Welcome to the Shute Shield Round 6 predictions.
All games are available live and streaming on Stan Sport.
West Harbour v Gordon at Drummoyne Oval
West Harbour kept their finals hopes alive with a stirring last-minute win over Manly at Manly Oval last Saturday. The Pirates conceded two early tries but the match quickly became a seesawing affair with the lead changing eight times before fullback Kodi Drury-Hawkins kicked a penalty goal from wide out to seal a famous 1-point victory. Backrower Kaliova Nacina was again one of the best on ground. Gordon returned to form after several below par performances to beat Randwick convincingly in their match at Coogee. The Highlanders’ set piece was again impressive while new flyhalf Navarre Lokotui impressed along with backrower Tom Silk.
Wests have hit form after a short preseason and less than auspicious start to their Shute Shield campaign. Their set piece is excellent and the offloading ability of several of their key ball carriers makes them difficult to contain in attack. The Gordon XV is noticeably different to the one that was victorious in last year’s grand final but coach Billy Melrose continues to find new combinations. I’m tipping the Highlanders but I’m expecting the Pirates to push them all the way.
Prediction: Gordon by 10
Sydney University v Warringah at Sydney University Football Ground
Sydney University kept their perfect season alive with their sixth consecutive bonus point win, this time over Eastern Suburbs. The game was all but wrapped up by the 65-minute mark with another dominant performance by the Uni tight 5 laying a perfect platform for their halves to control the play. Warringah held onto their top 4 spot with a bonus point win over Penrith. Centre Tyson Davis and backrower Rory Suttor were among the Rats’ best.
The Rats have been somewhat of a surprise packet so far this season but playing Uni at the Birthplace is probably toughest assignment in the Shute Shield at the moment. The Students are playing an incredibly fast and clinical brand of rugby that few if any sides will be able to match, Warringah included.
Prediction: Sydney University by 15
Penrith v Randwick at Nepean Rugby Park
Penrith were far from disgraced in their loss at Rat Park last week. The Emus were again competitive for 60-65 minutes before the Rats’ superior fitness and discipline saw them take the game out of Penrith’s reach. Randwick were disappointed with their defensive effort against Gordon last week, conceding 47 points on their home turf. Randwick scrumhalf Mitch Short played well behind a losing pack and scored one of the tries of the round with a sensational in and away to evade Gordon fullback Jaline Graham.
Penrith has shown enough form to indicate that they may well finish the season with several wins, and another upset here is not out of the question. Randwick is currently in a logjam of teams just outside the top 6 and with upcoming games against Souths and Uni, this is a must win game.
Prediction: Randwick by 23
Southern Districts v Manly at Forshaw Rugby Park
Southern Districts celebrated back to St George Day with a confidence boosting 39-21 win over the Hunter Wildfires. With hooker Andrew Tuala leading from the front, the Rebels forwards scored 3 of their 5 tries. Manly lost a 1-point thriller against West Harbour at the Village Green. The Marlins scored the opening 2 tries but a consistent flow of errors gave the Pirates plenty of chances to keep the score ticking over. In the end, it was a late penalty goal that sealed the Marlins’ fate.
The Rebels’ 2020 season was marked by their inconsistency from week to week. Coach Todd Louden will be hoping that consistency in selections will allow his young side to build their combinations and cohesion, leading to better results. With a number of games against the top sides now behind them, the Rebels are looking to progress up the ladder. The Marlins are having a tough season, with their 24-22 away win against Easts looking like the exception rather than the rule. The return of BJ Hartmann at flyhalf will provide the Marlins’ backline with some experience and direction. I’m predicting that the Rebels pack will have the ascendancy and that will swing the game in their favour.
Prediction: Southern Districts by 12
Northern Suburbs v Western Sydney Two Blues at North Sydney Oval
Northern Suburbs ensured that they retained both their unbeaten streak and second place on the ladder with their 19-14 win over Eastwood at North Sydney Oval. Nick Duffy and Angus Sinclair continue to stake a claim for the title of best halves pairing in the competition and former West Harbour flyer James Turner again showed why he has been one of the best signings of the year, scoring a barnstorming try and also saving another after an intercept. The Western Sydney Two Blues are coming off a bye in round 6, which followed a disappointing 50-8 loss to Easts.
It’s hard to tip against the Shoremen here. They are 6 from 6 while the Two Blues are yet to win a game. If the Two Blues are to make an impact, then it will more than likely come at scrum time. The major problem for the Two Blues will be containing the Norths backline which is full of attacking weapons.
Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 36
Hunter Wildfires v Eastern Suburbs at Newcastle Sports Ground No. 2
The Hunter Wildfires were competitive in their match against Southern Districts but never really threatened to take the game away from their opponents, who used their rolling maul very effectively in try scoring situations. Powerful winger Mike Saili was a key attacking weapon for the Wildfires. Eastern Suburbs’ were well beaten by Sydney University last week, with the Students proving to be better in most facets of play. The Beasties now sit in sixth position, with 3 wins and 3 losses.
The Wildfires will be planning another ambush up in Newcastle and will be hoping to use their large forward pack to control the match. The Beasties will need to rely on the experience of players like Rohan Saifoloi and Nick Jooste to get what will be a tough win.
Prediction: Eastern Suburbs by 15
Round 6 Results
|Randwick v Gordon||Gordon by 6||Gordon 47-27|
|Eastern Suburbs v Sydney University||Sydney University by 10||Sydney University 43-12|
|Northern Suburbs v Eastwood||Northern Suburbs by 3||Northern Suburbs 19-14|
|Warringah v Penrith||Warringah by 54||Warringah 44-15|
|Southern Districts v Hunter Wildfires||Southern Districts by 22||Southern Districts 39-21|
|Manly v West Harbour||Manly by 5||West Harbour 33-32|
|Western Sydney Two Blues – Bye|
So far Hugh is 29 From 36 or 81%, just the 1 wrong again for Hugh as he continues his good picking form