In an exclusive collaboration with the Waratahs, we bring you Waratah’s coach Daryl Gibson’s analysis of this weekend’s Shute Shield final between Sydney University and Eastwood.
From the outset this will be an interesting match, if nothing else then from the fact that Sydney University have a range of contracted professionals versus Eastwood with a majority of un-contracted club “amateurs” (although nevertheless skillful and experienced players). This in itself this will give Eastwood a lot of motivation – an important factor.
Examining Eastwood over the course of the season, they haven’t played much attacking rugby in their own half, instead looking for field position and then basing a lot of their scoring opportunities off discipline, defence, looking for turnovers and then using that turnover ball wisely by shifting it into space. It’s been a hallmark of their play this year.
Eastwood are very well coached and have clear identities around how they like to play the game, particularly on the counter-attack. The Batgers together are a real force in this department and I’m sure Sydney Uni will have looked closely at the brothers.
Sydney Uni on the other hand are a very structured team. You add to this the damaging counter-attack abilities of Tom Kingston – if you kick the ball to him, he’s very much likely to run. I’m sure Eastwood would have factored this into their tactical considerations.
I’ve also been impressed in the games I’ve watched with Nick Phipps and how fast he as at clearing the ball together with the strength of his pass. It gives Bernard Foley a lot of width while he plays very flat at the line. Eastwood will be keen to disrupt this combination and slow them at the breakdown. Uni love to play fast and up-tempo.
You’ve also got to look at some the great ball runners in Uni Pack – Tolu Latu and Paddy Ryan when he gets the ball in his hands is very good. Dave Dennis we know can also carry strongly and then off the bench you’ve got Will Skelton who can definitely have some real impact.
There are some really lovely match ups in this fixture as well. Benn Robinson versus Paddy Ryan in the battle for the scrum. Eastwood have had a very good scrum this year.
The battle between the two halves pairings will be critical. Jimmy Hilgendorf is very experienced together with Ben Batger. They’ve got that general organizational factor and control things very well. On the other side you’ve got Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley – who will hopefully feature strongly next year for the Waratahs and who love to put pace on the ball.
Looking at the Sydney Uni team it’s very strong from one to fifteen – with Super Rugby or sevens contracts throughout. How do Eastwood look down that side and find weaknesses? It’ll be interesting from a strategic point of view to see how they approach it. No doubt they would have watched the Manly game and see Manly play a lot of field position. Will they adopt the same strategy?
Going into the game Sydney have to be favourites given their history, but with Eastwood only losing two games all year they’ve certainly been playing well as a team and I’m sure they’ll be fancying their chances.
Shute Shield Grand Final – Saturday September 14 Eastwood v Sydney University @ Concord Oval, 3.10pm (ABC TV)
Eastwood: 1 Benn Robinson, 2 Todd Pearce, 3 Marty Plokstys, 4 Jared Barry, 5 Andrew Clyne, 6 Hugh Perrett (c), 7 Hugh Roach, 8 Locky McCaffrey, 9 James Stannard, 10 Jimmy Hilgendorf, 11 Nick Batger, 12 Michael McDougall, 13 Cam Mitchell, 14 Tom Hill, 15 Ben Batger
Sydney University: 1 Jeremy Tilse, 2 Tolu Latu, 3 Paddy Ryan, 4 Tom Boidin, 5 Liam Winton, 6 Dave Dennis, 7 David Hickey, 8 Tim Davidson (c), 9 Nick Phipps, 10 Bernard Foley, 11 Greg Jeloudev, 12 Tom Carter, 13 Tom English, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 15 Tom Kingston Referee: Angus Gardner
The 2013 Shute Shield Grand Final at Concord Oval will be shown live on ABCTV this Saturday (September 14) at 3.10pm. You can also go to www.youtube.com/shuteshield for highlights. Tickets are available to purchase on the gate or discounted if purchased in advance from Ticketek, priced at $2.50 for juniors, $17.50 for concessions, $22.50 for adults and $45 for a family of four.
Who will you be backing to to win the Shute Shield?