Eastwood Preview Round 6
By Paul Treanor
This week sees one of the major games of the season with Manly and Warringah doing battle. The results last week saw Manly join Eastwood at the top of the Club Championship Ladder with seven wins. Eastwood’s Saturday was less successful only taking the points in four of their seven matches. The results from the Manly / Warringah games and the Eastwood / Southern Districts games this weekend will have a major bearing on the standings come Saturday night. In the wings is Sydney University who play Northern Suburbs and will not want Eastwood or Manly to get further ahead in Club Championship race.
Eastwood are again at Millner. This week’s opponents, Southern Districts, have had a tough start to the season coming up against Manly and Waringah in the first two rounds. Since then life has been a little easier but this week they come up against one of the top clubs in the competition when they make they way to Millner. Again we should see four great contests at home while the Colts travel out to Southern extremities of Sydney with a tough assignment against three strong Rebels’ sides.
Eastwood continued their undefeated run and sit on top of the table three points ahead of Warringah. Southern Districts have had only the one win (Gordon 73 – 12) and a 12 all draw with Penrith last week. On recent form Eastwood should be too strong for the Rebels and should again get the day kicked off on a positive note.
Last week Eastwood Thirds seemed to adopt the Waratahs game plan from the night before and suffered the same fate. A rare occurrence of not only two losses in a row but also not scoring a point should be a strong motivator to return to the Woodies game play this weekend. It wont be easy with Southern Districts sitting ahead of them on the ladder coming off four straight wins and only the one loss against Manly in the first round. On current form Souths would have to be favourites going into this game but we know what this Eastwood team is capable of and there is no time like this weekend to reignite their season and get back on track. If you have the time get down early to give them much needed support and see if Thirds can spring an upset.
The best performance of the day came from Seconds who had 22 points on the scoreboard before Randwick scored a point. They didn’t stop there and went on to record a 48 – 12 victory over the previously undefeated Randwick. A performance that caught the eye of the head coach. Sitting alone at the top of the ladder, with Manly the only other undefeated team just one point away in second, they will be looking to continue their winning run. Southern Districts have just the two wins so far this season including a 61 – 3 win over Penrith last week. They had a narrow 27 – 36 loss to Manly in round one and will be looking to string two wins together. Eastwood again have had some changes to their line up enforced on them by changes in Firsts but still have a very experienced and strong side that should prove too strong for their Southern opponents. It looks to be an exciting match up.
Firsts grade also flirted with Waratahs game plan against Randwick and were lucky to come away with the points. A scrappy game that Randwick lost rather than Eastwood won brought the ire of the coach resulting in unforced team changes this week. Ben Batger returns from missing last week due to injury replacing Harry Bennett at full back. Jared Barry is out with a shoulder injury while Tom Alexander and Blake Sutton have been dropped to Second Grade. Coming into the pack is Michael Kovacic and George Kent while Tom Hill returns to the top side in the centres after a couple of games in Seconds following an injury suffered in the trials. With only three games before we hit the big three in a row Eastwood needs to get back to the form we have grown to expect.
Southern Districts who were tipped to be in the top four this season are struggling in seventh place after starting the season with three losses. Their wins against Gordon and Penrith have been less than convincing however they have a team that on they day can beat any team in the competition. They have made three changes to the side that beat Penrith 41 – 31 last Saturday. Unfortunately one of those missing is Ben Volavola who is always exciting to watch.
Eastwood will need to put the last two games behind them and get back to playing a fully committed 80 minutes with total respect for the ball. This should be an enthralling game with both sides looking to lift after their recent performances and both needing the win.
3rd Grade Colts
Colts Thirds won their game last Saturday against Randwick 28 – 14 leaving them undefeated from the three games they have played. Southern District have also played three games with their only loss against Northern Suburbs, a team Eastwood accounted for in round one.
With the double bye behind them Eastwood can now look forward to building momentum. They should find Souths a worthy opponent and it will be a game that will go to the team most committed to their game plan.
2nd Grade Colts
Colts Seconds had their second loss of the season against Randwick going down narrowly 22- 25. this week it doesn’t get any easier coming up against a Southern Districts side who beat Penrith 57 – 12 last Saturday and are sitting in third place with just one loss to their name. That loss was against Norths when they lost by just two points, while Norths beat Eastwood 19 – 5 in round one. Games against Gordon and Penrith have produced similar results for both teams and so the stage is set for an interesting battle between two teams capable of winning.
1st Grade Colts
Colts Firsts also lost their second game of the season against a good Randwick side last Saturday. Southern Districts are undefeated sitting just one point behind the only other undefeated side, Sydney University. They rested a few key players last weekend to freshen them up for this week’s game. They expect a tough game ahead against the Eastwood side and it should be an entertaining encounter. This will be a challenge for the Eastwood team who have now lost two in a row and will not want to make it three. This will be a good test for Eastwood after last week’s seven point loss to Randwick and a win will consolidate their position in the top half of the table.