-Emile, 4. Benjamin Adams, 5. Adam Wallace-Harrison, 6. Jake Schatz, 7. Liam Gill, 8. Leroy Houston, 9. Siaosi Taufa, 10. Matt Lucas, 11. Semiti Tela, 12. Robert Lee, 13. Rota Setu, 14. Shane Seiuli, 15. Jason Hofmeyr.
GPS: 1. Jean-Pierre Smith, 2. Joao Caldeira-Santos, 3. Ruan Smith, 4. Daniel Gorman, 5. Mitchell Carpenter, 6. Jono Ellis (c), 7. Ben Coridas, 8. Gavin Murphy, 9. Nick Frisby, 10. Pat Smith, 11. Todd Winkley, 12. James Herbert, 13. Namila Davui, 14. Chris Kuridrani, 15. Josh Logan.
Souths v. Sunshine Coast @ Chipsy Wood Oval, 3:15pm Saturday
The Magpies seek their first 2011 win in hosting the Stingrays. Both teams lost last weekend, but Souths exceeded expectations in holding Sunnybank to a close one while Sunshine Coast underperformed in getting dished by Norths. With Van the Man harnessing up for the Magpies, I’m tipping them to roll the ‘rays.
Souths: 1. David Feao, 2. Abe Haira, 3. Sam Denny (c), 4. Ryan Wisemantel, 5. Van Humphries, 6. Stu Williamson, 7. Gerard O’Hare, 8. Paul Mafi, 9. Chris Field, 10. Adney Anitema, 11. Willy Tilagucaguca, 12. Matt Ika, 13. Whitmer Tuputala, 14. Junior Lafaele, 15. Kimami Sitauti.
Sunshine Coast: 1. Haydn Hirsimaki, 2. Benjamin Church, 3. Trent Anderson, 4. Andrew Gaylor, 5. Blake Enever, 6. Tom Beattie, 7. Matthew Blain, 8. Mitchell King, 9. William Urquhart, 10. Shane Drahm, 11. Stephanus Van Der Walt, 12. Ciaran Boland, 13. Allen Rankin, 14. Elliot Hagen, 15. Alex Millington.
Gold Coast v. Wests @ Albert Park, 3:30pm Saturday
Either the Breakers or the Bulldogs will earn their first win in 2011 out of this bottom-of-the-table clash. Neither team showed much promise in their big losses last weekend, but the Bulldogs held Easts back for a little while, so I’m tipping them.
Gold Coast: 1. Jack Kimmince, 2. Ross Marais, 3. Jon Bishop, 4. Rubin Fuimaono, 5. Michael McDonald, 6. Jason Mackie, 7. Jarrad Butler, 8. Jay Havelu, 9. Simon Bartley, 10. Ross Morrissey, 11. Timothy Hindmarsh, 12. Wade Grintell, 13. John Monu, 14. Andrew Barnes, 15. Matt Langmack.
Wests: 1. Henry Brown, 2. Hunter Thomas, 3. Reuben Leilua, 4. Dugald Struss, 5. Steve Mison, 6. Nick Gregorski, 7. Angus Cottrell, 8. Poutasi Luafutu (c), 9. Nigel Genia, 10. Rob Johnson, 11. Ian Aokuso, 12. Sean van Tonder, 13. Peter Nelson, 14. Konnor Ah Kuoi, 15. Mase Faatoe.
Sydney Premier Rugby: Shute Shield Round 8
Eastwood v. Eastern Suburbs @ TG Millner Field, 3:10pm Saturday
It’s a perfect day for a top-of-the-table showdown. The Woods are still unbeaten after seeing off Gordon in a close one last week; Easts tuned up wih a half-century score against Parramatta. The only tip I’m prepared to make is that this game will be a beauty. Watch it live on ABC1.
Eastwood: 1. Simon Norris, 2. Chris Hill, 3. Barry Fa’amuasili; 4. Mitch Lees, 5. Jared Barry; 6. Josh Dunning, 7. Miles McCaffrey, 8. Tom Alexander; 9. Nic White, 10. Pierre Hola; 11. Mark Frost, 12. Sione Piukala, 13. Tim Bennetts, 14. John Grant; 15. Ben Batger (c).
Easts: 1. Campese Ma’afu, 2. Sam Zlatevski, 3. Ofa Fainga’anuku; 4. Adam Byrnes, 5. Phil Mathers; 6. Jordan Brown, 7. Andrew Shaw, 8. Richard Stanford; 9. Luke Irwin, 10. Kurt Morath; 11. Ratu Ma’afu, 12. Matt Toomua, 13. Eddie Paea, 14. Anton Lavin; 15. Dion Taumata.
Parramatta v. West Harbour @ Merrylands RSL Rugby Park, 3:00pm Saturday
The Pirates are in ninth spot on the table and look to be a cut above the Two Blues, Rats and Emus, but not yet ready to mix it up with the rest. Parramatta keep scoring while they’re losing matches so they do have a chance today.
Parramatta: 1.Sione Taula, 2. Trent Hoscher, 3. Lamarn Ma’a; 4. Ryan Aniseko, 5. James Riddell; 6. Sapu Hehea, 7. Andrew Cox, 8. Maile Latekefu; 9. Lua Vailoaloa, 10. Ioane Sefo; 11. Mohd Roche, 12. Toese Lealemanua, 13. Damien Fakafanua, 14. Iese Leoto; 15. Tyler Stevens.
West Harbour: 1.Todd Pearce, 2. Reg de Jager, 3. Vaughan Lomax; 4. Tom Hikila, 5. Damian Lloyd; 6. Tom Games, 7. Daniel Midghall, 8. Isaiah Pine; 9. Jeremy Su’a, 10. Shaun Treweek; 11. Macquire Tatola, 12. Nua Alone, 13. Henry Seavula, 14. Tito Mua; 15. Liam Windon.
Warringah v. Penrith @ Pittwater Rugby Park, 3:00pm Saturday
An even contest, this one. The Rats put on a decent showing last week to lose 27–38 to West Harbour while the Emus hosted Manly and went down 21–30. As long as the Rats don’t underestimate their visitors they should win this game.
Warringah: 1. Richard Southan, 2. Luke Holmes, 3. Salesi Manu; 4. Tristan Stanley, 5. Nicholas Hughes-Clapp; 6. Sam Ward, 7. Haydn Black, 8. Jason Peseta; 9. Josh Holmes (c), 10. Maurice Kennedy; 11. Michael Dalton, 12. Joe Walsh, 13. Dylan Smouha, 14. Francesco Fronzoni; 15. Brock McGarity.
Penrith: 1. Peter Niumata, 2. Elvis Levi, 3. Richard Aho; 4. Kornelio Burgess, 5. Dale Shane; 6. Tavalea Takai, 7. Rob Carlson, 8. Viliami Napia’a; 9. Sikuti Vunipola, 10. Tawhiri Walsh; 11. Tala Mapesone, 12. Henry Lilomaiava, 13. Lachlan Porteous, 14. Fokolulu Taumalolo; 15. Ateloa Okati.
Manly v. Northern Suburbs @ Manly Oval, 3:00pm Saturday
The Marlins have this one in the bag, I feel — they like putting a vulnerable opponent to the sword. The Shoremen folded up last week after a good start against Randwick and though they have some pretty good assets (including newly signed Brumby Cam Crawford at the back), they lack the self-belief to fight on in a game that’s getting away from them.
Manly: 1. Duane Aholelei, 2. Elvis Taione, 3. Eddie Aholelei; 4. Greg Peterson, 5. Cadeyrn Neville; 6. Ed Gower, 7. Kotoni Ale, 8. Neil Meyer; 9. Chris Cottee, 10. Ben Seymour; 11. JP du Plessis, 12. Jacob Woodhouse, 13. Lui Suale, 14. Chris Yarrington; 15. BJ Hartmann.
Northern Suburbs: 1. Lawrence Hunting, 2. Scott Podmore, 3. Nick Lah; 4. Seti Tafua, 5. Ben Matwijow; 6. Paulie Tuala, 7. Wil Brame, 8. AJ Gilbert; 9. Steve Evans, 10. Ben Murray; 11. Chris Moore, 12. Henari Veratau, 13. Bill Meakes, 14. Samu Wara; 15. Cam Crawford.
Randwick v. Southern Districts @ Coogee Oval, 3:00pm Saturday
Yet another clash of well-matched teams: the Galloping Greens are sixth on the table and the Rebels seventh, and both are in the kind of up-and-down form that leads to unusual results (that’s my excuse for tipping both teams wrongly last week). The Wicks looked good in getting on top of Norths and should prevail at home.
Randwick: 1. Marakai Toa, 2. Atonio Halangahu (c), 18. Justin Terry; 4. Tim Maxwell, 5. Geoffrey Ingram; 6. David Parsons; 7. Tim McGann, 8. Al McFarland; 9. Sam Bartlett, 10. Toby Browne; 11. Clinton Sills, 12. Bevu Tuqiri, 13. Tim Wright, 14. Atieli Pakalani; 15. Shaun Foley.
Southern Districts: 1. Marcus Heather, 2. Nick Seymour, 3. Duncan Chubb; 4. Mick Kauter, 5. Luke Smart; 6. Sean Doyle, 7. Sam Latunipulu, 8. Lopeti Timani; 9. Chris Cusiter, 10. Ben Volavola; 11. Denan Kemp, 12. Apo Latunipulu, 13. Brackin Karauria-Henry, 14. Ben Connolly; 15. Rohan Saifoloi.
Gordon v. Sydney University @ Chatswood Oval, 3:00pm Sunday
The fifth-placed Students challenge for the Highlanders’ fourth spot in this match. I don’t think they’ll get there; Gordon definitely look like the fourth-best team in the comp this year while Uni have struggled in matches against lesser teams. I predict an even battle in the forwards; it won’t be pretty but it will be fun.
Gordon: 1.Lawrence Marsh, 2. Tobius Gukibau (c), 3. Travis Church; 4. Ben Paurini, 5. Mark Johnson; 6. Lex Fairley, 7. Mitch Greenway, 8. Jonno Broome; 9. Terry Preston, 10. Dave Harvey; 11. Eric Maroni, 12. Tom Mathews, 13. Barry Mansfield, 14. Matt McDougall; 15. Dion Berryman.
Sydney University: 1. Aldy King, 2. Ben Roberts, 3. Paddy Ryan; 4. Tom Heslop, 5. Sam Carter; 6. Trent Dyer, 7. David Hickey, 8. Jack de Guingand; 9. Matt Schwager (c), 10. Dan Kelly; 11. Alex Rokobaro, 12. James McMahon, 13. Michael Hodge, 14. Tom English; 15. David Dillon.
ACT and Southern NSW Premier Division: Round 7
Gungahlin v. Wests @ Nicholls Oval, 3:05pm Saturday
Back from a successful cross-border raid on the Whites last weekend, the Eagles host the bye-freshened Lions. I think they’ll have the edge but it will be a mighty contest all around the park: packs, halves and backlines.
Gungahlin: 1. Derek Leefe, 2. Pato Noriega, 3. Tim Metcher, 4. Scott Davidson, 5. Michael Lunde, 6. Xavier Duffy, 7. Rocky Ildiahia, 8. Tim Donnellan, 9. Sean Connachie, 10. Anthony Dawes, 11. Andrew Barrell, 12. Tevita Halaifonua 13. Mitch Connelly, 14. James Lovell, 15. Matthew Hawke.
Wests: 1. Ben Coutts, 2. Matt Pankhurst , 3. Nick Dobson, 4. Matt Fisher, 5. Matt Ryan, 6. Aaron McInnes (c), 7. Pat Lowe, 8. Fergus Piekalns, 9. Peter Raines, 10. Simon Uphill, 11. Tom Reudiger, 12. Gus McKerchar, 13. Pama Fou, 14. Drew Southwell, 15. Dylan Taikato-Simpson.
Queanbeyan v. Tuggeranong @ Campese Field, 3:05pm Saturday
They played off for the John I Dent Cup at the end of season 2010, but the Whites and the Vikings have been a little behind the pace in 2011. The outcome of this match will leave one team all the better prepared to challenge for a place near the top of the table. The Vikings are on a bit of a roll and their momentum should overcome the Whites’ home-ground advantage.
Queanbeyan: 1. Chris Barbaro, 2. Nik Murray, 3. Leslie Makin, 4. Matthew Hirst, 5. Daniel Smith, 6. Tim McNamara, 7. Daniel Penca, 8. Jeremy Dowling, 9. James Maher, 10. Sam French, 11. Viliami Iongi, 12. Josh Goodall, 13. Nathan Smith, 14. Lachlan Freeth, 15. Jacob Kara
Tuggeranong: 1. Matt Quilty, 2. Hugh Roach, 3. Nathaniel Iona, 4. Tim Cree, 5. Tom Murday, 6. Richard Joyes, 7, Josh Hitchens, 8. James Turner, 9. Beau Mokotupu, 10. Shaun McCarthy, 11. JP Mynhardt, 12. Reinhold Kamillo, 13. Rodney Iona, 14. James Tupai, 15. Brendon Taueki.
Royals v. Easts @ Phillip Oval, 3:05pm Saturday
Who will claim their first win of the season? The Royal Blues took the fight to Uni-Norths last weekend and if they carry on with the same determination they should dust the Tricolours, who have made some changes in key positions.
Royals: 1. Eugene Mulipola, 2. Sam Taiseni, 3. Paula Latu, 4. Kyron Pita, 5. Kieran Grealish, 6. Sokai Tai, 7. Joe Kolo, 8. Tyson Tamihere, 9. David Peake, 10. Craig McMahon, 11. Matt Rollings, 12. AJ Abel, 13. Jack Sutton, 14. Jason Swain, 15. Ben Johnson.
Easts: 1. Mitch Lewis, 2. Reza Miralmasi, 3. Alain Miriallakis, 4. Joe Shirley 5. Byron O’Dell, 6. Sam Shirley, 7. Timi Tipara, 8. Jonno Naoupu, 9. Robbie Lavery, 10. John Stephenson, 11. Jeremy Sefu, 12. Ed Dillon, 13. Jerome Harimate, 14. Steve Castle, 15. Cam Wyper.