The Shute Shield's run home - Green and Gold Rugby
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The Shute Shield’s run home

The Shute Shield’s run home

Even though it wasn’t the tv game, Gordon hosting Uni was the match of the round, no doubt. Uni were trounced at home by a resurgent Randwick last week, and Gordon were also smarting after losing the ‘Battle of The North’ at Chatswood. Both looking for a reset with three rounds to go, Gordon started their Round 11 match under huge pressure off the kickoff at the first scrum, knocking it on, and after reset after reset, and penalty after penalty — finally the penalty try and the yellow card came.

Soon after, another score from the Uni hooker to make it a crowd-silencing score of 12-nil. Gordon made their way upfield, and earned a penalty. It looked like three points might not have been enough given the start from Uni, but points was the option given it was a freebie from right in front. Late in the half, Gordon was revived off an uncharacteristic Uni error in their own 22, as a result of what we in the trade call ‘shoveling shit’. Shoveling shit, is making a pass, that when under pressure, simply puts the recipient in an even worse position than you were, often even further behind the gain line. Joey Walton it was with the meat pie, to make it 19-10. Thus it would remain at halftime.

Sydney University's Stuart Dunbar takes the conversion. v Gordon, Chatswood Oval

The second half is certainly where the game roared into life and Gordon well outscored Uni, 24 to five, with three tries and a penalty. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for Gordon all the action was up the other end in Gordon’s clubhouse corner. Jack Dempsey set up one and scored another himself, but Uni struck back after pounding the Gordon tryline with a score in the corner by Henry Clunies-Ross. That put them within reach, and to trail only by seven, 24-31 — a crucial missed conversion. With 15 to go, Rodney Iona stepped up to put Gordon out by more than a score with a clutch kick from 50 out 15 in from touch. It proved the difference, with Uni again in possession and going through the phases, but unable to dent the green wall. The knock-on came with less than 5 on the clock, the scrum came and went, and with some canny treasuring of the pill the game was done. Gordon winners 34 to 24, and kept their top spot on the table, theirs since Round 7.

Henry Clunies-Ross scores in the corner. Sydney University v Gordon, Chatswood Oval

The race for the minor premiership, and the title itself is truly heating up, with lots of movement at the top of the table, and teams at the top beating, even smashing each other. Randwick, having been undefeated and three points clear at the top of the table after six rounds, came off the boil big time. Given all their wins were against teams now finding themselves in the bottom six, it seemed to be a mirage, even if it was a mirage with a huge points difference of 201. A close loss to Eastwood was followed up by two wallopings from Gordon and then Norths, but then the Wicks showed what they’re made of, turning up to smash Uni, at Uni last weekend 24-42. The oasis was back in sight and so was the title. Last winning the Shute Shield in 2004, this win, for their fans with long memories at least would’ve been something to savour given they were runners-up to Uni from 2008 to 2010.

Gordon v Sydney University, Chatswood Oval in the brilliant sunshine

Norths on the other hand were 3 & 3 and sixth on the ladder after six rounds, but are on a rampaging run home, second on the table after winning their last five. And of those five wins, three of them have come against teams in the top four! Could this be another title win, like 2016 and only their second since 1964?

Another story of the second half of the comp has been Uni’s form since their Round 7 bye, shipping 29 points at home to West Harbour, losing to Easts and now Gordon. Not that a round four loss to Southern Districts at home augured well. But losing last week in a thumping 24 to 42 would’ve been just embarrassing, They certainly looked fired up this week, but it was enough to be able to break down Gordon enough to bring back the good ol’ days of student dominance.

Gordon's Mahe Vailanu throws into the lineout v Sydney University at Chatswood Oval

And so we have just two rounds ahead of us until finals time. For the race for the last finals spot, and top spot on the table, it looks to come down to this weekend’s game between Uni and Norths. Warringah looks to be out of the running, six points adrift of Uni. Souths, just three points behind, have games against Manly and West Harbour will need to hope for a Norths triumph, and for wins themselves. Given Uni play the Western Sydney Two Blues in the last round, it may come down to a losing bonus point against Norths. Then again, if it comes down to a tiebreaker, Souths’ much inferior points difference won’t be of use. However before you look for points difference, their win against Uni would put them through on head-to-head.

At the pointy end of the table, it looks Gordon’s for the taking with Penrith away this weekend and Eastwood away the next. Let’s take the assumption that Gordon does get a bonus point win v Penrith. Gordon has a one point ladder advantage as well as an insurmountable points difference, so for Norths to claim top spot they would essentially need to win both games and hope for Gordon to lose to Eastwood. Should Norths lose one, Gordon would need to lose to Eastwood and not get a bonus point, all the while Norths would need to salvage two bonus points.

Unfortunately it looks like no tickets will be available for the match, with their facebook page on monday morning stating: “Due to high demand from SUFC members and in line with COVID-19 restrictions, at this stage there are no GA tickets available. Keep and eye on our website for updates.”. At least this weekend Channel 7 have gotten it right and it is indeed the tv game this week!

Hopefully there will be, but health concerns in this pandemic must win out, especially given Uni will not be playing at their usual ground of Oval No.1. Unfortunate however, as a number of the games in recent weeks have had good attendances and indeed the two last Gordon games sold out!

The three-week finals series will commence on the weekend of October the 17th, with the grand final looking set to be played at BankWest in Parramatta. The NRL grand final is on the week before at ANZ, and with Concord under redevelopment and North Sydney Oval unavailable due to cricket, BankWest should be it.

  • Alister Smith

    I have watched the match of the round most Saturday’s this week, and have been watching when visiting with my parents, both, 79, who are very late converts to rugby. Apart from the odd game of mine that they watched 15-20 years ago, they have never shown much interest. However, they have really enjoyed the Shute Shield, have developed teams that they like (Gordon because of the tartan on the jersey….), although they will occasionally ask me which team they are supposed to be hating. it is a real contrast with the Rugby League on Sunday afternoon, which they don’t seem particularly invested in (though they will watch it). Interestingly, they seem to enjoy the pure form of the game, not at the highest standard available, just for the game itself. So, while I have previously doubted that the Shute Shield and Brisbane Hospitals Cup could fill the gap of the next tier if we were to lose Super Rugby, perhaps I have underestimated its value, if people are exposed to it, then maybe they will enjoy it enough to raise it to the next level.

    • Ads

      Hi Alister – thanks for that. A cool story!

      I too quite enjoy it, but realise I am from the same areas as the teams so have that history there. Most games are interesting, and for me (and this is the key reason I like it) it is played IMO in the spirit the game was intended. Not many professional fouls, time wasting, endless scrum resets, etc. Just good old fashioned fun.

      • Alister Smith

        Yes, I have previously commented before that I didn’t think it would catch on as people from outside wouldn’t have an association with one or another team but my experience with my parents has me re-thinking it. I had to explain to them that we don’t automatically hate Manly and Warringah in this comp….we ended up deciding that we all hate Sydney Uni…it is good to have something to bond over.

        I played a bit in Brisbane so my association with clubs is more there but I also played in country NSW and I had a genuine ambition to play for country (which I never accomplished) so I liked to follow them in the NRC.

        But I think you are right about the spirit that it is played in. I have joined in with all those who come up with the grand plans for different iterations of the professional game here, whether it be Super Rugby AU or GRR or Trans Tasman or NRC. But, to tell the honest truth, as long as they still play rugby in the park and the country and I can go down and watch a local team then I will probably be happy enough – basically through until the mid 90s that is all it was plus the internationals. If that were the case we would probably end up somewhere just above Uruguay and Namibia at World Cup time but, certainly on one level, this is what it is all about.

        Certainly what it does do is inspire me to go and watch the teams in my local comp play….and watching Super Rugby doesn’t necessarily do that.

  • Thomas English

    Cheers for the article Shaun x

    Phil Parsons was on record a week or so ago saying the GF would be at Leichhardt, so I imagine that would still be the case. Also, the reason Gordon-Uni wasn’t on TV is the stand where the cameras are placed was knocked down recently, making it impossible to broadcast, so they went along to the next best game.

  • Huw Tindall

    It’s a ball tearer of a season and with the Cluth TV app you can watch pretty much all of including highlights and replays! Encourage anyone with an interest in Shute to check out the app. They also do a couple of mid week panel shows which are well worth a watch.

  • Paula Carson

    Google is paying $98 every hour….. this Friday I finally got my Mercedes-Benz after I earned $18690 in last few working days…(9h7)… It seems unbelievable but you won’t forgive yourself if you do not check it


  • Nutta

    I have to back Huw’s words about CluchTV. Their coverage of the Sydney Subbies this year was down-to-earth genius. Often their lads even got informed input from guys on the reserves benches so the comments about players were topical, relevant and had the touchstone of authenticity to it. Great stuff and directly good for grass-roots and community-building stuff. This sort of local-content is vital to the long-term rebuilding of our game on a bedrock of community support after the neo-liberalist banker-bullshit of ‘top-down’ was proven to be so self-serving for those pushing that barrow. Long may it continue.

    • RedSheep1989

      couldn’t agree more. does anyone know who they are/how the business model works? seemed like it was free to sign up, just an ad here and there… I’m guessing there’s some arrangements with the clubs or the associations/unions.

      more power to them!

  • Reds Revival

    Gentlemen, forgive me as I am going to have a “mini rant” under the cloak of “it’s my opinion, and I know not everyone is going to agree with me”.
    Greater Australia (i.e. those living outside of Sydney), have had to abandon the NRC to promote the Shute Shield, because NSWRU and the warring factions within SRU couldn’t get their head around how to make the most of it. Every other state got on board with it, and even the basket case that is QRU were able to identify that it was a great vehicle for player development, as we are starting to see in this year’s Reds.
    So we are now condemned with a much greater dispersement of talent across many more teams. As someone from FNQ, I couldn’t really care less about Sydney or Brisbane teams, as I have no buy in. Qld Country were my team, but coming from a regional city in Australia, I am used to the widely held belief that the civilised world ends at the outer limits of the capital cities. I mean, it’s not as though there have been any Wallabies from the Country…
    I have been told that there wasn’t enough tribalism around the NRC teams (after only a few years), but there was huge support for club teams. However, on a forum full of avid rugby supporters, an article about the excitement of the last few rounds of Shute Shield can only garner six comments (and one rant). Excuse me if I don’t feel the excitement of a national club competition (pushed by self interested parties in Sydney). Rant over.

    • RedSheep1989

      absolutely! I really despair at the (potential?) loss of the NRC, it really seemed to be adding value as a way not just for top sydney/brisbane club players, but especially for players from everywhere else to continue their rugby education. hopefully it’s only the pandemic that’s put it to bed…

      • Reds Revival

        I certainly hope that is the case RedSheep, but I wouldn’t think that they would be able to run both the National Club Competition (which has been agreed by RA as the model going forward), as well as the NRC.
        I think that they get so much more player development from the NRC, as it is a concentration of talent. Club players get to play against sides with Super Rugby, and sometimes even ex Wallabies.

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A long-suffering rugby obsessive, previously famous to my mates for being obsessed enough to be able to name, on demand, a Lions match-day squad. and that was back when they were verifiably bin juice

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