Welcome to the Shute Shield Round 10 predictions.
All games are available live and streaming on Stan Sport.
Sydney University v Gordon at Sydney University Football Ground
Sydney University maintained their perfect season with their eighth consecutive bonus point win coming over Randwick in round 9. The Students were far too strong for the Wicks, with their driving maul again a feature of their game. Gordon lost their second match of 2021, going down to Eastwood in a hard-fought grand final replay. The Highlanders were probably slightly out enthused by the Woods, despite both teams scoring 2 tries.
The big news coming out of Camperdown has been the sudden departure of highly sought-after coach Rob Taylor, who has been snapped up by Japanese Top League club, NEC. Assistant coach Phil Blake, himself a vastly experienced head coach and former rugby league star, will take the reins for the remainder of the season. Gordon will have their work cut out for them here and will almost certainly drop out of the top 4 should they lose. The week off should work in their favour, as will the inclusion of Joey Walton at 13 and the return of skipper Jordie Goddard at 8, but I can’t see them stopping the Uni juggernaut.
Prediction: Sydney University by 18
West Harbour v Eastern Suburbs at Drummoyne Oval
The West Harbour Pirates haven’t played a game in 2 weeks courtesy of a bye in round 9 and then the Queen’s Birthday long weekend last week. Their last start was a 46-22 win over their local rivals, the Western Sydney Two Blues. Backrower Kaliova Nacina continues to star for the Pirates, while fullback come flyhalf Kodie Druru-Hawkins was also impressive. Eastern Suburbs stamped themselves as a top 4 contender with a thrilling 31-29 win over the previously unbeaten Northern Suburbs. The winning try came in the form of a penalty try in the 83rd minute after the Shoremen were judged to have deliberately collapsed a Beasties’ driving maul. Outside centre Sam Fogarty scored the Beasties’ first try and was one of their best, while experienced flyhalf Rohan Saifoloi kept a cool head and controlled things well.
It will be interesting to see how the Pirates shape up after their 2-week hiatus. They have won 2 of their last 3 games and will certainly take plenty of confidence into this week’s game. Easts leapfrogged Gordon into 3rd place on the ladder and if results go their way, could really cement themselves inside the top 4 with over the Pirates.
Prediction: Eastern Suburbs by 16
Western Sydney Two Blues v Randwick at Holroyd Sports Stadium
The Two Blues are still searching for their first win of the season after going down 43-11 to the Hunter Wildfires. In a blow for rugby in the west, it was recently announced that ex-NRL star Tepai Moeroa will be leaving the Two Blues immediately to return to the NRL, having signed a short-term deal with the Melbourne Storm. Randwick also tasted defeat in round 9, with Sydney University proving far too strong and running away with the game 57-17.
All NSW rugby people should be buoyed by the success of both the Two Blues and Penrith Emus at the NSW Junior State Championships held last weekend. This shows that there is plenty of talent in Sydney’s west and that the recent push to see the Two Blues and Penrith excluded from the Shute Shield would be disastrous for rugby in this state. It would be great to see the senior side replicate the success of the junior teams and notch up a win this week, but I think that Randwick will be too strong in the last 20-30 minutes.
Prediction: Randwick by 27
Penrith v Eastwood at Nepean Rugby Park
Penrith had a disappointing 80-3 defeat at the hands of Southern Districts in round 9. The Emus were kept tryless for the third time this season, with their only points coming from a penalty goal in the first half. Eastwood recorded their fifth win of the season with a 20-12 win over Gordon at Chatswood. The Woods were clinical in their ability to convert field position into points.
I’m hopeful that the Emus will perform better back at Nepean but Eastwood should win this comfortably.
Prediction: Eastwood by 48
Manly v Hunter Wildfires at Many Oval
Manly looks set to miss the finals for the second consecutive season after their comprehensive 40-14 loss to Warringah in round 9’s Battle of the Beaches. The Marlins struggled to keep pace with the Rats, despite two tries to hooker James Hilterbrand. The Hunter Wildfires recorded their second win of 2021 with a strong 43-11 win over the Two Blues. Backrower Joseva Tamani marked his return to the Shute Shield with 3 tries.
The Wildfires surprised many when they drew 29-all with the Marlins in the corresponding fixture in round 4 last year and they will be determined to go one better this year. Enigmatic utility back Sam Lane will make his long-awaited run-on return for the Marlins at fullback, with BJ Hartman remaining at 10. Dion Spice is also returning at scrumhalf, forcing Harry Emery onto the wing. I’m expecting a better performance from Manly this week, who will benefit from the week off and will be desperate to give their fans something to cheer about. Their lack of cohesion and frequent line up changes do concern me though. This one is a toss of the coin.
Prediction: Manly by 3
Northern Suburbs v Warringah at North Sydney Oval
Northern Suburbs were upset by Eastern Suburbs after they conceded a penalty try in the 83rd minute. Stand-in flyhalf Max Burey and star winger James Turner were again amongst the Shoremen’s best. Warringah celebrated 50 years of the Battle of the Beaches with a 40-14 win over their northern beaches rival, Manly. Lock Hugh Margin and outside back Ben Woollett starred for the Rats.
This is arguably the match of the round and should be a spectator’s delight. Norths will be smarting after losing their first game of the season. Their backline continues to be the competition benchmark but they will need to address their scrummaging issues. The Rats will be without their inspirational and electric fullback, Ben Marr, who dislocated his shoulder while scoring a try against Manly. They will be looking to dominate at the set piece, especially at scrum time. Warringah is still searching for some consistency in the big games and have, at least so far this season, been a different team when playing away from Rat Park. Meanwhile, Norths are 8 from 9 so I’m tipping Norths in a tight one.
Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 6
Bye: Southern Districts
Round 9 Results
|Gordon v Eastwood||Gordon by 5||Eastwood 20-12|
|Randwick v Sydney University||Sydney University by 24||Sydney University 57-17|
|Warringah v Manly||Warringah by 16||Warringah 40-14|
|Southern Districts v Penrith||Southern Districts by 28||Southern Districts 80-3|
|Hunter Wildfires v WS Two Blues||Hunter Wildfires by 17||Hunter Wildfires 43-11|
|Eastern Suburbs v Northern Suburbs||Northern Suburbs by 15||Eastern Suburbs 31-29|
|West Harbour – Bye|
So far Hugh is 44 From 54 or 81%, 2 wrong this week! Hugh is slipping….