The 7 to 8 segue
The results from Round 7 of the GPS were largely in line with expectations, although the margins in two matches where greater than many had predicted.
The match of the round
Scots won 34-29 in a Bellevue Hill cliffhanger that Sly Stallone would have been proud of. According to Crackerjack, the winning try with extras was scored with only two sphincter puckering minutes remaining.
As Azzuri predicted, the ‘Wyvern’s Spawn’ from Stanmore did sharpen their talons and file their fangs. By curtains, they had well and truly de-throned the ‘Kings’ with a resounding 55-10 victory. Meanwhile, over at Lane Cove, bragging rights for best tuck-shop pies didn’t help the Northbridge boys to shore up their meat supplies, going down 45-7 to a slick display from Riverview.
After dusting off the crystal again this week, Gary Owen III, Crackerjack and Azzuri share their balls-and-all thoughts for this week’s match-ups.
Scots vs Shore
by Gary Owen III
For the second time this season, the Shore Army ventures across the harbour to Bellevue Hill. The previous encounter in the land of Latté’s and Botox was the only bright spot of their season – a small victory in a trial battle against the CAS tribe who reside in the foothills. The Highlanders, on the other hand, had a fairly comfortable victory at Northbridge in round 1, with Strang dominating proceedings.
When the bagpipes start blowing at 3.15pm, the Scots army will be released and whilst their faithful will be watching intently, all eyes and ears will be focused on the Hunters Hill action – hoping for a Joeys upset.
As Scots still have a sniff of a joint premiership, expect them to leave nothing up their kilts as they try to continue their streak (pun intended). Scots seem fairly unhindered in the injury stakes, whilst the Shore team’s woes in the casualty department are well documented.
Scots have a number of weapons in their arsenal spread right across the park. Look for McCauley to dominate the airspace, Girdler to rule over the trenches and Smith to be doing his inimitable SCUD missile impersonation. Also expect General Strang to marshal the troops and unleash the Fast Attack Vehicles (FAV) of Hawkins, Prindiville and England (a funny name for a Scot).
Shore will recall the 80+ score line of a few years back. But they will be just as aware of the feats of an unheralded team that was denied an upset victory in the final play at Bellevue Hill the following year.
Captain Bragg and Hedge will need to be inspirational up front, whilst the backs will be looking for Sinclair and Patrick to create sparks in the centre, both in attack and defence.
Prediction: Scots deserve to be favourites. But this is schoolboy rugby, so who knows really.
Joeys vs Newington
New rolled on last week, right over the top of a gallant but errant Kings. But they won’t have it all their own way this week in the return bout for two of this season’s heavyweights to be played out in Hunters Hill.
Joeys will be hurting from letting go a 19 point 1st half lead last week against Scots, together with any realistic shot at this year’s premiership. They will again take the field this week without a few of their stars – a problem they didn’t have just a few weeks ago when they narrowly went down to the Wyverns in their Round 1 encounter at Stanmore.
While potentially the match of the round, passion and pride won’t be enough to carry the day for the Joe Boys. Rather, the big Newington pack should rumble over the top of the cerise and blue front line to set the platform for Messrs Kuenzle, Murray and Kennewell to create havoc in the ¾’s.
Prediction: Much to the Scots boys’ collective disappointment, New should win this one comfortably in the end by a 15 to 20 point margin.
Kings v Riverview
A recent Kings visit provided the opportunity to wander down the hill to the magnificent JS White Oval surrounded by its quaint white picket fence, all bathed in winter sunshine.
It was a sight to behold and I found myself transfixed at the serenity and simple beauty of the scene that sprawled out in front of me. I thought to myself this surely must be what the grounds look like when you strap on the metal studded high tops for the last time and wing your way through the pearly gates to greet St Peter in his sky blue and white jersey.
Unfortunately, this heavenly daydream was interrupted by the searing recent and recurring memory of the half ton trampling the Parramatta Potentates endured at the hooves of a rampaging herd of Stanmore Shorthorns last weekend.
In contrast, the Round 7 can of ‘Whoop Ass’ that the pot carrying wolf pack from Lane Cove opened up on the hapless and injury depleted Shoremen will have them basking in fond recent memories, reassuring themselves that this weekend’s duel should see them bank another two brownie points on the competition ladder.
While the ‘Iguanas’ are the rightful short priced favourites to take the Iced Vovos, this weekend the Kingsmen could prove more than a handful on their home turf spurred on by wounded pride and with a generous sniff of an opportunity to equal View on the points table.
The round three match-up between these two resulted in a 36-26 win to View. It was a willing affair full of solid handbag and kitchen sink action along with a seesawing score line which kept the crowd engaged and on the edge of their seats. This Saturday should be no different.
Kings will need to contain the big View locks who can be damaging when running out wide and linking up with the Follicle Fiddlers in their back line. McGregor is always a danger, so expect him to be heavily shadowed. Kings will need to attack the breakdowns with vigour and aim to cut off his supply of clean ball. While this is a ‘15 a side‘ game, I expect this to be a battle of carnivores rather than a dance off.
So with the season lurching closer to its inevitable conclusion, I can hear the unmistakable strains of Enrico Morricones’ theme from the Good the Bad and the Ugly and Tuco’s distinctive, gruff Mexican bandido drawl as he says to Corporal Wallace: “I like big fat men like you. When they fall they make more noise. And sometimes they don’t get up”.
Players to watch:
Kings: Dylan Pietsch , Nick Brown, Harry Chapman and Rhys Millar
View: McGregor, Noonan and both locks.
Prediction: Kings to come from behind with a penalty goal on the bell.