Randwick v Eastern Suburbs at Coogee Oval
Along with the Battle of the Beaches between Manly and Warringah, Randwick v Easts is one of the traditional and most anticipated local derbies on the Shute Shield calendar. The Galloping Greens are yet to win a game in 2019, having lost to Southern Districts, Wests and Eastwood, and they will need to improve if they are to get their first win on ANZAC Day. Touted by many as one of the premiership favourites, the Beasties have had a mixed start to their 2019 campaign with an impressive win against Sydney University followed by losses to Warringah and Manly. I’m tipping Easts to have too much class for the young Randwick side in the Battle of the East.
Hugh’s Prediction: Eastern Suburbs by 12
DrivingMaul Prediction: Randwick by 3
Northern Suburbs v Manly at North Sydney Oval
Norths and Manly have had some great tussles in recent years and this week’s clash looks like it will be no exception. Norths are currently sitting 3rd on the table with impressive away victories over both Warringah and Eastwood, as well as a bye in Round 2. This week they finally return to North Sydney Oval which is surely one of the best grounds in Sydney for watching rugby on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The Marlins started the season with an unconvincing win over Western Sydney and a close loss to Eastwood, but rebounded last week with a 4 point win over Eastern Suburbs. Manly will be looking to cement their top 4 credentials with another win but I’m predicting the Shoremen to be too good.
Hugh’s Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 10
DrivingMaul Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 5
Warringah v Gordon at Rat Park
Warringah and Gordon developed an intense rivalry in the 1990s, with both teams regularly featuring in the finals. Indeed, many of the Gordon faithful still reminisce about breaking their 17 year premiership drought with a 23-19 grand final victory over the Rats at a packed Concord Oval in 1993. The rivalry has fallen away in recent years but it has been rekindled this seasonr with the man who guided Warringah to their maiden Shute Shield premiership in 2017, Darren Coleman, heading down the Parkway, through the Blinking Light intersection and across the Roseville Bridge to Chatswood Oval, along with a number of players. The Rats had an Easter weekend to forget, being humiliated by Sydney University in a 50-0 drubbing. They’ll be a much improved team this week with plenty to play for, and will enjoy being back at Rat Park. Gordon had the bye in Round 1, followed by a close loss to Southern Districts and a resounding win over the Western Sydney Two Blues. There’s no doubt that they are a much better team than in 2018, when they only won 1 game and finished with the wooden spoon. This will be a hard fought game with plenty of emotion but I think that the Rats will be too good at home.
Hugh’s Prediction: Warringah by 3
DrivingMaul Prediction: Warringah by 3
Sydney University v Eastwood at Glen Willow Sports Field, Mudgee
Sydney University and Eastwood have been the 2 powerhouse clubs of the professional era, winning a combined 16 of the last 20 premierships. University started their premiership defence with a loss to Easts followed by a strong win over Western Sydney and a commanding 50-0 thrashing of Warringah in what was a replay of last year’s grand final. Eastwood began the season with back to back victories against Randwick and Manly followed by a surprise 30 point thrashing at the hands of a red hot Northern Suburbs. The Woodies will be hurting from that loss and should put in a much stronger performance this week. I’m predicting the Uni juggernaut to roll on.
Hugh’s Prediction: Sydney University by 9
DrivingMaul Prediction: Sydney University by 7
West Harbour v Western Sydney at Bankwest Stadium
The Battle of the West shapes up as an intriguing affair, with the match taking place at the new Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta as an old fashioned curtain raiser to the Waratahs’ Super Rugby fixture against the Sharks. Wests are coming coming off a bye after a strong win over Randwick in Round 2. The Pirates trailed the Wicks early but showed great confidence and character to dominate the second half. The Two Blues have had a tough start to the season having lost fairly convincingly to a much improved Gordon and premiership heavyweights Sydney University, after what was a promising performance in their opening round loss to Manly. Both teams are known for being unpredictable at times so it should be an entertaining match at Bankwest Stadium. I think Wests will have too much skill and experience for the Two Blues.
Hugh’s Prediction: West Harbour by 14
DrivingMaul Prediction: West Harbour by 15
Bye: Southern Districts
Hugh: 8 from 15
DrivingMaul: 9 from 15
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