Hi gang. Here are the details of tomorrow’s matches — plus last round’s results and the comp ladders — so you can stay abreast of the who, where and when of your city’s premier club rugby smorgasbord. The Friday workload is getting away from me so I’m putting the important stuff up on the blog now, and I’ll be back this evening (or first thing tomorrow, at a pinch) to add my ill-informed, highly questionable comments and prognostications. UPDATE: supplementary bullshit has now been loaded.
Queensland Premier Rugby
Round 12 Results:
Brothers 31 def. GPS 24
Norths 39 def Sunshine Coast 25
Sunnybank 43 def. Souths 8
University 35 def. Gold Coast 17
Easts 19 def. Wests 14
I got one prediction right in last week’s preview: the Brothers–Jeeps match was a beauty. The Brethren took an early lead and were never headed, but the Gallopers pushed them try for try and were within reach until the death. The Eagles and the Stingrays put on a ten-try show with the home team getting the lion’s share, thanks in part to their opponents’ discipline and execution problems in the second half. The Red Heavies — who were presented with their jerseys by Mr and Mrs Appleby — had emotion, a huge home crowd and a couple of Wallaby replacements on their side in their match against the Breakers, who led early but were overpowered as the game wore on. That big win was a strong statement from the Dragons, who never let the Magpies into the game. Matt Lucas was in great form, bagging two tries and four conversions from six shots. That’s six wins on the trot for Sunnybank. The Bulldogs, playing at home, gave it hard to the Tigers and were in it until the final minutes. The game featured willing, risky attack and yielded five good tries.
Sunshine Coast* 14
Gold Coast 13
*game in hand
Round 13 Fixtures:
Easts v. Norths at Bottomley Park, 3:00pm
GPS v. Sunnybank at Yoku Road, 3:20pm
Sunshine Coast v. Souths at Stockland Park, 3:00pm
University v. Brothers at St Lucia 1 (5A), 3:00pm
Wests v. Gold Coast at Sylvan Road, 3:00pm
The Tigers host the Eagles in the round’s least-even contest and will be targetting a bonus point with a view to regaining top spot on the table. The Gallopers are facing the Reds — OK, the Dragons, who have named names like Holmes, Anae, Wallace-Harrison and Shatz among their eight. It’s a big challenge for Jeeps, who really can’t afford to let their rivals get a further four or five competition points ahead. Stingrays versus Magpies is a good middle-of-the-table clash, with the visitors’ lineup enhanced by a promising blond breakaway named Robinson. Bulldogs–Breakers is similarly even, albeit coming from a few rungs south on the ladder. In the match of the round University have loaded the list with names like Hanson, Shepherdson, Lance, Morahan and Davies, with a certain M. Giteau a late ring-in on the bench, in preparation for a visit from the comp-leading Brethren. I’m tipping the Brothers anyway, as well as Easts, Sunnybank, Suncoast and Wests. After this round the same four teams should be at top of the table but the points spacing could be much wider.
Sydney Premier Rugby
Round 16 Results:
Randwick 30 def. West Harbour 5
Sydney Uni 62 def. Penrith 7
Norths 29 def. Souths 26
Manly 28 def. Easts 20
Warringah 23 def Eastwood 19
Gordon 29 def. Parramatta 25
The rain and the chaos have cleared and Round 16 was wrapped up on Wednesday night. If you missed the news, the Rats handed the Woods their first loss of the year and they’re probably still celebrating. It was a solid two-tries-to-one win, with the Woods’ five-pointer coming quite late and making the score just respectable. Everyone loves an upset, but we should pause to credit where the Woods have got themselves in season 2011 so far: they’re into the finals, they have 15 wins from 16 starts, they’re 546–305 on for-and-against and lead the table by a mile with 71 points including 11 BPs. Also under lights that night, the Marlins consigned the Beasts to fifth spot on the table and the Galloping Greens got a good positive workout against the Pirates. Looking back to the games that went ahead last Saturday, the Emus were totally overpowered by the Students; they tried hard and their organisation was good, but the difference really was a matter of height, weight and sheer muscle, right across the park. The Two Blues had the game in the bag against the Highlanders but then self-destructed: a red, a yellow, 13 men, three tries conceded… it’s an ugly story. The Shoremen had to come back strongly in the second half to beat the Rebels; it wasn’t quite the convincing win they should have achieved, but the ladder shows them in fourth and that’s a good reward for a sustained mid-season recovery.
Sydney Uni 54
West Harbour 32
Round 17 Fixtures:
West Harbour v. Manly at Concord Oval, 3:00pm
Penrith v. Randwick at Nepean Rugby Park, 3:00pm
Norths v. Sydney Uni at North Sydney Oval, 3:00pm
Gordon v. Souths at Chatswood Oval, 3:00pm
Easts v. Warringah at Woollahra Oval, 3:00pm
Eastwood v. Parramatta at T. G. Millner Field, 3:00pm
Pity the Pirates and Marlins, backing up less than 72 hours after their mid-week matches. Manly have winning momentum on their side but not stability in the lineup… I’ll keep pondering which way I’m tipping while I continue typing this preview paragraph. Back in Round 6 the Emus dished the Wicks by a point at Coogee; the honours should go the other way this time. A highlight of the game will be the battle between two in-form number eights, Kornelio Burgess in black and Henry Vanderglas in green. Phil Waugh and Al Baxter have played a lot of games together over the years but probably not all that many against each other; we’ll see their last clash on the box when ABC1 shows Norths–Uni as the match of the day. The Students also boast Dan Vickerman in their pack. The Highlanders and the Rebels are both looking like 2011’s also-rans and that’s a shame for both clubs. How about this set of Rebels three-quarters: Denan Kemp (11), Brackin Karauria-Henry (12), Rob Horne (13) and Nick Honey Badger (14)? Their pack has names, too: Ulugia, Palmer, Douglas, Vaea. The slumping Beasts versus the resurgent Rats? Toss a coin. The Two Blues couldn’t meet the Woodies at a worse time but they gave them a good shove in Round 6 and we can expect them to compete hard well into the second half. OK, it’s time for me to lodge my tips: Pirates for the upset, Wicks, Shoremen, Rebels, Beasts, Woods.
ACT & Southern NSW Premier Division
Round 15 Results:
Tuggeranong 22 def. Royals 20
Wests 39 def. Uni-Norths 26
Queanbeyan 23 def. Easts 20
These matches were played a fortnight ago. I’m including the results again as a guide to form. Eyewitness accounts say the Lions–Owls game was a close contest until the closing stages; Wests have had a few high-scoring matches through this middle phase of the comp. Easts and Royals probably did enough to win their matches but ended up on the wrong side of the results sheet. Those close losses are the ones that colour a club’s whole season, eh?
*game in hand
Round 16 Fixtures:
Wests v. Easts at Jamison Oval, 3:05pm
Royals v. Gungahlin at Phillip Oval – Field 1, 3:05pm
Uni-Norths v. Queanbeyan at ANU North – Field 1, 3:05pm
I hate to say it but the Owls look like being a snack for the Whites down by Barry Drive tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if the men from Struggletown can pick up a bonus point as well as four for the win; doing that could kick them well clear on the table of the Royal Blues, whose mid-season charge towards fourth place is losing steam. The Eagles should be that bit too strong in the clash at Phillip, although they’ve changed about half the starting XV since their last match three weeks ago, so now that I think about it, Royals are in with a decent chance after all. The Lions, like the Whites, can make the pointy end of the season easier for themselves by taking a BP win against the Tricolours, but that prospect is not as straightforward now as it would have been a month ago, when the Belconnenites were flying high and Easts were yet to find any winning form. Anyway, I’ll get off the fence: Whites, Eagles and Lions to win and win well, underlining their finals ambitions emphatically.