2022 @Shute Shield Week 18 Game: @Northern Suburbs Rugby Union v @Easts Rugby ​

It was great to look back such a fantastic Saturday afternoon of watching Club Rugby from the stands at North Sydney Oval. 

Love the close rivalry between Norths v Easts where we saw an amazing end to this year’s Shute Shield regular season competition with a game-winning drop goal not long before full-time.

We now turn our attention to the four-week Finals series starting on Saturday with the Qualifying Final; Norths v Manly, Sydney Uni v Randwick, Eastwood v Easts & Warringah v Gordon.

Match Report: https://rb.gy/hpubcu

Top 3 players Report Card: https://rb.gy/sn5dco

I’ll also leave you with a stunning view of Sydney that I’ve taken just before I entered the venue the other day.

Top 3 players from the Los Pumas v Wallabies in Game 1 of the 2022 Rugby Championship

What a performance it has been to kickstart this year’s Rugby Championship campaign in none other than Folau Faingaa, who started and played most of this opening match in the Wallabies No.2 shirt at hooker. He provides excellent throw-in accuracy as always at line-outs before Faingaa hides the ball while pushing the maul square that helped the Wallabies nail down a few tries on the board. It’s one of their main scoring sources, especially when they began to catch up to the Pumas when not only the Wallabies scored the penalty TRY in the 2nd half, but also extended their lead when Faingaa scored a TRY himself not long before he earned a well earned rest with eight minutes left. He hopes to keep up the good work and put another full game performance next Sunday AM Australian time v Pumas in San Juan.

Next up is Hunter Paisami on the Wallabies Inside Centre at No.12 where he never stopped running and working hard all game v Los Pumas. His passes was outstanding when looking out for numbers within the backline that helped plant foundations for the Wallabies to get the job done. We saw him pass to Quade Cooper before Cooper helped Jordan Petaia open the Wallabies TRY scoring account through a bit of space in the first half; He did the same thing to Len Ikitau via the quick offload where Ikitau finished this match on a high note. Not only he can be a excellent provider, but he can also use his physicality and pace to track back and make up bumps that reflects his all-round output in the midfield. Well done.

And Emiliano Boffelli made up most of the Pumas scoring tally on the wide left at No.11. His tall build has provided excellent cover with pace in the Pumas attack, so he can shield the Wallabies defense before opening a bit of space for his men to get the job done through the gate. Plus, his kicking accuracy through the goal posts is unbelievable in any angle with the help of a few winning penalties and these two converted tries. Unfortunately, the Pumas just couldn’t get over the line when a few lost penalties via ill-discipline saw them regress before it’s too late.

Rugby News, Wallabies off to a flying start with the win in Round 1 of the 2022 Rugby Championship v Pumas in Mendoza

The 2022 Rugby Championship season is back with the Wallabies beginning their two week tour v Los Pumas in Argentina; first stop: Mendoza where the action took place earlier this morning Australian time at Malvinas Argentinas Stadium. The Pumas were off the mark early in the first half at 19-10 while the Wallabies began to make up lost time from behind. Although the Pumas extended their lead a bit further, but they couldn’t stay ahead on the run home when the Wallabies took advantage of their lost penalties via the ill-discipline before the away team was too good in the end, 26-41.

What a start to the 2022 Rugby Championship campaign by the Wallabies with the win in Mendoza. They may need to work on their fire offs when the Wallabies fell behind earlier in the first half, which is something they need to rectify ahead of their upcoming meetings v Springboks & All Blacks in a few weeks time. But they eventually got the ball rolling and began to make up lost time when Jordan Petaia scored their opening TRY before the Wallabies upped the ante in the 2nd half with a few tries on the board.

Not only they were able to close in on the Pumas, but took advantage of their opponent’s regressed momentum with the ill-discipline & never looked back after they took over the lead with the win. It’s good to see them top the ladder charts right now with a bonus point but there’s still more work to do if the Wallabies can go all the way with five games left.

It wasn’t the afternoon the Los Pumas wanted to see out at their home turf with a hefty loss v Wallabies. Their first half run was not bad when the Pumas got ahead early when Pablo Matera opened the account before they took home a series of three-point penalty goals. They continued to extend their lead a bit further in the 2nd half when the Pumas followed up with another big score by Juan Manuel Gonzalez. Unfortunately, the Pumas lost all progress when ill-discipline began to catch up against them, especially when Matias Alemanno had to sit ten minutes in the naughty chair following a Wallabies penalty TRY. And it’s the one huge weakness that held the Pumas hostage before it’s too late when it was just too difficult to rebound towards full-time.

The second & final stop in this year’s Wallabies tour of Los Pumas continues next Sunday 5 AM AEST at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentario.

Top 3 players from the Northern Suburbs v Eastern Suburbs Game at North Sydney Oval in Week 18 of the 2022 Shute Shield Season

The Norths are celebrating with full-back Max Burey in the dressing room right now after he delivered the game-winning drop goal that saw his side lift the Minor Premiership. He may not have the tall reach but has lots of physicality where he shares a similar build with current Waratah Will Harrison. His pace created nightmares for the Easts when running through their territory while possessing excellent kicking power; mainly when clearing out of trouble but he too can find both the touch line & goal posts as well, like he did within a few mins to go in the 2nd half. He hopes that his World Sevens tour with Australia earlier this year plus his past Rugby League expertise will help the Norths go all the way in the Finals beginning next Saturday v Manly Marlins.

The next Norths stand out player belongs to James Turner on the right wing backline at No.14. He‘s so quick through the channels when supporting the attack & is an amazing finisher as well, especially when Brad Hemopo assisted him via a quick offload & Turner pulled comfortably like a Track & Field sprinter with the Norths opening TRY on the far right short side. His tall reach & teamwork got the best of him defensively via an excellent read before locking the Easts up that helped his Norths side win scrums/penalties/turnovers. James has unfinished business at age 23 where a good Shute Shield finals performance, as well as potentially delivering his side a title, would hopefully see him back in the Waratahs picture next season at Super Rugby level.

And Jack Bowen made an instant impact off the bench for Easts when they were nine points down at one point in the 2nd half. His partnership with half-back Teddy Wilson was behind one of their team’s turning points that got them back into contention, especially when he added the extra conversion points. He & Teddy would be perfect in cricket as if they both took over the top-order batting collapse & form a big stand at the same North Sydney Oval. It boosted some confidence when Easts scored two more tries before they led for the first time with 15 mins to go. Sadly, Easts just couldn’t hold off until the very end when slow starts through both halves came back to bite them, and it would’ve been different if he played the full 80.

Shute Shield 2022: Max Burey’s drop goal cancelled Eastern Suburbs’ 2nd half resurgence as Northern Suburbs take home the Minor Premiership

It was great to be on the ground at North Sydney Oval earlier this afternoon to watch the regular season Shute Shield finale between Northern Suburbs v Eastern Suburbs.

Both sides played very well for the whole time that went down the wire, especially when Easts went from nine points down earlier at 26-15 in the 2nd half to first time leaders 26-29 with a only 15 minutes to go. But they just couldn’t overcome the minor premiers of 2022 in Norths, who not fired off in the first half but also built a good lead later on, before they responded to the Easts’ 2nd half resurgence with a Max Burey drop goal that marked the winning move towards full-time. 

The final score was Norths 32-29 Easts as we look forward to the four-week Finals Series beginning with the Qualifying Final in Round 1 next Saturday.

Commiserations to Easts with the narrow loss there. They have came from a long way when Easts made up some lost time that helped them close into Norths by a four-point gap (19-15) at the break. Now they may not have got the ball rolling straight away when Easts also suffered another setback after Norths extended their lead; However, a few changes of the bench benefitted another two tries in the 2nd half where they finally got ahead for the first time. They just couldn’t hold them off with a very small lead under pressure unfortunately, when the slow starts and incomplete attacking conversions eventually came back to haunt Easts.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Norths with the 2022 minor premiership title. It’s good to see them build some early momentum through both halves before there was a few ill-discipline errors where Easts fought back with a few tries/three-point goals of their own. However, they never gave up when Norths won plenty of ball opportunities thanks to them shutting down the Easts attack defensively. They had plenty of time to prevent Easts from slipping past them in their tracks. And to level the scoreboard at 29-29 with six minutes to go before they regained the lead with two minutes to spare via the drop goal & hold Easts off towards full-time is just incredible rugby to watch from a top notch Shute Shield side like Norths.

The Qualifying Finals are all set for next Saturday; Norths v Manly, Sydney University v Randwick, Eastwood v Eastern Suburbs & Warringah v Gordon.

For now, I had a wonderful Saturday arvo at a legendary sports ground that is both suitable for rugby union and cricket in North Sydney. I even saw a Greg Chappell Cricket Centre shop when I walked just outside the venue. I hope to visit there again next time as we turn our attention now to Game 1 of the Rugby Championship tomorrow morning at 5 am AEST when the Wallabies take on Los Pumas in Argentina.

Top 3 players from the Randwick v Eastwood Game in Week 17 of the 2022 Shute Shield Season

Nick Chan has to be the first in-line when it comes to the Top 3 performers after a outstanding 2nd-half spell this afternoon at Inside centre for Randwick. He was so destructive in setting up their attacking execution twice that changed everything against Eastwood. We saw him process the mini cross-kick for his midfield partner Dan O’Brien to finish off inside the TRY box before a quick offload later on through the channels where no one couldn’t stop James Hendren on the far-left short side. That way, he has a lot to offer when being tested in both attack and defense that would hopefully earn him a future Waratahs call-up at Super Rugby level, such as unpacking with his immense pace & physicality.

Next up is Matt Faessler who was also another Randwick standout player at starting hooker. He demonstrated a masterclass from line-out time & pushed his way with the ball down low through the driving maul that help respond to Eastwood’s three-point early lead. He can also be an excellent communicator when backing Randwick up with numbers where Faessler scored another TRY later in the 2nd half, as his side began to stay further ahead & never looked back for the rest of this match. It’s great to see him gain some Super Rugby experience from the Queensland Reds earlier this season and come back to Club Rugby better with the Galloping Greens, after he was recently on the Australia A tour in Fiji.

And Michael Icely rounds out the Top 3 for Eastwood in the Number 8 role. He’s got an incredible tall stature that struck a nice balance with the physicality where his side benefitted Randwick’s slow start earlier on. It reflected his all-round ability alongside some teamwork when he helped them win turnovers/penalties defensively, as well as being a major force going forward with the scrum feed, ruck & maul. His personal best performances are there when Icely scored the consolation & final TRY of the afternoon. Sadly, Randwick’s messy attacking play ruined their good start before it isolated the defense – where they began to fall behind not long after half-time before it’s too late.

2022 Shute Shield Week 17, Randwick stalled Eastwood’s flying 1st half start where they were too good in the end at Coogee Oval

It’s been a close first half between Randwick and Eastwood here at Coogee Oval. Randwick got the first TRY after Eastwood opened the scoreboard with the three-point penalty goal before Eastwood lead at half-time, 5-10, courtesy of a number of successful shoves that lead to a incredible TRY from Fabian Goodall on the inside centre at No.12. In the end though, it was Randwick who secured an easy win after a series of successive big scores in the 2nd half, 31-17.

It’s good to see Randwick respond to Eastwood’s opening three-point penalty goal with a complete line-up masterclass from Matt Faesseler at hooker. Although they’re not bad defensively when they won a few penalties/turnovers, but needs to be a bit more patient going forward where a few forward passes slowed down their progress. Fortunately, they addressed that problem after half-time where a series of tries from Randwick changed everything on the up with an easy win going towards full-time. Credit to Nick Chan for proving the finishing touches twice to Dan O’Brien & James Hendren, while Faesseler scored another TRY before James Tomkinson topped the cherry on the cake when he touched down on the TRY zone.

Meanwhile, Eastwood benefitted from Randwick’s early discipline & forward passing errors that helped them get the ball rolling. They dominated the ball going forward for the majority thanks to Fabian Goodall, but needs to be wary when trying to prevent Randwick from scoring at their own end. Yes, they may have scored the consolation TRY from their own Number 8 in Michael Icely alongside a few fresh faces off the bench; Sadly, Eastwood just couldn’t stay ahead when their first-half lead was slammed downhill into the ground. A messy attacking shape through open play didn’t match the standard Randwick fought back in the 2nd half before it’s too late, when their defensive contribution became a whole lot difficult to shut the opposition down.

17 weeks done, one to go in the 2022 Shute Shield regular season before four weeks of finals time. Randwick was 6th & Eastwood was 4th on the ladder prior to this match; Eastwood lost two spots now to 6th behind Randwick as Warringah moves to fourth after a win once again v Southern Districts.

Coincidentally, the Southern Districts will be on the road once again when they will face Randwick, while Eastwood will have an easy chance to close their 2022 regular campaign with a win v the Western Sydney Two Blues in Granville. And 9Gem will continue to show Shute Shield on free-to-air when the Northern Suburbs v Eastern Suburbs at North Sydney Oval next Saturday, 3pm.

Top 3 players from the Manly v Warringah Game in Week 16 of the 2022 Shute Shield Season at Manly Oval

It’s been the best of the props earlier this afternoon and Sateki Latu tops out the list on the tighthead front row at No.3, after he scored a hat-trick of tries for the Warringah Rats. He has tremendous attacking ability when you marry up with the physicality & pace that saw Latu rip up the (Manly) Marlins into shreds. He responded well to the Marlins early lead when the (Warringah) Rats chose to go towards the far left short side, before Wes Thomas found a gap & called Latu with the quick offload to get the job done. And no one from the Marlins couldn’t stop him when he scored another two tries before he stopped them in its tracks defensively later in the 2nd half, which played a huge role towards his team’s win past full-time.

The next Warringah Rats standout player to look out for is Andrew Davies, who plays on the second row/lock in the No.5 shirt. He took great care of the (Manly) Marlins having kept them quiet that led to winning penalties/turnovers defensively over to his team by the referee. Not only that, he can also help out going forward when he created some damage through the Marlins defensive wall, as well as backing up the ruck. The ample opportunities being given with the ball before forming a scrambled defense upped the pressure for the Marlins to get the done & then blow it up; That reflects his all-round ability to deliver what the Rats team wanted in the end.

And Ivan Fepuleai rounds off the Top 3 where he was outstanding with two tries in the first half at loosehead prop for the Marlins. He was blessed with his team’s excellent start earlier on, such as the patience and communication needed to get the ball rolling. That way, he didn’t have any problem finishing off as long as he dived in down low. But then they couldn’t keep up the momentum when it comes to the 2nd 40 as the Marlins just couldn’t find a way to extend their lead before they were rushed to get back on track under pressure. A mix of lost penalties/handling errors/turnovers came into play – including the lopsided attacking shape – while he had an early mark by watching on from the bench.

Warringah sees off Manly in the 100th derby match at Manly Oval in Week 16 of the 2022 Shute Shield Season

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.

Rugby News Australia: England’s robust defensive work ended the Wallabies hopes of taking the Ella-Mobbs Trophy home at the SCG

It was one huge decider to look back from last night at the Sydney Cricket Ground when Australia went head-to-head against England for the series trophy, as they came into the field at 1-1 apiece after England bounced back last Saturday in Brisbane. The away team struck the first blow before they responded to Tom Wright’s TRY from Australia with a one-point lead at half-time, courtesy of Freddie Steward. Although, Australia kept themselves in the hunt within England’s radar thanks to Folau Faingaa off the bench. But at the end of the day, it has to be England when Marcus Smith capitalised a small lead with a wonderful intercept TRY before they tightened their defense that frustrated Australia in the end. The final score on what has been the final ever rugby union match at the SCG – 17-21 – as we look forward to move back to the all-new Allianz Stadium soon next door.

It’s not been the series ending the Wallabies wanted last night during the 3rd and final Test decider v England. Their first-half run wasn’t bad when they took note of the opposition’s ill-discipline thanks to Nick Frost on second row, before they got the ball rolling via his Brumbies team-mate Tom Wright. A few changes off the bench during the second 40, especially when Folau Faingaa kept the Wallabies hopes alive towards stealing the series away from the English. Sadly, they just couldn’t get escape the opposition’s robust defense under pressure while suffering lapses of inconsistency going forward – which led to lost penalties/turnovers. It’s that one huge weakness they need to work ahead of the Rugby Championship beginning with Argentina in a few weeks, even though they have to keep moving without a few key players from the treatment room.

Meanwhile, England retain the series yet again when they have now taken home the Ella-Mobbs Cup, which is the new trophy after the Cook Cup was retired at the end of last year that spanned for 25 years since its series inception back in 1997. They were glad to get away from their own ill-discipline at the beginning & touched down Australia’s inconsistent attack where England showed excellent fightback in the first half. Not only they opened the scoreboard via the three-point penalty goal, but Freddie Steward’s TRY in the 40th minute puts them ahead of Australia by just one point at half-time, 10-11. They later capitalised on their narrow lead with another three-pointer followed by amazing finish from fly-half Marcus Smith, before England put their bodies on the line defensively that stopped Australia from slipping past them in their tracks going into full-time.

As said earlier, the Wallabies are now preparing for the Rugby Championship going into August. These two games in Argentina will be a Stan Sport exclusive since they kick off at 5am AEST our time which is 4pm over there, so it won’t be aired for free as Nine/9Gem tends to broadcast Super Rugby and Wallabies games within here and New Zealand. I don’t know about the away Springboks games at around midnight when Australia last played in South Africa since 2019, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough next year. For now, there’s some Club Rugby to watch before Nine/9Gem airs the Wallabies games again when the Springboks come here at the end of next month.