Eastwood Preview Round 14
By Paul Treanor Grade
With the split rounds now all behind us we can settle down to the last five rounds (four in the case of the Colts) as we head into the finals. Top four placings will be prized by all teams looking to participate in the final series and all Eastwood teams will be under added pressure to perform and improve or hold their current places.
This week we face West Harbour and they will be looking to take a leaf out of Manly’s game plan book to try and wrestle the points from us. Grade play at Concord while Colts are at home.
West Harbour will be wanting to get their latest star recruit, Rebels reject James O’Connor, onto the field. Lets hope they have more luck than we did four years ago when he only made it once to the training paddock before injuring himself and never running on in the blue and white of Eastwood.
The games at Concord look to be all close affairs and we will need as much blue and white support down there to cheer our teams on to victory in all four grades.
4th Grade – 3rd place
Fourth Grade was one of the club’s highlights against Manly running out winners 33 – 13 last round. They hold third place on the ladder and are only five points behind the competition leaders. Their opposition this week are sitting in sixth place and will want to keep their position on the ladder. They won last round 32 – 5 against Parramatta. This was their second win in a row and they will be wanting to make it three. Eastwood beat them 58 – 5 back in May and will be looking to consolidate their place on the ladder and keep the pressure on the two teams above them. Fourths should again get the day off to a good start at Concord in what should be a competitive game.
3rd Grade – 2nd place
Third Grade scored late to force a draw against Manly last round and keep their home record of no losses this season in tact – just. This week they play a team who is in a three way tie for fourth place and who will be desperate for a win. West Harbour had a big win last round when they beat Parramatta 70 – 0, their second win in a row. Eastwood accounted for them 29 – 5 earlier in the year and on current form should be too strong again this Saturday and retain second place on the ladder. Both teams have a lot to play for and this should translate into a great game of rugby.
2nd Grade – 4th place
After beating Randwick mid week Second Grade held equal first place for a few days before they ran out of puff against a strong finishing Manly side on the Saturday going down 13 – 31. The Second Grade competition is so tight this loss saw them end up in fourth after the completion of Round 13. Only five points separate the top four sides while Norths are just four behind Eastwood in fifth place. Wins over the next five rounds will be vital to all teams wanting to finish in the top four making it an exciting five weeks where upsets can be expected. Eastwood have been one of the form teams in Second Grade and should bounce back this week against West Harbour who are not having the best of seasons but had their third win of the season last outing when they beat Parramatta 59 – 19.
1st Grade -1st place
Eastwood was fortunate to come away with a draw last start. Getting the lead late in the game they let Manly back in with a late try that they failed to convert. The main thing to take from the game is that teams will come to play from the opening whistle and Eastwood needs to ensure they are ready for the challenge. West Harbour will have seen the foundation laid by Manly and will look to upset the competition leaders. Since they last met, when Eastwood ran away with the game 67 – 31, West Harbour have won seven out of eight. Their only loss was to University three games ago. They will come to this game full of confidence and will want to hold onto fourth spot. With James O’Connor signing with the club there will be added incentive by the current backline players to play well to retain their places in Firsts. All in all West Harbour have a lot to play for and should give us a good contest.
With University just three points behind Eastwood in second place and expected to take full points against Penrith Eastwood also have a lot to play for and so we should see one of the games of the season at Concord on Saturday. A game that will be won by the team that wants it the most, turns up to play from the opening whistle and plays for the full 80 minutes.
Wins in the last four games are vital for where our Colt teams finish up heading into the finals. Its time to get serious. Manly proved to be a stumbling block for Eastwood with Seconds the only team able to come away with a win last Saturday. Between Grade and Colts we had two wins, two draws and three losses against the Manly club. This week we are back at Millner and will be looking to make it three from three against the West Harbour Club.
Thirds after losing 12 -37 to Manly are placed in equal third with Easts. This was only their fourth loss of the season and their first in five rounds. They need to put the loss behind them and come back with a strong committed effort against West Harbour who are also last round losers being beaten 12 – 27 by Parramatta. West Harbour have only won three games, the last one back on 15th June. On paper Eastwood should easily account for West Harbour but an upset can spring from anywhere if you go in expecting to win. We need to get back to our game plan and make sure of the win on the paddock.
Seconds continued on their winning way with victory over Manly 22 – 15. The win sees them in second place eight points ahead of third placed Norths. West Harbour are not travelling that well this year and lost last round against Parramatta 28 – 48. They have only three wins against their name and Eastwood looks too strong across the park, but will remember their close two point win when they last met. You can’t take any team for granted so Eastwood will be looking to continue the form that has seen them only lose one game this year.
Firsts couldn’t match it with Manly last Saturday going down 17 – 53. This was their second loss in a row and has put pressure on them to hold onto sixth place on the ladder. With three teams less than a win behind them they will need to start putting wins together if they are to take part in the finals. This week is the week to start when they take on last round losers West Harbour. As with their other Colt sides West Harbour Firsts have only won three games this year. Back in Round 4 Eastwood ran out winners 36 – 17 so a committed Eastwood team should take full points from this match.
For those who can’t make it to Concord get down to Millner and cheer on our Colts and help get the three teams over the line.