Eastwood Preview Round 16
Vs Eastern Suburbs
Grade Woollahra Oval – unless it rains
Colts T.G. Millner
By Paul Treanor
Last time we met: Round 7
Won 25 – 21
Won 24 – 21
Lost 12 – 16
Won 27 – 5
Lost 14 – 28
Won 31 – 19
Lost 12 – 47
Most unsuccessful round for Grade. One of the most successful for Colts. Time for Grade to make amends and Colts to deliver a repeat dose.
Woods depth scary! – Contributor to G&G Shute Forum.
4th Grade – 2nd – up one Place
Eastwood continued their move up the ladder with the help of Manly who caused an upset by beating Northern Suburbs. The match of the round this week is the Eastwood and Eastern Suburbs game as both teams strive for the important second place on the ladder. Eastwood hold this position and have it within their hands to make sure they secure it by beating the side that gave them their worst defeat this season. The postponed Round 7 game was played on the Sunday after we played Northern Suburbs on the Saturday. The side will be looking to show what they are capable of when the teams come together on a equal basis.
Harry Morton, who took Heath Toon’s place in last week’s run on side and scored a double, is named in the run on side this week. With Luke Ferris moving up to Thirds last week Pat Ferris took over at Hooker and he is also named in the run on side. Matt Matson comes into the side for Lachie Parker, David Rose replaced Soane Onesi last week and retains a place in this week’s side. In the Backs just the one change, Taylor Mathieson comes in at Half in place of Phillip Pale.
Eastern Suburbs are sitting just one point behind Eastwood in third place. Eastwood have a point to prove and after a mid season slump will not be giving up Second without a fight. It should be a classic game to start proceedings on Saturday with Eastwood running out winners in what should be a tight encounter that goes down to the final whistle.
3rd Grade – 1st Place
Thirds continue to set the pace at the head of the ladder and maintain their seven point lead over University. Thirds only loss this season was at the hands of Eastern Suburbs on the Sunday night that saw Fourths go down. As with Fourths they will be looking to even up the ledger. The clash between Eastwood and third placed Easts is again the Match of the Round for Thirds. Easts will want to win and will be hoping for a slip by University so they can close the four point gap between second and third. Eastwood will have other ideas. Another important game for Third Grade will be the Northern Suburbs clash with West Harbour.
Again Myles Hunkin is named at Hooker in the starting side with Luke Ferris on standby. Dean Doumbos, who missed last week’s game returns to Tighthead. David Sutton moves from Wing to Fullback with Dave Konstantopoulos coming up from Fourths onto the vacant Wing spot.
Jack Tourish again had a good game with crossing the try line and with the boot. He remains the top point scorer in Thirds.
While Eastwood have the just the one loss this season Eastern Suburbs are also having a successful season with just two losses and draw. They had a 22 all draw with Randwick last week. Even-though they beat Eastwood last time the situation is different. Eastwood will be keen to reverse that result and show why they are the favourites to take out the minor premiership and the competition.
2nd Grade – 3rd Place
Eastwood continue to improve as we head to the final countdown. Saturday’s win sees them still in contention to over take Manly for second place. Although Eastwood have two more losses than Manly they has accumulated five more bonus points. Eastwood also have the best points differential in Seconds and will be a threat come finals. Manly this week are up against 5th place Warringah in what is a rematch of last year’s Grand Final and is the Match of the Round for Thirds. Manly won 31 – 22 in Round 11 but at home Warringah will fancy their chances. A loss by Manly and a win by Eastwood over 8th placed Eastern Suburbs will see the Woods move into 2nd. With the top five now decided the battle for 6th place is alive and well. This week we see contenders Parramatta play Penrith while West Harbour take on Northern Suburbs.
With Blake Sutton moving up to Firsts Jackson Bird moves in Fly Half with Mick Tamone getting a call up to play Full Back. The rest of the side is as per last week.
It looked like Nick O’Connor wasn’t going to score a try against West Harbour but a late opportunity presented itself and he crossed to add another one to his tally. Max Page also scored a try and kicked 6 conversions to keep him in second place still 11 points behind Thomas Hiddleston of Randwick. Both scoring 17 points on the day.
After beating Eastwood back in Round 7 things have not gone well for Eastern Suburbs winning over two games since. They are sitting in 8th place six points out of the six and need to win this weekend to keep their slim finals chances alive. Eastwood have only lost two games since Round 7 and the added incentive of a shot at second place will be too much for Eastern Suburbs to overcome.
1st Grade – 2nd Place
Manly and Eastwood both had bonus point wins leaving the status quo. Things don’t get any easier this week with the local derby between Manly and Warringah the highlight of the Round. Eastwood will not have a easy encounter against third last Eastern Suburbs who have proved to be a bogey team for the Woods over recent years particularly at Woollahra Oval. Randwick are three points behind their opponents Southern Districts, who will be without Ben Volavola, in what will be another important game of Shute Shield rugby with both sides known for the running style. Also with a potential impact of placings University will be looking to get back into the winner’s circle, with the inclusion of Paddy Ryan and Tolu Latu as well as Tom Carter back in the Centres, when they take on 8th place Gordon. Gordon are 7 points behind University and will be playing for their season. Gordon with feature two ex- Eastwood players in the side to take on University. Lefu Iaopo in the Front Row and Jordan Goddard at Number 8, who made his First Grade debut for Gordon last week.
Eastwood this week has two Super Rugby forwards on the bench. Hugh Roach and Jed Gillespie make way for Todd Pearce and Sam Needs. Also expected to be on the bench is Miles McCaffery who come on as a reserve in three games last weekend. The injury to Jai Ayoub in the first half of the game against West Harbour is worse than first thought and as a result he will miss at least this week game. Blake Sutton comes into the side as his replacement.
Ben Batger continues to lead the pack in the point scoring race taking his tally to 256 points.
Eastern Suburbs have a team that are better than their 10th place on the ladder. It has been a disappointing season for the side who extensively recruited in the off season and have a number of fringe Waratah players (though none playing this week). With just three wins against their name they will be looking to finish their disappointing year with three wins in the last three rounds. They have made a number of changes to the side beaten by Randwick last week. Tom Williams coming up from Seconds in place of Liam Moylan at Number 8. A position occupied by Tala Gray when we played them back in Round 7. Jack Grant replaces Angus Pulver at Half, Cohan Guerra moves from Full Back to Number 10 replacing Archie King, William Fay comes back into the Centres pushing Charlie Clifton to the Wing. Will Paterson is the new Full Back. Easts will be hard to beat at home but Eastwood have that minor premiership and the finals in their sights. They will be wary of the wounded Beasts playing for pride but will have too much ammunition across the park.
Colts 3 – 9th – dropped 2 Places
Another loss has Colts 3 dropping to 9th on equal points with this week’s opponents Eastern Suburbs. Both sides come into this game with last round losses. Eastwood two bonus points from their loss keeps them in the mix but with only one win in the the last 8 Rounds the chances of a finals birth are slim at best. This in an important game with both sides three points behind 5th placed Southern Districts, who have a tough game against Sydney University. West Harbour who are currently 6th also have a tough gig against Northern Suburbs. The other team in the mix, Manly, has a relatively easy game against Warringah but as we have seen there is not such thing as an easy game in this competition.
It doesn’t get any more basic than this week. Eastwood won back on Round 7 and will need to turn their current form around if they are to repeat that result.
Colts 2 – 9th – dropped 1 Place
Another loss and another team has moved ahead of us on the ladder. We are up against 6th place Eastern Suburbs who are four points ahead of us and have won just one from their last five matches, while Eastwood have lost their last five and have found the going tough in recent weeks. Penrith are sitting on equal points with Easts and have second last Parramatta this week putting more pressure on Easts to finally come up with another win. Also in the mix is last week’s winners West Harbour (just one point behind Easts and Penrith) who are up against second place Northern Suburbs. Time is running out with just three games to the finals and second chances are few and far between. This is the game Colts 2 must win as they come up against Randwick next week.
Colts 1 – 4th – move up 2 Places
With maximum 15 points from the last three rounds and two surprise losses by Gordon Eastwood fins themselves elevated into the top four for the first time this season on equal points with 5th placed Gordon. It is not the time to take the foot off the pedal as momentum is still required in what has become a tight contest for the last three finals spots. It is an intriguing round for Colts 1 this week. Eastern Suburbs, who lost to Randwick last week are just two points behind Eastwood and Gordon. They are hanging on to 6th place six points ahead of Southern Districts, who have competition leaders Randwick. Gordon also has a tough task ahead of them up against 2nd place University. Eastwood can take a step forward to making 4th place their own with a win over Easts and with other results going as expected. This is not a game to let slip as Eastwood face Randwick next week and finish off the season against 11th placed Warringah. Gordon have Manly and the Bye in the last round, while Easts last two games are against Northern Suburbs and Parramatta.
The task will be made harder without their Hooker Ed Craig who is out injured. As a result Rohhan Zebib moves from Prop to Hooker. Liam Northbridge moves up from Colts 2 to replace Rohhan in the Front Row. Other changes sees Lachlan Burland return from injury to take the place of James Sarks in the Centres and Adam Desantis replacing Daniel Cosgrove in the Second Row. Despite these team changes the importance of this clash and what a win will do for their season Eastwood need no added incentive to take out this vital match.
Round 15 results saw Eastwood edge ever so slightly ahead in the race for Club Champions for 2015. It is still too close to call with Eastwood just 21 points ahead of next week’s opponents Randwick. As was the case last year this competition is going to go down to the counting of preferences. University’s First Grade loss to Southern Districts did them no favours but they remain in third place 81 points behind Eastwood and a real threat to repeat last year’s final round when they “stole” it from Manly. Both Randwick and University Colts are keeping them in the hunt and we need solid performances from our Colts to match their input. It will again be an intense round this weekend.
The three contenders last three games are:
Eastwood – Eastern Suburbs, Randwick and Warringah.
Randwick – Southern Districts, Eastwood and Manly.
University – Gordon, Warringah and Northern Suburbs.