Welcome to the Shute Shield Round 11 predictions.
All games are available live and streaming on Stan Sport.
Gordon v Hunter Wildfires at Chatswood Oval
Gordon became Sydney University’s ninth consecutive victim last Saturday, going down 26-5. The Highlanders’ 5 points came courtesy of a try to exciting winger Mike Pavlakis in the 57th minute. The Students had already amassed 21 unanswered points with the wind in the first half and the Gordon attack had trouble penetrating the stern Uni defence. The Hunter Wildfires again showed their fondness for Manly Oval, following up last year’s surprise draw with a 17-12 win over the Marlins. The Hunter forwards enjoyed the difficult conditions, with the Wildfires’ first try coming from a driving maul and their second and final try following a sustained period of strong forward play.
Gordon has now lost 2 games on the trot and after spending most of the season in third place on the ladder, has dropped down to sixth. With games against Easts and Eastwood in next month, this really is a must win for the Highlanders. The Wildfires are still in the finals race and will see this as a golden opportunity to continue their charge up the ladder. Joey Walton returns to the number 10 position for Gordon and I think that he will be instrumental for the Highlanders.
Prediction: Gordon by 14
Sydney University v Southern Districts at Sydney University Football Ground
Sydney University once again reinforced their premiership credentials with a convincing 26-5 win over last year’s premiers, Gordon. The Students were clinical, physical and patient in both attack and defence. The Uni forward pack laid a very solid platform and the new halves pairing of Henry Robertson and stand-in flyhalf Daniel Poletto was very impressive. Southern Districts have enjoyed a 2-week break, courtesy of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend followed by last week’s bye.
After a tough start to the season, Souths have won 2 of their last 3 matches and should be fresh after their 2-week break. The Rebels have named a monster pack and look set to challenge the Students up front. However, I just can’t see them having enough firepower to stop the Sydney University juggernaut.
Prediction: Sydney University by 20
Randwick v Northern Suburbs at Coogee Oval
Randwick enjoyed a day out at Merrylands Oval last week, scoring 8 tries in their 54-5 win over the Western Sydney Two Blues. The win sees the Wicks move to seventh on the ladder and only one win out of the top 6. Like their North Shore neighbours, Northern Suburbs lost their second consecutive game last week. In a game that was played in wet and windy conditions, the Shoremen led the Rats for around 50 minutes. The game turned in the 54th minute when, in a moment of ill-discipline, a Norths tight forward was penalised for obstructing Warringah flyhalf Dean Blore, who was chasing his own kick. The resulting penalty goal put the Rats within striking distance before a converted try with around 10 minutes to go sealed the win.
If Randwick is to play finals football in 2021, then this game holds great importance. The Wicks need to accumulate some wins against the teams above them on the ladder to cement a top 6 position. Norths have a bye next week so they will also be hungry to get back into the winner’s circle. With Harry Burey and Angus Sinclair unavailable due to injury, this could be a tight one.
Prediction: Norths by 8
Eastwood v Manly at TG Milner Field
Eastwood won their third game in a row last week. The Woodies were far too good for the hapless Emus, scoring 12 tries in the 78-10 win at Nepean Rugby Park. Backrower Michael Icely and inside centre Josh Nercessian both scored hattricks while outside centre Barton Picone scored a double. Manly lost their sixth consecutive game, 17-12 to the Hunter Wildfires. The Marlins are clearly undergoing a period of change but even allowing for that, many supporters would have been bitterly disappointed with Saturday’s performance.
Eastwood are always tough to beat at TG and with Tane Edmed returning at flyhalf, they should comfortably account for the struggling Marlins.
Prediction: Eastwood by 24
Warringah v Western Sydney Two Blues at Pittwater Rugby Park
The Rats have won many admirers over the past few weeks and their 2-point win over Northern Suburbs adds more credibility to their premiership credentials. Flyhalf Dean Blore was a key figure for Warringah and his kicking game was instrumental in the win. Centre Tyson Davis was also impressive. The Western Sydney Two Blues lost their ninth consecutive game this season, going down to Randwick 54-5. Scrumhalf Sam Babb, prop Nick Blacklock and lock Alan Rathburn were the Two Blues’ best.
Warringah go into this match as red-hot favourites and I predict them to win by plenty. It’s being reported that the Two Blues have withdrawn from the second-grade competition, which is obviously a blow for the club but hopefully it has a positive impact on their first-grade side.
Prediction: Warringah by 44
Penrith v West Harbour at Nepean Rugby Park
Penrith were well beaten by Eastwood 78-10 last week. Lock Tofua Fifita and fullback Vili Cerei both crossed for the Emus while the Woodies ran in 12 tries. West Harbour sit in tenth place after their round 10 loss to Eastern Suburbs. The Pirates led the more fancied Beasties 18-0 in what was a true game of two halves. Easts responded with 28 unanswered points in the second half to claim the win but Wests’ first half showed that they will cause plenty of headaches for other teams during the second half of the season.
Wests have been bolstered by the return of Carlo Tizzano and Samoan international Alofa Alofa and I expect them to notch up their fourth win fairly comfortably this week against the Emus.
Prediction: West Harbour by 38
Bye: Eastern Suburbs
Round 10 Results
|Sydney University v Gordon||Sydney University by 18||Sydney University 26-5|
|West Harbour v Eastern Suburbs||Eastern Suburbs by 16||Eastern Suburbs 28-18|
|Western Sydney Two Blues v Randwick||Randwick by 27||Randwick 54-5|
|Penrith v Eastwood||Eastwood by 48||Eastwood 78-10|
|Manly v Hunter Wildfires||Manly by 3||Hunter Wildfires 17-12|
|Northern Suburbs v Warringah||Northern Suburbs by 6||Warringah 20-18|
|Southern Districts – Bye|
So far Hugh is 48 From 60 or 80%, 2 wrong again! Hugh is losing his touch….