The 7 Two television game is Eastern Suburbs v West Harbour. It can also be viewed online through 7 Plus at https://7plus.com.au/shute-shield. Replays of every game are also available through Clutch TV’s Facebook page.
Eastern Suburbs v West Harbour at Woollahra Oval
Easts were disappointed with their lack of discipline in their round 1 loss to Gordon. The Beasties struggled to get in to the game and as a consequence, were down 17-0 mid way through the first half. They did fight back but went on to lose 35-24. West Harbour’s round 1 performance was promising, despite the 3-32 score line suggesting otherwise. In a clear shift in playing style, the Pirates’ forwards controlled the ball well early but strong defence from Norths kept the Pirates scoring to a lone penalty goal. A red card to West Harbour backrower Francis Iremia proved the turning point and Norths took full advantage.
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This is shaping up to be a great contest, with both teams coming off a loss in round 1 but still expected to challenge for the finals. I think that the home ground advantage might just tip things in the Beasties’ favour.
Prediction: Eastern Suburbs by 12
Hunter Wildfires v Eastwood at Newcastle Sports Ground No. 2
The Wildfires had a tough initiation to the Shute Shield, going down to Randwick by 43 pints at Coogee. Despite the imposing score line, the Wildfires deserve credit for holding the home side to 7-all in the last 15 minutes rather than letting the score blow out even further. Eastwood had a surprise first up loss to Southern Districts. The Woodies were down by 2 points at halftime, despite conceding two yellow cards, before a dominant second half display from the Rebels saw them run out convincing winners.
The Hunter Wildfires will relish the chance to host their first Shute Shield game but I expect Eastwood to produce a much-improved performance this week.
Prediction: Eastwood by 25
Gordon v Western Sydney Two Blues at Chatswood Oval
Gordon started their 2020 campaign with an impressive 11-point win over Eastern Suburbs at Chatswood. The Highlanders scored the first 17 points of the match and Easts never really looked like winning, despite a second half yellow card to Gordon replacement, John Tagaloa. The Western Sydney Two Blues play their second consecutive game away from home, after going down 28-5 to Manly at the Village Green last week. The Two Blues showed plenty of grit and determination but were outclassed by the Marlins.
Gordon proved last week that they are genuine premiership contenders and they will be looking for another strong performance before next week’s bye. The Two Blues will again fight hard but I expect the Highlanders to be far too good.
Prediction: Gordon by 32
Sydney University v Manly at Sydney University Football Ground
Sydney University were pleased to be able to come away from Rat Park with a 36-27 win despite only fielding 2 players from last year’s Grand Final winning side. The Students showed that will again be a force to be reckoned with in 2020. Manly had a successful start to their 2020 season, disposing of the Western Sydney Two Blues 28-5. The Marlins were forced to rely on several replacements after fullback James Ohmsen was a late withdrawal and then Sam Lane dislocated his shoulder in the first half.
Sydney Uni and Manly have had some classic encounters in recent years and this should be another cracking game.
Prediction: Sydney University by 8
Northern Suburbs v Penrith at Bon Andrews Oval
Northern Suburbs will be looking to build on a solid round 1 performance against West Harbour, where they scored 3 tries in the last 8 minutes in their 32-3 victory. This game marks Penrith’s return to the Shute Shield after a 2-year absence. The Emus are coached by John Muggleton, who was the defence coach for the 1999 Rugby World Cup winning Wallabies. Although Penrith will be under no illusions about the difficulty of putting together a competitive side in such a short time frame, they will be determined to make the most of their opportunity.
Like most fans, I would love to see the Emus be competitive in 2020 but I think that the Shoremen will win this one comfortably.
Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 35
Randwick v Warringah at Coogee Oval
Randwick sit on top of the Shute Shield ladder after their 43-point drubbing of the newly promoted Hunter Wildfires last week. The Galloping Greens scored 8 tries in what was an impressive first up performance. Warringah played well in patches during their 36-27 loss to Sydney University. They will be hoping for improved cohesion in attack and a more reliable performance at lineout time.
This is a difficult game to pick, with Randwick looking to challenge for a finals position while most pundits expect the Rats to finish in the top 4. Coogee Oval can be a tough place for visiting teams but I think that the Rats are capable of sneaking home against the Wicks.
Prediction: Warringah by 9
Bye: Southern Districts
Round 1 Results
|Gordon v Easts||Gordon by 5||Gordon 35-24|
|Manly v Western Sydney Two Blues||Manly by 25||Manly 28-5|
|Randwick v Hunter Wildfires||Randwick by 18||Randwick 50-7|
|Southern Districts v Eastwood||Eastwood by 14||Southern Districts 34-19|
|Warringah v Sydney University||Sydney University by 10||Sydney University 36-27|
|Northern Suburbs v West Harbour||Northern Suburbs by 9||Northern Suburbs 32-3|
|Penrith – Bye|
5 out of 6 is a good start for Hugh’s predictions.