Round 12 of the Intrust Super Shute Shield kicked off on Saturday June 24, and was a welcome return after a weeks break during the June series. There was spellbinding tries, emotional scenes, and even some upset victories. Here’s our review for the weekend rugby that was.
Northern Suburbs 26 – 38 Manly, NORTH SYDNEY OVAL, 24th June 2017
The broadcast match of the round on 7TWO more than lived up to the hype, as the two best attacking sides in the competition went head-to-head. Unsurprisingly, it led to a high scoring shoot out occurring at North Sydney Oval. The Shoreman put up plenty of fight and were in the game for most of the match, but in the end they couldn’t match it against the Marlins, who ran out twelve point winners.
The win gives Manly a mighty twelve point buffer at the top of the table. Keep up this form and they could wrap the race for the top a few rounds early. They will return home to the Peninsula next week to host Eastern Suburbs.
For Norths, this was a hard loss that has seen them drop a couple of places down the leader board. They played out of their skin, but in the end were undone by a team that is high on confidence. The Eastwood loss though has thrown the race for second wide open, so they’ll need to lick their wounds and come back stronger next Saturday against a hurting Sydney Uni side.
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 43 – 18 EASTWOOD, FORSHAW RUGBY PARK, 24th June 2017
Seriously, I’ve got to stop picking against the Rebels! They have started to play like men possessed over the last few weeks. Eastwood? In second place? They brushed them aside like there was nothing there! That’s not to say the Woodies didn’t have their moments, and they at least made a game of it, but it was simply not their day.
This upset was Souths third win on the trot, and has pushed them to within six points of Eastwood for second place. They may be in sixth, but they could be making their run at the perfect moment. Should they knock over Parramatta away from home next week, the teams ahead of them on the table should start getting concerned about the rugby they are playing.
It was an afternoon to forget for the Woodies. This match ended a four game winning streak, and a loss in form now could prove catastrophic in context to the rest of their season. They will have a tough assignment next week away from home against giant killers West Harbour.
PARRAMATTA 28 – 40 GORDON, MERRYLANDS RSL RUGBY PARK, 24th June 2017
Well, if there was ever any indication of the talent coming out of Gordon, it was this match. The Highlanders have been playing well over the last three weeks, and it is seen in their recent accumulation of scalps. They caught Parramatta off guard, and were deserved winners. The Two Blues have had a mixed bag over the last few rounds, but this one they probably didn’t see coming. Their defence especially wasn’t at it’s best. Regardless, this was an interesting fixture, as these two clubs have some of the most exciting talent in the competition.
Gordon’s win saw them overtake Eastern Suburbs on the ladder, and will hope to continue their strong recent form when they host Penrith next round. As for the Two Blues, it’s back to square one once again. They host a red hot Southern Districts side next week.
WARRINGAH 56 – 12 PENRITH, PITTWATER RUGBY PARK, 24th June 2017
This was an emotional day for all concerned. It was the first time the Rats had been back on the Park since the tragic death of Lachlan Ward, and many (including myself), were expecting a demolition of the cellar dwelling Emus. It certainly looked that way at halftime, but credit where credit was due, the boys from Penrith made a game of it, scoring a couple of really nice tries, and nearly outscoring the Rats in the second half.
In the end, the score didn’t really matter. The game was played in great spirit, and though they lost the game, the Penrith boys left Rat Park with the respect of the crowd. At games end, they came together in a prayer circle with the Rats, and sung the Polynesian hymn I Know The Lord, which, for those who were there, was an incredibly touching moment. Well played Penrith. It’s moments like these that show why we play the best game in the world.
Warringah will be playing away to Randwick next week, while the Emus will make the trip to Chatswood Oval to take on Gordon.
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY 31 – 40 WEST HARBOUR, SYDNEY UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL GROUND, 24th June 2017
Well, bugger me. Who saw this one coming? The Students have been playing really well at home, and had come off a thirty point win against Parramatta. The Pirates had come off a big loss to the Marlins. Add the Super Rugby experience returning for Uni, and even I predicted a safe win for the Students. Turns out the poor Super Rugby lads struggle to win even in club rugby, as Wests took advantage of a two point lead at halftime to take a valuable nine point win away from home.
It’s simple: Wests wanted it more. I sense the Students maybe were a little complacent with this one (which they shouldn’t have been considering their last loss was against Wests). The win keeps the Pirates slim finals hopes alive. They may sense an opportunity when they host Eastwood next week, while the Students will need to win to stay in the hunt for the finals when they head off to North Sydney Oval to face Northern Suburbs.
EASTERN SUBURBS 19 – 28 RANDWICK, MCKAY OVAL (CENTENNIAL PARK), 24th June 2017
The final match of the round was a good contest played out at McKay Oval. Eastern Suburbs were much more clinical this week, and scored one of the best long range tries of the season. But in the end, they couldn’t do enough to deny Randwick, who ran out nine point winners to take their fourth win in as many weeks.
There were plenty of positives for the Beasties, but right now it’s fair to say that confidence is down in their camp. They do have a team with loads of talent, but right now what they need is to find a way to close out games and get the job done when push comes to shove. For the Galloping Greens, it was business as usual, with the win moving them up to third. However, they won’t have an easy run next week when they host Warringah down at Coogee Oval – the broadcast fixture on 7TWO that could very well decide where the two teams finish on the table come seasons end.
The Intrust Super Shute Shield will be back on July 1st. Be sure to get along to your local club rugby games, and lets #makeclubrugbygreatagain
Round Thirteen Fixtures (1st July 2017)
Gordon vs. Penrith, Chatswood Oval
West Harbour vs. Eastwood, Concord Oval
Eastern Suburbs vs. Manly, McKay Oval (Centennial Park)
Parramatta vs. Southern Districts, Merrylands RSL Rugby Park
Northern Suburbs vs. Sydney University, North Sydney Oval
Randwick vs. Warringah, Coogee Oval (Live on 7TWO)
Featured Image Credit – J.B. Photography