Eastwood v Eastern Suburbs at TG Milner Field
Prior to Round 1, many Shute Shield experts would have viewed this match up as a potential grand final preview. Eastwood is certainly living up to expectations, sitting on top of the table with 4 wins from 5 matches. The Woodies will be disappointed that they leaked 24 points against the Western Sydney Two Blues in their 15 point victory last week and will be hoping for a better defensive effort when they return home to TG Milner to face Eastern Suburbs. Easts are sitting a surprising 8th after the first 5 rounds. After losing 3 consecutive games the Beasties finally got their season back on track last week with a come from behind victory against West Harbour. I’m tipping the Woodies to be too good at home.
Hugh’s Prediction: Eastwood by 12
DrivingMaul Prediction: Eastwood by 10
Northern Suburbs v Sydney University at North Sydney Oval
The match of the round this week sees 4th placed Northern Suburbs host 5th placed Sydney University. Norths will be keen to get back in the winner’s circle after they lost their first game of the season last week against the in-form Randwick at Coogee. After the first 5 rounds the Shoremen look to have strong premiership credentials and they will be viewing last week’s loss as a slight hiccup. Sydney University has now lost 2 consecutive games after losing to the resurgent Gordon at Chatswood, despite scoring 5 tries to 4. Several reports have indicated that the Students were slightly underdone last week, with players out due to injury and an unsettled preparation. Things don’t get any easier this week with another trip to the North Shore against a quality opposition. This is a tough one to predict but I’m taking the home team.
Hugh’s Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 3
DrivingMaul Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 5
Southern Districts v Western Sydney at Forshaw Rugby Park
Southern Districts suffered their first loss last week when they went down in a 2 point thriller against Manly. They currently occupy second place on the table after winning their opening 3 games against West Harbour, Gordon and Randwick, before having the bye in Round 4. The Western Sydney Two Blues are yet to win a game in 2019, despite several encouraging performances. There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a tough season for the Two Blues and many would argue that in the professional era, the club from Parramatta faces many challenges that clubs in Sydney’s north and east don’t have to contend with. Many in the Shute Shield fraternity will be hoping that a win isn’t too far away but unfortunately for the Two Blues, I don’t think it will be this week.
Hugh’s Prediction: Southern Districts by 15
DrivingMaul Prediction: Southern Districts by 20
Warringah v Randwick at Rat Park
Warringah has had a less than ideal start to their 2019 campaign. They currently sit in second last place on the Shute Shield table, ahead of only the Western Sydney Two Blues, with 2 wins and 2 losses (along with last week’s bye). Their last 2 matches have seen them lose 50-0 to Sydney Uni and then beat Gordon fairly convincingly by 25-13. Some might say that the only consistent thing about the Rats in 2019 is their inconsistency. Randwick had a slow start to their season, not winning a game until their surprise Round 4 win over Easts. Last week saw the Wicks score their second consecutive upset victory, defeating Northern Suburbs 32-23. This looks to be a fairly evenly matched contest but I’m predicting that Randwick can make it 3 in a row.
Hugh’s Prediction: Randwick by 5
DrivingMaul Prediction: Randwick by 3
West Harbour v Gordon at Concord Oval
West Harbour had the chance to cause a huge upset last week when they led preseason premiership favourites Eastern Suburbs 27-10 at halftime. Although Easts undoubtedly staged a great second half comeback, word is that the Beasties’ winning try came after a West Harbour player was tackled without the ball during an attacking raid. If the Pirates can put in an 80 minute performance then they will challenge any team in the Shute Shield. Gordon had a day to remember last Saturday when they not only defeated defending premiers Sydney University in 1st grade but also won 2nd and 4th grade and drew 3rd grade in what may well come to be a season defining round for the Highlanders. Coach Coleman’s new structures and philosophies, as well as some key off season acquisitions, are clearly having a positive impact on the men in tartan. This should be a really intriguing contest, with both clubs looking at this game as a must win if they are to play finals football in 2019. I’m tipping Gordon to be too consistent for the Pirates.
Hugh’s Prediction: Gordon by 8
DrivingMaul Prediction: West Harbour by 3
Hugh: 13 from 25
DrivingMaul: 14 from 25
There’s 1 difference in our predictions this week, will Hugh even things up or will Paul open up a 2 game gap???
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