Well in round one we saw the benefit of getting an expert in to do the Shute Shield predictions. Hugh got 3 out of 5 right compared to only 2 by me. I’m a little worried about round 2 as his email read “There’s a couple of toughies this week!”
Eastern Suburbs v Warringah at Woollahra Oval
Easts surprised many tipsters last week by beating Sydney University with a commanding second half performance. Mack Mason was instrumental at number 10 and will again be one to watch this week as the Beasties return to the synthetic turf at Woollahra. The Rats went down to Northern Suburbs in a scrappy round 1 match at Rat Park. They’ll be looking to their more experienced players like Sam Ward (number 8), Josh Holmes (scrum half) and Hamish Angus (flyhalf) to control the game. I’m tipping the Beasties to be too strong, leaving last year’s grand finalists to start the year 0-2.
Hugh’s Prediction: Eastern Suburbs by 12
DrivingMaul Prediction: Eastern Suburbs by 20
Eastwood v Manly at TG Milner Field
This week’s match of the round sees Manly travel to TG Milner to take on Eastwood. The Woodies were far too strong for Randwick last week and they will be relishing the return to their spiritual (but apparently not permanent) home at Marsfield. The experience of Mick Snowden at 9 will again be crucial and his likely battle with Manly halfback Tim Donlan should be a beauty. The Marlins were pleased but far from satisfied with their round 1 victory over the Two Blues. They will need to be far more clinical in attack and tighter in defence if they are to challenge the Woodies. I’m tipping Eastwood to be too strong in front of what should be a large crowd.
Hugh’s Prediction: Eastwood by 10
DrivingMaul Prediction: Eastwood by 3
Gordon v Southern Districts at Chatswood Oval
Gordon opens their 2019 season against Southern Districts at Chatswood. After winning 3 premierships in the 1990s, the proud Gordon club has fallen on tough times in recent years, winning only 1 game in 2018. The Gordon faithful will be hoping that the acquisition of coach Darren Coleman from Warringah and an influx of players from other clubs and a successful colts program, will lead to a much improved season for the Highlanders. Southern Districts dominated West Harbour in their round 1 match at Forshaw and will enter this match full of confidence. The Rebels will be looking to maintain their attacking flair while reducing the number of unforced errors they made against Wests. I’m predicting a big season for Gordon and they’ll be looking to make a statement in front of their home crowd in their first game of 2019.
Hugh’s Prediction: Gordon by 6
DrivingMaul Prediction: Southern Districts by 20
West Harbour v Randwick at Concord Oval
Wests were comprehensively beaten by Southern Districts last week but with many players new to the club, they will be looking for an improved showing against Randwick at Concord. Securing and then retaining possession must be a priority for the Pirates as according to new coach Mark Gudmunson they won only 20% of the ball last week. The young Randwick side will also be looking for an improved effort this week after allowing Eastwood to run away with the game in the second half in their round one clash. A notable debutant for the Wicks last week was Christian Poidevin, son of legendary Randwick, NSW and Wallaby number 6 Simon Poidevin. I think it will be a few weeks before Wests start to click so I’m tipping Randwick to get their first win of the season.
Hugh’s Prediction: Randwick by 8
DrivingMaul Prediction: Randwick by 3
Western Sydney v Sydney University at Lidcombe Oval
The rebranded Western Sydney Two Blues showed some promising signs in their first round loss to Manly. John Folau was impressive on debut, scoring two tries. It was probably only a lack of discipline that cost the Two Blues, both in terms of defence and in adhering to the referee’s interpretations of the laws. Uni looked very impressive in the first 40 minutes last week before being overrun by Easts in the second half. If the Students can maintain their structure and composure then they should be too strong for the Two Blues.
Hugh’s Prediction: Sydney University by 15
DrivingMaul Prediction: Sydney University by 10
Bye: Northern Suburbs
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