Welcome to the Shute Shield Round 12 predictions.
With only 7 rounds to go in the regular season, all teams are well and truly focussed on finishing in the top 6 and qualifying for the finals. Every team has now had their mandatory bye and, as stated last week, 7 of the 11 teams will have a second bye. Teams that receive a second bye will also receive 5 competition points, unlike the first bye. Warringah, Sydney University, Eastwood and Southern Districts are the 4 teams who will not have a second bye. Gordon is the first team to receive their second bye and the ensuing 5 competition points.
Round 12 is set to be a fascinating week with all of the top 6 teams playing each other. This combined with the natural unpredictability of this year’s competition and it is a tipster’s nightmare!
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 Warringah and Eastern Suburbs.
Eastwood v Sydney University at TG Milner Field
Eastwood and Sydney University have been far and away the two most successful Shute Shield clubs over the past 20 years, winning 16 of the last 20 premierships between them. Both teams will be keen to win as many games as possible over the remaining 7 rounds of the season as neither of them have a second bye, unlike other top 4 contenders Manly and Norths. Eastwood has led the competition for much of the season but has been relegated to second place on the ladder after being the last team to have their first bye last week. Their last game was back in Round 10 where they had a convincing win over Southern Districts. Sydney University played host to Manly last week and led 21-10 going into the break before letting in 17 unanswered points to go down 27-21. If they are to beat the Woodies then they’ll need to ensure that they play the full 80 minutes. I’m tipping Eastwood to score a narrow win.
Hugh’s Prediction: Eastwood by 5
DrivingMaul Prediction: Eastwood by 5
Manly v Northern Suburbs at Manly Oval
Manly surprised a few people last week with their stirring come from behind win over Sydney University. The Marlins were clinical in the second half as they piled on the points and held firm in defence. Although they’ve been somewhat inconsistent so far in season 2019, they’re certainly capable of beating any side in the competition on their day. Northern Suburbs make the short trip across the infamous Spit Bridge in third spot on the ladder after being edged out by West Harbour last week. The Shoremen had won 4 in a row leading into Round 11 so they’ll be looking to recapture some of that form at the Village Green. Manly often lift at home where they are buoyed by the parochial and boisterous Marlins Army, so I’m predicting that they will score a narrow win.
Hugh’s Prediction: Manly by 7
DrivingMaul Prediction: Manly by 5
Western Sydney v Southern Districts at Lidcombe Oval
The Western Sydney Two Blues continue to languish in last place on the ladder, their sole win coming in Round 6 over this week’s opponent, Southern Districts. Last week, the Two Blues performed admirably against competition heavyweights Warringah but went down 49-24. The Rebels haven’t won a game since mid-April (Round 3 v Randwick) and will probably drop out of finals contention if they don’t get at least 4 points this week. This a tough one to pick and with both teams being prone to defensive lapses it has the potential to turn into a shootout. The Two Blues will enter this game with plenty of confidence but I’m predicting that Souths will get their fourth win of the season and almost certainly consign the Two Blues to the wooden spoon in 2019.
Hugh’s Prediction: Southern Districts by 5
DrivingMaul Prediction: Western Sydney Two Blues by 1
Randwick v West Harbour at Coogee Oval
Randwick badly needs a win here to stay in touch with the top 6. They fought hard last week against Gordon but eventually went down by 2 points when despite spending long periods of time attacking the Highlanders’ line, they were unable to crack the resolute Gordon defence. West Harbour scored the upset of the round last week when they kicked a drop goal after the siren to defeat Northern Suburbs by 2 points and keep their finals hopes alive. A win over Randwick followed by their second bye next week will put them very much in contention to make the top 6. The Wicks have lost their last 2 games but I’m predicting that they will be too good this week.
Hugh’s Prediction: Randwick by 12
DrivingMaul Prediction: Randwick by 7
Compete with Hugh & I in the DrivingMaul SuperBru picking league
Warringah v Eastern Suburbs at Pittwater Rugby Park
Warringah now sits in first place on the Shute Shield ladder after their seventh consecutive win last week. They were too good for the Western Sydney Two Blues at Camden, dominating most facets of the game to run out winners by 49-24. Eastern Suburbs should prove to be a tougher opponent as they are in sixth place on the ladder having won 5 of their 10 matches. Last week the Beasties overcame tenth placed Southern Districts by 8 points. With seventh placed Gordon guaranteed 5 competition points this week, Easts will drop out of the top 6 if they lose to the Rats. The Beasties won’t make it easy but I’m predicting that Warringah will make it 8 in a row and continue to lead the competition into Round 13 next week.
Hugh’s Prediction: Warringah by 15
DrivingMaul Prediction: Warringah by 10
Hugh: 32 from 55
DrivingMaul: 32 from 55
We have gone different on 1 game so there will be a leader after this weekend!
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