The 7 Two television game is Hunter Wildfires v Gordon. 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 Northern Suburbs at Woollahra Oval
Eastern Suburbs sit in a precarious position on the ladder, having won only 1 of their opening 4 matches. The Beasties’ most recent encounter was in round 4 against Eastwood, when they went down by 3 points. Easts will be fresh after their bye last week and will looking at this week’s game as a must win if they are to qualify for the finals.
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Northern Suburbs are 1 of 5 undefeated teams as we enter the 6th round of competition. The Shoremen scored 7 tries to 1 in an impressive 40-point win over the ever-improving Hunter Wildfires last week. James Margan and Nathan Russell both scored doubles for Norths.
Easts love playing at home and will be primed for a big game after their week off. Norths’ 4 wins have all come against teams unlikely to make the finals so this week’s game will be a better indicator of how they are travelling. The Shoremen will be without skipper Nick Palmer (concussion) and Isaac Cavu (hamstring) but should still be good enough to sneak past the Beasties.
Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 7
Eastwood v Sydney University at TG Milner Field
Eastwood has strung together 4 consecutive victories after a surprise round 1 loss to Southern Districts. Australian 7s representative Tim Anstee starred for the Woods in their round 5 win over the Two Blues, scoring 3 tries.
A less than full strength Sydney University lost their first game of 2020 when they went down to Southern Districts by a single point last Saturday. The Students should welcome a host of players back this week, with a number of first and second grade players returning from COVID-19 related isolation periods.
The Woodies have continued to build each week and are always a formidable opponent when playing at TG. The Students will be looking to move on from last week’s loss and rarely lose 2 in a row. I’m tipping the Students to get the chocolates in a close one.
Prediction: Sydney University by 3
Penrith v Warringah at Nepean Rugby Park
Penrith continues to earn plenty of praise from opposition coaches but remain winless following their 56-point loss to Randwick last week. The Emus started strongly, leading 3-0 midway through the first half, but were eventually outclassed by the Wicks.
Warringah got their season back on track with a much needed 28-14 win over West Harbour at Rat Park. The Rats squandered several promising attacking opportunities so will be hoping for better execution this week. Backrower Mungo Mason has created a cult following at Rat Park and continues to impress.
Penrith can again be expected to start strongly, especially in front of their home crowd, but if the Rats play to their potential then they should prove too strong for the Emus.
Prediction: Warringah by 31
Southern Districts v Randwick at Forshaw Rugby Park
Southern Districts enter this week’s blockbuster against Randwick undefeated after the Rebels recorded one of the biggest upsets of the 2020 season to date when they edged out Sydney University by a single point. The Rebels trailed by 9 points but 2 late tries, including one in the 85th minute, gave them a famous victory. Southos have now beaten 2 of the competition heavyweights in Uni and Eastwood, and a win over Randwick would ensure that they are viewed as genuine premiership contenders.
Randwick is also undefeated, having won all 5 of their matches including a 59-3 victory over Penrith last week. The Wicks didn’t have things all their own way, trailing 3-0 after 25 minutes. As the game progressed Randwick was able to exploit the visiting side’s weaknesses and ran out convincing winners. 40-year-old former Wallaby Adam Freier made an appearance off the bench and is sure to see some more game time as the season progresses.
This is another tough game to pick. Southern Districts have claimed 2 huge scalps in Eastwood and University, and have showed that they will always play the full 80 minutes. Meanwhile, Randwick has been very impressive in both attack and defence, but has yet to play a team in the top 6. I am slightly concerned about the Rebels’ ability to win 2 big games in a row so am predicting a Randwick victory.
Prediction: Randwick by 5
West Harbour v Manly at Drummoyne Oval
The West Harbour Pirates are still searching for their first win of 2020 after going down to Warringah in a game that coach Mark Gudmunson admitted was one that got away. The Pirates couldn’t capitalise on their strong scrum and good field position and eventually allowed the Rats to score several times in the second half on their way to a 14-point victory.
Manly showed plenty of grit against Gordon but it was the Highlanders who were victorious, scoring 4 tries to 0. The Marlins have had a horrible run with injuries and with only 1 win under their belt, are in danger of missing the finals for the first time in several seasons.
This is shaping up to be an intriguing contest between 2 teams who will be desperate to win. Wests’ star flyhalf Jack Debreczeni, who was a late withdrawal last week, has not been named in the starting 15. Manly will be guided around the park by new recruit Harley Attwater. How well he is able to adapt to Manly’s style will have a big influence on the outcome of the game.
Prediction: Manly by 12
Hunter Wildfires v Gordon at Newcastle Sports Ground No. 2
The Hunter Wildfires went in to their round 5 game with Norths on a high after returning to Newcastle with 2 competition points courtesy of a draw with Manly the previous week. Unfortunately for the Wildfires, the Shoremen took control early on and were able to dominate the scoreboard winning 50-10.
Meanwhile, Gordon had one of their toughest contests of the season so far when they made the trip across Middle Harbour to the Village Green at Manly. The Highlanders had to show plenty of composure to outlast the Marlins and record their first win at Manly Oval in 12 years.
This game will have special significance for the Coleman family as the Wildfires are coached by Scott Coleman while the Highlanders are coached by Scott’s older brother, Darren. The Wildfires will give this one everything but Gordon should be too good, despite the fact that they are resting several members of their forward pack.
Prediction: Gordon by 35
Bye: Western Sydney Two Blues
Round 5 Results
|Manly v Gordon||Gordon by 18||Gordon 26-3|
|Northern Suburbs v Hunter Wildfires||Northern Suburbs by 15||Northern Suburbs 50-10|
|Western Sydney Two Blues v Eastwood||Eastwood by 28||Eastwood 57-14|
|Randwick v Penrith||Randwick by 40||Randwick 59-3|
|Sydney University v Southern Districts||Sydney University by 21||Southern Districts 32-31|
|Warringah v West Harbour||Warringah by 18||Warringah 28-14|
|Eastern Suburbs – Bye|
25 out of 30 just the 1 getting away each round so close to that full-house!!!