Around the Grounds: Marlins on the defensive

by Staff Writer

NSW Waratahs squad members were out in force as the Shute Shield played their Round Three fixtures over the Easter holiday weekend and the Manly Marlins emerged as the big improvers in 2017.

A total of 19 Waratahs squad members played for the clubs over the weekend that saw Northern Suburbs, Gordon, Randwick, Eastwood, Manly and Warringah all grab wins but the one that spoke of great off season resolve was the 60-0 win of the Marlins over the Parramatta Two Blues.

All the other major club competitions had the weekend off and will resume on April 22.

Shute Shield

They may not sit on top of the Shute Shield competition at the end of Round Three but the Manly Marlins have certainly made a statement about their intentions in 2017.

The Marlins defeated the Parramatta Two Blues 60-0 at Manly Oval on Saturday, backing up good wins over Southern Districts (35-17) and Sydney Uni (36-10) at Manly Oval in the first two rounds of the competition.

They are equal on points with Eastwood and Northern Suburbs, the other undefeated sides but after three weeks of the new season have put their hand up as the form team of the competition.

The Marlin's early season emphasis has been on the quality of their defence and new Head Coach Brian Melrose certainly a happy man on Saturday night, with the Two Blues zip scoreless at full time.

 

Head Coach Billy Melrose addressing the squad #manlymarlins #shuteshield #clubrugby #nswrugby

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The home team were boosted by the presence of Matt Lucas who was among 19 Waratahs who played Shute Shield for the clubs over the weekend.

Lucas worked off the bench with Melrose happy with the form of Tim Donlan, the man who will be at the base of the scrum for the club for the vast majority of the year.

Sam Lane, who has played Super Rugby for the Queensland Reds and trained with the Waratahs before crying off with a knee injury, has been one of the Marlins better performers, taking the ball to the line and working well with his outside men including Tom Chesters and Dennis Pili-Gaiteau.

Last year’s grand finalists Sydney University have hit a tough patch in the early stage of the competition, going down to Randwick 28-27 at Coogee Oval.

 

Randwick v Uni Coogee Oval easter weekend #theshuteshield #intrustrugby #makerugbygreatagain #grassroots #randwickrugby

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The students saw the return of Wallaby and Waratah scrumhalf Nick Phipps, with Andrew Kellaway and Reece Robinson turning out for the 'Galloping Greens' in front of huge crowd at Coogee Oval.

Last year's finalists went into the halftime break with a 9 point lead, before Randwick rallied through the boot of Waratahs fringe playmaker Andrew Deegan and winger Robinson.

Uni had an opportunity late it the game with a steal from former Waratah Tom Carter in the 79th minute, however a gallant Randwick defence stood firm, and gave the home team a much needed one point win.

University now take on Northern Suburbs next weekend in Bowral, while Randwick head from East to West to Parramatta.

Norths kept their 16-match win streak alive but left it late when they defeated Southern Districts 46-37 at North Sydney Oval on Good Friday.

The Rebels, who featured the hard-running Tah Jed Holloway, got their nose in front with five minutes left on the clock but the Shoreman scored twice (including one five-pointer after the bell) to overhaul the visitors in front a healthy holiday crowd.

Fellow Waratahs Irae Simone and Bryce Hegarty were part of a good overall effort by the Shoremen who lost skipper Hugh Sinclair and Will Miller to the Melbourne Rebels earlier in the week.

Another Tah Angus Ta’avao played the first 25 minutes of the match in a comeback from a broken leg sustained in the first minute of the NRC semi-final against the Perth Spirit for the Sydney Rays in October of 2016 and performed well at scrum and around the field.

Gordon kept Todd Louden's Pirates in the red for 2017, while Eastern Suburbs have shown improvement under a new coaching structure in 2017, with a 13 point loss to Eastwood. 

Former Wallaby, Aussie Sevens, Rebel, Reds and Brumbies player and now Emus Coach Julian Huxley has yet to see a win in his debut head coaching gig, with Penrith going down Warringah at Nepean Park.

RESULTS

Intrust Super Shute Shield Round 3

Northern Suburbs 46 Southern Districts 37

Gordon 29 West Harbour 13

Randwick 28 Sydney University 27

Penrith 5 Warringah 76

Eastern Suburbs 26 Eastwood 39

Manly 60 Parramatta 0

LADDER

1. Eastwood 15 

2. Manly 15

3. Northern Suburbs 15

4. Warringah 12

5. Gordon 11

6. Randwick 10

7. Southern Districts 6

8. Eastern Suburbs 6

9. Sydney University 5

10. Penrith 1

11. West Harbour 0

12. Parramatta 0

Catch the Intrust Super Shute Shield every Saturday from 3pm AEST on 7TWO in NSW and online.

Queensland Premier Rugby

No games played due of the Easter break.

Catch the Queensland Premier Rugby every Saturday via redsrugby.com.au and the Queensland Reds Facebook page from 3pm local time.

Pindan Premier Grade

No games played due of the Easter break.

Dewar Shield 

No games played due of the Easter break.

John Dent I Cup

No games played due of the Easter break.

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