Welcome to the Shute Shield Round 11 predictions. Last week’s results appeared to be fairly predictable with plenty of tipsters on Superbru correctly predicting the winner in all 5 games. The race for the finals is heating up with 9 (possibly 10) teams having a realistic chance of finishing in the top 6. Social media has been abuzz with plenty of chatter about the fact that 7 of the 11 teams have a second bye, which attracts 5 competition points. This is in contrast to the first bye which every team has and receives no competition points. This anomaly could certainly have an impact on the placings at the end of the regular season.
For those readers able to view 7 Two or access 7 Plus (https://7plus.com.au/shute-shield), the televised game this week is the game between West Harbour and Northern Suburbs.
Eastern Suburbs v Southern Districts at Woollahra Oval
Eastern Suburbs lost their second consecutive game last week, going down to Northern Suburbs by 1 point a week after being comprehensively beaten by Gordon in Orange. According to reports, it was a much improved performance against Norths who had to come from behind to snatch victory from the Beasties. Mack Mason’s improved performance last week will be encouraging for the Easts’ coaching staff as he will be crucial in the Beasties’ charge towards the finals. Southern Districts’ finals chances continue to dwindle after a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Eastwood. A win against Easts this week will give the Rebels a much needed boost prior to their match against the Western Sydney Two Blues in Round 12. This could be a season defining match for Souths but unfortunately for them, I’m predicting Easts to win in a tight one.
Hugh’s Prediction: Eastern Suburbs by 5
DrivingMaul Prediction: Eastern Suburbs by 7
Gordon v Randwick at Chatswood Oval
Traditionally Gordon and Randwick are two of the best and most enthusiastically supported clubs in Sydney. They had some epic battles towards the end of the amateur era, regularly playing in front of crowds in excess of 5000. Long-time Gordon supporters still reminisce about the night-time semi-final in the early 1990s when future ACT Brumby and Wallaby winger outpaced the great David Campese following an intercept to score the match winning try in front of a near capacity crowd at North Sydney Oval. Randwick supporters will remember their fantastic run of 6 consecutive premierships, including their 1992 grand final victory over Gordon, with equal fondness.
Gordon will be bitterly disappointed that they once again failed to close out a game against a higher ranked opponent after giving up 3 unanswered tries in the closing 20 minutes against Manly last week. The Highlanders have arguably been the competition’s biggest improvers in 2019 but if they are to reach their season goal of playing finals football then they need to maintain their focus and defensive structures for the full 80 minutes. Randwick’s recent good run of form came to an abrupt end last week at the hands of traditional rivals Sydney University. The Wicks currently sit in equal 7th place on the ladder with Gordon, only 2 points behind Eastern Suburbs. This is a crucial game for both clubs but I’m predicting Gordon to get the job done at home.
Hugh’s Prediction: Gordon by 5
DrivingMaul Prediction: Gordon by 5
Sydney University v Manly at Sydney University Football Ground
Sydney University has been in impressive form over the past month, winning their past 4 games. Last week saw the Students compile a 40-18 win over their traditional rivals Randwick at Coogee. Uni currently sits in 4th spot on the ladder but a big win here could see them jump straight up to top spot. Manly has managed to regain some form in recent weeks with a hard fought win over West Harbour in Round 9 and a stirring come from behind victory over Gordon last week. The Marlins showed great determination in defence to repel numerous attacking raids from the Highlanders in the closing minutes and will be looking to replicate that defence against a potent Uni team. On their day, the Students are undoubtedly one of the best teams in the competition and I’m predicting that they’ll be too strong for the Marlins.
Hugh’s Prediction: Sydney University by 7
DrivingMaul Prediction: Sydney University by 5
West Harbour v Northern Suburbs at Concord Oval
Northern Suburbs have the chance to claim top spot on the Shute Shield ladder this week with current competition leaders Eastwood having the bye. The Shoremen came from behind last week to secure a hard fought 1 point victory over Eastern Suburbs. West Harbour fought tenaciously against Warringah at Rat Park but went down 30-24. The Pirates won’t make things easy for Norths and will be looking to make the most of their last few games at the much maligned former home of New South Wales rugby (and the host of the famous 1987 RWC Semi Final between France and Australia) before its redevelopment commences in 2020. I think that Wests are definitely a chance of an ambush here but I’m sticking with Norths.
Hugh’s Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 14
DrivingMaul Prediction: Northern Suburbs by 10
Western Sydney v Warringah at Camden Rugby Park
The Western Sydney Two Blues have had a tough few weeks since their outstanding win over Southern Districts back in Round 6. They will be fresh after the bye last week and will be aiming to ensure that they maintain their composure and discipline for the full 80 minutes. The Two Blues would love nothing more than to reward their loyal supporters with a victory over a more fancied opponent at their temporary home at Lidcombe. Their opponents, Warringah, certainly won’t take the Two Blues lightly. The Rats have climbed up to 3rd place on the ladder after winning their past 6 games, including last week’s 30-24 win over a tenacious West Harbour. As part of a commitment to play games outside of Sydney this game will be played at Camden Rugby Park, the home of the mighty Camden Rams. For those who don’t know, Camden is an historic town approximately 70km south-west of Sydney and the Rams play in the Illawarra Rugby Union. It’s a long road trip for the Rats but I’m tipping them to continue on their winning way.
Hugh’s Prediction: Warringah by 23
DrivingMaul Prediction: Warringah by 20
Hugh: 29 from 50
DrivingMaul: 29 from 50
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