Eastwood Preview Round 3
By Paul Treanor
It was another winning day for Grade over at Chatswood Oval last Saturday with all four teams gaining maximum points. Easts, after going down to Gordon last week, sprung the surprise of the round with a one point win over University in the game they took to Bowral. They also beat the Students in Thirds again by one point. Norths, who surprised last week, put in another strong showing against Warringah falling two points short of victory.
We are back home for our Easter Saturday clash with West Harbour who we played in a trial a few weeks back. The Pirates have had a disappointing start to the year with only one win across all four grades. We know they are a better team than their position on the table shows and will be looking to get their season underway against Eastwood.
Colts again came up against a club who have put all their eggs in the developing Colts basket and struggled to get over the top of Gordon last Saturday. This week’s they travel to Concord Oval taking on West Harbour who had a tough encounter against Randwick.
Despite the lack of success from Colts we sit third on the Club Championship Ladder with the two teams above us having already played Penrith. It is early days. With a few wins under our belts in Colts and the continued form of our Grade sides anything can happen.
Fourth Grade again gained maximum points with a 39 – 0 win over the Gordon side. A strong performance across the park and for the second week Gareth Palamo came on as a sub in the second half. Heath Toon made a return from injury off the bench.
There are six changes to the team announced last week. In the forwards Cormac Burke comes in from the bench to replace Adrian Wyper who has moved up to Thirds. Jimmy Holden who has been playing hooker in Thirds while Hugh Roach has been on Waratah duties comes back in the front row. Pat Benson comes in for Matt Matson and Connor O’Gorman is in for Sam Martin. Taylor Mathieson who was in the run on side retains his place at half back and will be partnered by Ben Abood at 10, who has dropped back from Thirds due to Brad Curtis returning from injury in Seconds.
West Harbour will be attempting to record their first win of the season. They lost 17 – 34 against Randwick last week and will have to improve it they are to succeed in toppling Eastwood this Saturday.
This was the game we lost last year in what was a mixed season for Third Grade. This year there was no mistaking the intent with Eastwood running away with the game with a final score of 50 – 19. With combinations coming together and forwards setting the platform for their speedy backs the side is building into a solid unit that will be hard to beat as the season progresses.
Myles Hunkin has been selected at Hooker again this week. Adrian Wyper comes up from Fourths to replace Matthew Prestipino. Wes Sefuiva drops down from Seconds at 10 and Junior Currie comes in from the bench to partner Tai Luani in the centres pushing Mick Tamone onto the wing replacing Joshua Nohra. On the other wing Sione Kupu has dropped back from Seconds replacing the promoted Nick O’Connor.
West Harbour have lost their first two games. Both were narrow loses and they have earned themselves two bonus points. They lost last week to Randwick 14 – 20. A side we beat 41 – 10 in Round One. This game should see Eastwood too fit and fast for their neighbours and make it three from three.
Second Grade had a tough game in Round One and came out determined to take maximum points against Gordon who had come up short against Easts. The game went to plan with a 45 – 15 bonus point win.
There is only one change to the forwards this week with Tannous Ferris returning after deputising for Hugh Roach the last two weeks. Two changes to the back line. Brad Curtis is making his long awaited return from injury getting the nod at fly half and Nick O’Connor, making his Second Grade debut, is on the wing after some eye catching performances in Thirds. It will be interesting to see how Brad goes in his comeback game at 10 as we are used to seeing him playing wing or full-back. Welcome back Brad and congratulations Nick.
West Harbour won their first game against Norths 37 – 29 but couldn’t over come Randwick going down 23 – 41. It will require a reversal of form if they are to take the points against Eastwood this week.
Eastwood dominated the game from the kick off scoring their first try within the first two minutes, which may have led to a drop in intensity. Some lapses in defence and discipline kept Gordon in the game along with an intercept, length of the field, try. In the end Gordon had an opportunity to score their fourth try and give them a point from the afternoon’s effort but Eastwood kept the ascendency running out winners 62 – 28. Not quite the 70 – 12 of last year but still as very good performance against a side that beat Easts the week before and considering we had another three tries disallowed.
There is only one change to the team that took the park last Saturday, provided the Waratahs releases Hugh Roach to play. If not it will be back to the Hooker Scuffle again. It will be great to see Hugh back and I am sure he will be keen to get some quality game time under his belt. Jared Barry, returning from injury, came on for 20 minutes against Gordon and is again selected on the bench for the West Harbour clash.
West Harbour are 0 from 2 and will be working extra hard to get their first win of the season. They were unlucky not to pull off a win against Randwick last Saturday with a last minute intercept try leading to a blow out in the score line. They have improved on their first round loss to Norths and will be looking to take the points against Eastwood. Eastwood will address the defence and discipline issues from last week and will continue to build as the season progresses. An upset will be required for West Harbour to take the points this Easter Saturday.
Gordon stamped their authority in Colts 3 making up for not having a team in this grade in recent years. They were too good for Eastwood winning 52 – 0. West Harbour are also without a win after two rounds and lost to Randwick 0 – 53 last week. In the first round Eastwood also lost to Randwick with a 10 – 24 scoreline. Both sides will be keen to get some points on the board this weekend. On those results Eastwood appears to have the edge but it should be a close tussle in the opening game of the day at Concord Oval.
Both sides sit at the bottom of the ladder and will be looking for their first win. In Round One Eastwood lost 10 – 22 to Randwick and lost 20 – 29 to Gordon last week. West Harbour were sounding beaten by Randwick last week 7 – 66. On these results Eastwood should record their first win of the season.
After the big loss against Randwick in Round One Eastwood did well to gain their first point of the season with a 17 – 22 loss to the more fancied Gordon. A great improvement and it should give them confidence going into this week’s round.
West Harbour have had two big losses in the opening rounds. Going down 5 – 44 against Norths and 12 – 69 last Saturday against Randwick. The result against Randwick is similar to ours and both sides will consider themselves a chance this weekend. It will require a fully committed effort from Eastwood but on last week’s results they can take their first win of the season.