Welcome to the Shute Shield Week 1 Finals predictions.
Congratulations to Gordon, who last week became the first club other than Sydney University to win the Club Championship since 2004.
As minor premiers, Gordon have secured a second chance while the two lowest ranked losers will be knocked out.
This week’s 7 Two television game is Eastern Suburbs v Eastwood on Sunday. It can also be viewed online through 7 Plus at https://7plus.com.au/shute-shield. Northern Suburbs v Sydney University and Gordon v Randwick are being played on Saturday and will be live streamed by Cluch TV.
Northern Suburbs v Sydney University at Pittwater Rugby Park
Northern Suburbs ended their regular season with a 26-14 loss to Warringah, who were farewelling 4 of their stalwarts in Sam Ward, Josh Holmes, Dave Feltscheer and Robert Kelly. Sydney University were tested early by the Western Sydney Two Blues before running away with the game in the second half and recording a 72-24 victory.
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Norths were one of the form teams during the middle rounds of the competition but have begun to look slightly fragile over the past few weeks as they recorded consecutive losses. Meanwhile, University has been building nicely and I think they will be too good for the Shoremen. However, after finishing third on the ladder they should still qualify for next week’s semi-finals.
Prediction: Sydney University by 8
Gordon v Randwick at Pittwater Rugby Park
Gordon finished the regular season on a high, defeating Eastwood at TG Milner to secure their first Club Championship title since 1998. Randwick on the other hand, were handed a crushing 81-24 loss by their local rivals, Eastern Suburbs. The loss relegated the Wicks to sixth position, meaning that they must win this week to progress to the semi-finals.
Gordon remains one of the competition favourites but will be without key forward Mahe Vailanu, who will sit out this week after a head knock against Eastwood. Randwick have been brilliant at times and they will need to be at their absolute best to challenge the Highlanders, but their inconsistency is too hard to ignore.
Prediction: Gordon by 15
Eastern Suburbs v Eastwood at Pittwater Rugby Park
Eastern Suburbs set tongues wagging when they recorded their eighth consecutive win last week, with an 81-24 win over Randwick in the Battle of the East. Their finals opponents, Eastwood, dropped from third to fifth with their 5-point loss to minor premiers Gordon. This means that this game is sudden death for Eastwood.
Bayonne v Pau is a relegation scrap making it a must win for Bayonne. If you want any hope of survival you have to win your home games against you lower table opposition. Also with Pau only winning once since mid October they aren’t in the kind of form to pick up away wins.
Easts’ recent form has seen them move from outside the top 6 to genuine premiership contender. If the Woodies can play the full 80 minutes then they are capable of an upset but I’m sticking with the Beasties.
Prediction: Eastern Suburbs by 7
Finally Racing are hosting Toulon. Easy pick really Toulon are 6/6 at home and 1/6 away. So you pick the home side and when it’s Racing (who could go top of the table with their games in hand) you have double the reason for picking the home side.
Round 13 Results
|Eastern Suburbs v Randwick||Eastern Suburbs by 5||Eastern Suburbs 81-24|
|Eastwood v Gordon||Gordon by 10||Gordon 29-24|
|Western Sydney Two Blues v Sydney University||Sydney University by 32||Sydney University 72-24|
|Penrith v NHRU Wildfires||NHRU Wildfires by 15||NHRU Wildfires 51-14|
|Warringah v Northern Suburbs||Northern Suburbs by 12||Warringah 26-14|
|West Harbour v Southern Districts||West Harbour by 7||Draw 45-45|
|Manly – Bye|
55 out of 67 or 82%, a draw didn’t help this round.
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