Preview Round 5 2015

Eastwood Preview Round 5

By Paul Treanor

Last Saturday T. G. Millner saw the Colts have their most successful day of the season getting the trifecta and scoring a truck load of tries in the process while only allowing Warrringah to score two five pointers across the three games. In the final tally it was 163 points for and 10 against. Great effort all round. Although Warringah would argue it was a little unfair having to play mid-week and back up again on the Saturday, Eastwood showed what they can do once they get ahead on the scoreboard.

Meanwhile over at Rat Park Grade had a much tougher assignment against four strong Warringah sides committed to putting it to Eastwood. All four games were very tight and could have gone either way. In the end Eastwood came away with three wins and falling just three points short in the other. These results and results from other games in the round has put us on top of the club championship in what appears to be a more open affair this year. Now on top, the challenge is to stay there.

This week our opposition is Parramatta who have not had the best of starts this season in all seven competitions and by all accounts lack fitness. We know what talent they have in their sides and will not take them lightly. They have come up against four of the top Clubs in the first four rounds and this Saturday it will be no easier. Grade returns to Millner while Colts have a short trip to Merrylands Oval to take on the two Blues who always lift when they play Eastwood.

There are a number of line up changes including some positional changes this week following a number of injuries and player transfers. Our depth is again challenged.

Eastwood have two more games before we head into the intense part of our draw. Starting Round 7 we play in order Easts, University, Manly, Souths, Norths, Souths and Manly. It is time to get our houses in order before we face this onslaught. At the end of it is will give us a good indication of where we stand as we head into the finals and the Club Championship.

Grade

4th Grade

Fourths continued on their winning way with a 13 – 0 win over Warringah leaving them alone at the top of the ladder. Their defence continues to be the stand out, not conceding a point for the third week in a row. With only 10 points scored against them they have the best defensive record across all teams and all competitions. An outstanding effort.

A late change to the listed side had Jack Tourish move to Fly Half and he later came on in that position in Thirds. He is again up in Thirds in the centres this week. Gerard McTaggart takes his place coming back down from Thirds. Heath Toon gets his first run on for the season replacing Harry Morton in the front row. Also getting run on starts are Ed Neely, Soane Onesi and Phillip Pale at Half. Ed Philip and Fatafehi Tatola are on each wing for the first time this year in the named side. Dave Konstantopoulos is back in the Centres while Jack Philip returns to the side at Full Back.

Parramatta lost 7 – 27 to Randwick last Saturday and are sitting at the bottom of the ladder yet to register a point. Eastwood would appear to be too strong for the Two Blues although upsets can happen.

3rd Grade

Thirds had a tough outing against Warringah last Saturday with a number of BIG Scrums needed throughout the second half. In the end it was a scrum packed after the final bell had sounded out that Warringah held. Scrum won, a pass then a dart between two Warringah backs by replacement Fly Half, Jack Tourish, finally broke the 7 all deadlock. The game was best summed up by the conversion attempt from in front that hit the posts leaving the score at 12 – 7 in Eastwood’s favour. Thirds are still at the top of the ladder now equal with Eastern Suburbs who had a bonus point win over Souths.

There are a number of players out for this weekend clash with Parramatta along with a number of positional changes. In the Forwards Jordon Goddard is out while Lachie Cannell and Dave Pukala have moved up to Seconds. Nick Johnson moves from 4 to Number 8, Matt Prestipino comes back into the team with Matt Matson and David Rose moving up from Fourths. In the backs we have Matt Gonzalez at Half Back making his first Grade appearance this year following his injury against West Harbour in the trials. He will be looking to his Forwards to give him better protection at the back of the ruck. Dan Matthews also comes up from Fourths to partner him in the Halves. Wes Sefuivia moves to Full Back, a position in played in the later part of last week’s game and Jack Tourish takes over in the Centres from Junior Currie who is playing Seconds this week. Sione Kupu moves from the wing to partner Jack in the Centres with Daniel Bystrom and Martin Wahbe the new wingers.

Parramatta are yet to win a game or register a bonus point and sit at the bottom of the ladder. Last Saturday it was Randwick who beat them 32 – 7. Eastwood did not play well last Saturday and will need to get back to their best before the seven games straight against the top sides. The changes to the back line in the second half seemed to help last week and with the number of changes to the side for this week’s clash it will be interesting to see how the new combinations work.

2nd Grade

It was two undefeated sides coming together in Seconds last weekend and the game was a reflection of this. Both sides showed they had the fire power to make a mark on this competition. In the end Eastwood let them get too far ahead and left themselves too little time to peg them back. A good try late in the Second Half earned us a losing bonus point as Warringah ran out winners 25 – 22. A loss is never easy but a loss this early in the season is better than one a week before the Grand Final. The loss sees Eastwood drop to third place on the ladder one point behind Warringah and three behind Manly. Nick O’Connor continues to find the line and scored his seventh try laying down the challenge to the other speedsters in the club

Seconds will be without Tom Ellem and Joey Afualo which sees the promotion of Dave Puikala and Lachie Cannell to the pack. Jackson Bird joins Lachie Cannell in getting their first start in Seconds coming into 10 replacing Brad Curtis. Junior Currie comes into the side in the Centres pushing Tim Williams out to the wing with Alex Del Moro going to Full Back replacing Ben Coady.

Parramatta Seconds are their most successful team this year and will be very competitive this Saturday. They had a narrow loss to Manly, a draw with Souths and a win over Norths before suffering their worst loss so far 7 – 32 to Randwick. They will be wanting to improve on their ninth place position on the ladder and will give Eastwood a good hard game. Eastwood will need to get back to basics and put the lessons learned from last week to good use if they are to return to the winners circle. Again changes to the backline will be keenly watched.

1st Grade

First Grade was a game that was an arm wrestle for 90% of the time and in how long it took to have a couple of sips of coffee Eastwood finally managed to secure possession for two restarts, scored three tries and the scoreboard read 26 – 0 with just minutes to go to half time. The second half was all Ben Batger scoring the 13 points for that half including a solo effort to get the vital fourth try. Eastwood are getting back to the form they showed in their march to the Premiership last year and will be aiming to be there for the big seven in a row coming up.

The win has moved Eastwood up one place on the ladder. Still on equal points with Manly and Southern Districts but now with a better For and Against than Souths. Souths this week take on University who have lost two in a row and it would be unthinkable they would go down for a third straight time but Souths are looking the goods this year and will be hard to toss at home. Another game that will have an impact on the ladder and the club championship will be the Easts / Norths clash.

Two serious injuries to our wingmen sees them out for up to three weeks giving the opportunity for Brad Curtis to come into the side on one wing and Ben Coady on the other. In the Forwards Jared Barry moves back to the bench with Tom Alexander starting the game.

Parramatta have just the one point this season from a close loss to Norths in Round 3. They have played four of the top five sides and will be wanting that first win of the season. They went down to the improving Randwick 7 – 53 last outing and will need to significantly improve on that effort if they are to trouble the Premiers. Eastwood will need to ensure they play for the full 80 minutes and not take the foot off the throat too early.

Colts

Colts 3

Colts 3 got their first win of the year against the Warringah side playing only their second game of the season. The final score was 24 – 0 which included their first four try bonus point and the first clean sheet in defence. A great start to the day at Millner with more success to come.

This week it is Parramatta who are sitting just a point above Eastwood on the ladder with just the one win and and an extra bonus point. They beat Southern Districts 26 – 17 in Round 2 and have had narrow losses to Manly and Norths. Last week they were unable to match the might of Randwick going down 17 – 55. We lost 10 – 24 to Randwick in Round 1 and have been working hard on our game since then resulting in our first win last Saturday. This week we will be looking to go two from two but the game will be tough with both sides looking evenly matched though fitness may prove the deciding factor. Both sides will be looking for their second win and to stay in touch with the top six.

Colts 2

Colts 2 continued where Colts 3 left off and ran out winners 56 – 5 over the Warringah side. The win was the second in a row for Colts 2 and the winning margin sees their points differential move into positive territory. The win also puts them just two points out of the top six.

The side will be looking to go three from three when they take on the Parramatta team who have just the one bonus point against their name. Their best result so far this year was a 5 – 10 loss to Souths. They have lost their last two games by considerable margin and Eastwood should prove too strong for them this weekend. The Norths / Easts game and the Souths / University game will have an impact on the ladder and will be watched with some interest.

Colts 1

The one step at a time approach produced our first win in Colts 1 and what a win it was beating Warringah 83 – 5. The biggest winning margin for the Club this season. It has turned our For and Against differential positive and has us just two points off sixth placed Manly. Gordon play Manly this week while the Norths / Easts clash will also have a bearing where Eastwood sit come Saturday night.

Parramatta have yet to register a point on the ladder and had a heavy loss to Randwick last outing going down 14 – 85. The momentum that has been building over the last five weeks and the confidence that comes with a win Eastwood should be primed to make it two in a row. Parramatta will think other wise and will see Eastwood as a team they can beat after playing some this year’s front runners. It should be a good clash with the side wanting it the most getting the chocolates.

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