Eastwood get the wood over Sydney Uni to win Shute Shield - Green and Gold Rugby
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Eastwood get the wood over Sydney Uni to win Shute Shield

Eastwood get the wood over Sydney Uni to win Shute Shield

Eastwood have snapped Sydney University’s dominance of the Shute Shield with a dramatic 19-16 extra time win at Concord Oval.

Uni opened the scoring after 3 minutes through a Daniel Halangahu penalty, but he’d be doing well to remember it after being knocked out attempting to tackle Eastwood flyhalf Pierre Hola shortly after.

Eastwood had the better of early exchanges but had little to show for it until they received a penalty after Uni collapsed the scrum. Hola evened the scores at 3-3 with a pen after 8 minutes.

The conditions weren’t great for running rugby with the ball difficult to handle, so both teams took it through the forwards where  Uni were receiving penalties after putting Eastwood under pressure. Eastwood were able to keep Uni out and at times even enjoyed the better of the play.

Uni showed their defensive hand early by committing as few players as possible to the breakdown which allowed them to keep Eastwood’s potent attack at bay.

Uni declined a shot at penalty goal and instead went for the line. This resulted in more pressure from the Uni forwards and allowed fullback Bernard Foley, who took the kicking duties from a dazed Halangahu, to extend their lead to 6-3 after another penalty.

Soon after, Eastwood scored the opening try of the match after Hola executed a brilliant chip kick with the outside of his left foot and John Grant swooped to score his 21st try of the season. Hola’s conversion saw Eastwood out to a 10-6 lead.

The forward battle continued and Uni started to get the upper hand, but had little to show for it except racking up the penalty stats from referee Ian Smith. Foley added another penalty to have his side trailing by 1 point with 10 minutes
remaining in the first half.

In the shadows of half time, Eastwood capitalised on a tight head at the scrum and after multiple phases in the Uni 22m area, were awarded another penalty and Hola’s successful kick put his side up 13-9.

After the half time siren another penalty attempt from ‘Woods halfback Nic White wowed the crowd as he loaded up from his own side of halfway, a la Francois Steyn, had the distance but his shot went wide of the posts.

Eastwood opened the 2nd half with a sequence of 21 phases but this good work was undone by a knock on by Hola but indicated their mindset for the remainder of the game, but the slow ball Eastwood had throughout the match was playing into the hands of Uni who absorbed the pressure.

Uni were lucky not to concede again after a knock on by Bernard Foley on their own 22m line, but some great defence from Uni saw this opportunity come to nothing.

They then responded with a try of their own after some quick interchange play amongst their forwards saw halfback Matt Schwager escape the clutches of would be tacklers and dive over. With Foley’s conversion Uni were back in front 16-13.

During the half referee Ian Smith was starting to tire of infringements at the ruck and gave another penalty to Eastwood, with substitute Phil Waugh, in his final match for Uni the recipient. Hola couldn’t take advantage as his kick into a strengthening southerly wind was unsuccessful.

As the half wore on, neither side could gain the upper hand as turnovers and midfield kicking were the order of the day. Eastwood were lucky to avoid conceding more points after a well weighted kick stopped just short of the try line and Eastwood survived the scare with some scrambling defence.

Eastwood were unlucky not to score again after a cross field kick was regathered by Grant who managed to offload to Lachie Turner, who had been fairly quiet throughout the game. Uni hung on there, but Eastwood received another penalty in the Uni 22 and with 3 minutes remaining, Hola leveled the game at 16-16 and sent the game into extra time.

The first period of extra time was action packed to say the least. Phil Waugh, who was playing in his final match, was penalised for taking a man out in the air, and from the resulting kick to touch Uni knocked on only 10 metres out from their own line. But their good defence once again kept Eastwood out.

Eastwood fullback Ben Batger was later denied after toeing a loose ball through that was saved by Tom Carter. But they couldn’t keep the scores level as Eastwood took a 19-16 lead after Hola added another penalty goal just before the end of of the first period of extra time.

The second period of extra time was no different in intensity. Uni were unlucky to drop the ball up field and was it recovered by Lachie Turner who passed onto James Stannard and his kick ahead stopped just short of the line and Tom Kingston dived on the ball to save Uni from going further behind at a crucial time of the match.

From the resulting 5 metre scrum, Uni were able to weather the pressure and were breathing a sigh of relief after Eastwood failed to execute on this occasion.

As the game progressed, the ball turned into a bar of soap as knock ons and turnovers ruined any chance of a comeback from Uni who were in it right up til the end as a scrum on half way unfortunately came to nothing and sent the fans of Eastwood delirious as the final siren sounded.

Eastwood 19 – Grant try, Hola con, 4 pens def Sydney Uni 16 Schwager try, Foley con, 2 pens, Halangahu pen

  • topo

    As many on this site know, I am a massive Uni tragic. But well done Eastwood. A great season playing very good rugby consistently and a massive win in the grand final against a tough opponent.

  • Edge

    Money and power can’t buy everything this time…congrats Eastwood, you had 10 other clubs riding you home.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen

    I tuned into watch the finals and was shocked that my team (Gordon) were not there. :(

    Okay only joking ……..kind of.

    On the finals – While I’m not a fan of either team, it was a very good standard of footy and if Gordon were good enough or Northern Districts or The 2 Blues……..they would have been there.

    Nice to see Eastwood take Uni on in the forwards.
    Well done Eastwood on the win.
    Did Uni miss Berrick that badly?

    The ABC camera work and commentators were their usual high standard and there were two lovely looking ABC ladies on there that should pull the viewers. Hot!!!!

    There seemed a pretty decent crowd at Concord. Trouble was from a viewers perspective, most were seated on the same side as the camera. This gave the impression of an empty stadium.

    Nice bit of trivia given that on the same day in ’87 France pulled off that amazing win against the Wallabies.

    So where to from here? Does Eastwood take on the winner of the Brisbane comp?

    • MJT

      There was a pretty decent crowd there, the clear majority supporting the mighty Woods, although I was surprised that the turnout was somewhat less than that at the Newcastle rugby grand finals last weekend (which was on a much nicer day).

  • Mart

    Blink Bill “So where to from here? Does Eastwood take on the winner of the Brisbane comp?” good call.

    Why no mention of the Sydney Subbies finals.
    I thought a 5grade domination by Colleagues would’ve got a mention?

    • Monty

      Go the Blue Giants! 5 from 5! That was a cracking day.

      • Mart

        What a day. gutted i wasn’t a part of it.
        And what a record ‘Whiddows’ have now

  • Bay35Pablo

    I didn’t realise Foley played for Uni. So Uni have Barnes, the Tahs 5/8, his back up Halangahu, and his back up Foley.

    And Uni wonder why everyone else resents/hates them?

  • Matt NT

    Go the Woodies.

    Not bad for a club that can’t come close to competeing with the UNI slush funds and old boys network.

    • Jez

      I find it highly ironic that while uni gets criticised for their “old boys network” – that is – the fact that they have actively engaged their former players to assist in gaining sponsorships, no mention is made of the fact that Eastwood is supported by the pokie den that is North Ryde RSL.

      Eastwood were the best team all year and deserving winners on the day – no need to denigrate this post, nor their achievement with this mindless, repetitive Sydney Uni bashing

      • Homer j

        I am not a fan of one club having access late in the season to a new team of rep players, but well done to Uni for creating a culture and club that can attract them. Randwick used to do it and other clubs will have their time. Eastwood can’t complain either: Dunning, Fitzpatrick, Longbottom, Mcaffrey, Turner, White etc etc are all professional footballers as well.

        I actually saw Fitzpatrick playing park touch footy this morning with a large mix of kids, old fellas, rugby players and obese ex-wallabies who wear scarves on their heads and write opinion pieces in the newspaper and who also have zero ball skills but were willing to let his team know what he thought of their abilities on the field. Good on you Damien for getting amongst it and obviously the victory hangover is gone (massive unit just quietly).

  • Fizza

    No body has mention or for that matter remembers that Randwick were in the Grand Final 16 years in a row. Uni was on its 7th last weekend, give me a break.

    • Scotty in Devon

      I remember it. I just shocked the Wicks were not there this year! Oh well.

      I must look up my old college, Hawkesbury, and see how they went this year.

  • Evcricket

    I thought it was a terrific game of footy. Eastwood probably deserved the win for having such a solid season, but Uni were good on the day.

    I stand by my claim that Shute Shield is some of the best footy going around. Eastwood spent the season playing the game the way I want to see it played. Long live the Shute!

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@steve_l15

Canberra born and bred Rugby fan brought up on Canberra Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies Rugby.

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