It’s been a wild and muddy afternoon in Week 16 of 18 of the 2022 Shute Shield Season, as the battle of the beaches derby took centre stage for the 100th time between two arch-rival clubs – Manly Marlins & Warringah Rats. They first played each other back in 1971 and it has been an annual tradition ever since in the history of NSW club rugby.
Manly fired off well with a couple of early tries on the board in the first half at 17-12, while Warringah responded to their opposition’s early headstart. However, it’s Warringah who put the breaks on Manly’s inconsistent 2nd half form, before they eventually overtook top spot and then fend off with a two-point win in the end, 20-22.
It’s heartbreaking from the Marlins with the close loss. As said earlier, they got the early advantage going on courtesy of Ivan Fepuleai with two 1st half tries on the loosehead front row. Their defensive work wasn’t bad when a couple of winning penalties gave the Marlins a chance to redeem themselves.
Unfortunately, their attacking contribution was the only big weakness that left them down. A couple of handling errors and missed penalties saw the ball hand over to the (Warringah) Rats. Although we feel sorry for fly-half Kemu Valetini when his kicking game went so well, but he just couldn’t get it over the line with 1-2 mistakes towards the end under pressure. They lost three straight games now, so Manly needs to get back on track if they wanted to go all the way in the finals that begins early next month.
Meanwhile, Warringah is celebrating right now after a huge win on the Marlins home turf. They showed incredible fightback in the first half when closing into their opposition team’s radar, with two tries of their own from another prop Sateki Latu down at tighthead.
Then Latu completed the hat-trick that helped close into the Marlins by one point before the Rats took the lead for the first time with a few minutes to go, and saw Kemu Valetini fumbling with the ball in the 80th minute where they ran wild after the full-time whistle.
They showed amazing intent – especially in defense – when the Marlins had trouble processing going forward that led to winning penalties/turnovers. It’s the one huge factor that played out towards full-time where Manly’s failure to get the job done under pressure gave them a sigh of relief. They now look to end their regular season on a high with two games left before searching for their third title since 2017.
Manly will now head off to Gordon at Chatswood Oval, while Warringah returns home at Pittwater Park in Warriewood ahead of their Week 17 encounter with the Southern Districts from St. George. Plus, there will be another free-to-air Shute Shield game on 9Gem next Saturday at 3pm when Randwick take on Eastwood at Coogee Oval.