Preview written by William88
With the 2017 competition taking place between the three heavyweights of CAS rugby in Barker, Knox and Waverley. 2018 looks to provide more teams with the opportunity to take home the Henry Plume Shield.
The season is set up the same as 2017, with teams playing each other only once for competition points. A big test as anyone can win a game on their day in this competition and the team that wins, will ultimately need to win 5 grand finals.
While there has been a mixed bag of results across the field, CAS schools have managed to take down GPS powerhouses in Joey’s and Kings as well as perennial ISA favourites St Augustine’s College with some strong displays of skill and strength. A sign of the continued rise of CAS rugby and a sign there will likely be a few players in rep positions in the upcoming schoolboys tournament.
Some key questions remain:
How will Trinity travel after their promising pre season form? Can St Aloysius cause some upsets at home over the competition favourites of Waverley and Barker? Have Barker peaked too early and how will they cope post rep season? Will Waverley be the first team in almost 20 years (Knox 99, 00, 01) to win 3 premierships in a row?
Here are some previews of the six CAS teams by our writers, but the predictions about where they will finish on the ladder are mine.
Written by Scotsman18
After two fairly disappointing seasons Aloys have finally produced a team they believe has the chance to recapture the form of the 2015 Aloys team that came second in the competition. Key players from last year have returned to the lineup with a strong contingent of reserves to call on if they are needed. Through this they have created a strong forward pack that compliments their backline, which has a lot of X factor and should find themselves making other teams extremely wary of their counterattacking capabilities.
Preseason form has been fairly consistent with dominant wins over Grammar, Pius and Oakhill, edged out games against Joeys and St Pats and a shock loss to Cranbrook to end their pre season. The result of the last game would surely cause some concern amongst the Aloys supporters but hopefully a strong two weeks of training will see a vastly improved team.
Aloys have a lot of luck with the draw having Trinity, Waverley and Knox as their home games which should see them be very competitive as the Tyneside oval has been somewhat of a fortress of recent times. If they can win their home games against Trinity and Waverley they may find themselves in with a chance against Barker at Hornsby, but they’ll need to find consistency in attack as well as praying to avoid injuries to key players.
4th place: With a strong team looking the most promising for years, Aloys have the best draw for the CAS competiton. Their ability to rise for the big games will determine the final outcome for the boys in gold, but they still lack the ability to topple the top 3 teams in 2018.
Players to watch:
F Spalding (2)
Written by Rod Skellet
This season epitomises the natural swings and roundabouts of schoolboy rugby, with Barker’s 1st XV benefiting from a 3-year rebuilding program. The lean years of 2015/2016 may be well gone from the student’s perspective, but from where this writer sits they are still very fresh and serve as a reminder to all that schoolboy rugby is cyclical.
This season is Barkers to lose. With the likes of Dring, Flaherty, Reimer, Tejcek, Kitchener in their 3rd year of 1st XV rugby, and Galloway, Pollard, Nercessian, Cameron, Weymouth in their 2nd, the team has the experience and capability to sweep all CAS schools before them.
Coaches Hargreaves and Whittaker have done a brilliant job in keeping this team focused on executing their game plan and respecting their opponent. In addition they have been able to convert backrowers to front rowers and do so without losing the individuals natural flair around the park.
Barker plays an uncompromising but simple game. Strong, Brick wall defence and the value of possession. The opposition cannot score without the ball so don’t give it to them. With preseason games to date ranging from runaway wins against the likes of Shore and St Pats, to tight wins against GPS powerhouses of Kings and Joeys Barker enters the CAS competition in good shape. With only 2 home games this competition, Barkers season will go on the line playing Trinity at Summer Hill and Waverly at Queens Park.
2nd place: Barker have show strong pre season form, but their danger game is Waverley at Queens Park in round 4. They will likely have several players in rep teams and have played some of their best rugby already. They will need a lot of aggression and no injuries to ensure they can topple Waverley at a hostile Queens park.
Players to Watch:
Written by William88
In 2014, Cranbrook won the Henry Plume shield and hopes were high that Cranbrook was about to experience a purple patch, similar to the 1980’s and hopes remain high that they will continue to grow this year.
While pre season form has been convincing, the most impressive was there victory over a very strong St Aloysius team that fancy their chances at a CAS premiership this year.
In terms of playing group, Cranbrook will be without May until term 3, but the likes of O’Reilly in the pack and North out wide, add punch to a team that is building toward some potential upset victories. While they are building towards 2019, they have potential to cause an upset against Barker in round 1.
6th place: While they did have a pre season win against Aloys, Cranbrook will find it hard to claim another scalp in 2018. A building year for the boys in white towards a big 2019 lays ahead.
Players to watch:
Knox Grammar School
Written by Rod Skellet
Knox has had a big preseason with early wins over Stannies and Shore offset by some losses against Kings, Riverview and Joeys. With their CAS competition of Barker Waverley and Trinity all securing wins against at least one of the GPS heavy weights, 2018 is shaping up as a rebuilding year for the kilts.
The strength of the team is in the set piece and if they can play a game of stop start rugby, it will suit their style with a dominant scum and a strong rolling maul. The team has some particularly talented footballers, with Frear (1) the Captain likely to be leading by example in the set piece. The backs have some speed with both Rechner (12) and Glassie (13) in the centres and Leigh (11) and Cameron (15) being very capable from the back. The season opener is there first big test, playing last years undefeated champions Waverley at home. A good result here will do a lot for confidence, but a blowout will no doubt give Trinity and Aloys a sniff that Knox are beatable this year. A season defining opening game awaits for the Juggernaut of old.
5th place: While they are still building and are coached exceptionally well by Tai glassie, they will struggle to claim wins over the likes of Trinity, Aloys and Barker this year. This will be a rebuilding phase for a bigger and stronger Knox in 2018.
Players to Watch:
Trinity Grammar School
Written by aNON_87
At full strength and playing to the best of their potential, Trinity have a side that could beat anyone in this year’s competition. But a premiership would be considered an extraordinary achievement. With seven back from last year’s 1sts and some talented youngsters, Trinity will be very competitive, but they lack depth in some key positions and a few injuries could limit their prospects.
They turned in one of the best pre-seasons in years and showed good promise, although they were a little inconsistent. The high point – a 22 to 19 win over Joeys –their first against the GPS heavy-weights since 1987. The low point – a 58 to 7 loss to Newington, in their last outing.
Trinity have a strong pack of forwards with a potentially dominant scrum. When they get on a roll, they can be a real handful. The backs are skilful, with good pace and quality decision makers in key positions particularly there three big rep players in Chambers (9), Edmed (10) and Ilias (13)
Trinity will need to bounce back strongly from their tough lost to Newington when they take on Aloys in the opening round. A good win there will give them some much needed momentum and confidence for the epic round two home ground encounter with Barker – a match that will play a key role in determining the 2018 CAS champions.
3rd place: Their pre season form has been the most promising for years with a historic win against Joeys. But Barker are still riding on their early season momentum and Waverley are still building their own leading towards the back end of the season and it will be tough to beat either of those two this year.
Players to watch
Tom Lambert: 3
Tane Edmed: 10
Lachlan Ilias: 13
Written by WLF
After the last 2 successful years it does feel again that Waverley will be contenders in 2018 for the Henry Plume Shield. The forward pack is led by its back row of Moretti, Molloy and Murphy. However a number of less experienced players have started to emerge after a solid trial season against the powerful GPS and ISA teams. Whiteman adds some real glue to this pack and is ever present with a high work rate. Rice may also be the surprise packet and the front row is solid.
Early season wins over Shore(twice), Newington, and St. Augustines team looked promising, a narrow loss to View were part of the highlights of the pre season, but a tough game against Scots resulted in some early injuries to some key players who are now returning. There was a lot of experimentation for positions and many moves tested. It appears now that the back line is set with some young but very talented players.
The backline of Hutchinson-Walters (10), Volkman (12) and Milford (13) could well prove to be the decisive attacking trio that deliver victories off the back of a committed pack. Along with 2 very talented wingers in Baldwin (11) and Tomasiello (14) will ensure running rugby is alive and well.
This team is building week by week and will only get better as this season progresses.
It is guided by a very good coaching team, led by Scott Coleman, and should finish at the top end of the competition.
1st place: Waverley have been slow off the mark this year, but each week they have been building. As though they learnt the lessons from peaking too early in 2018 and have been focused on the round 4 CAS game from the beginning. Injuries play a key role, with the backrow trio being essential to the success for 2018.
Players to Watch: