Around the Grounds: Rats break their derby drought

by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

Saturday's club rugby was highlighted by a blockbuster rivalry clash in front of a huge crowd at Manly Oval.

Here's what caught our eye from the club footy around the country.


Waratah Harry Jones got to revel in the winner's dressing room as Warringah brought the Manly Marlins undefeated run in the 2017 Shute Shield to a shuddering halt.

But at one stage it looked like a yellow card to Jones was going to be the major turning point in the big northern beaches derby won 17-16 by the Rats and played out in front of more than 7000 fans at Manly Oval.

Jones was carded with his Warringah Rats leading 10-9 and in his time off the field the Marlins' USA Eagles hooker James Hilterbrand scored a crucial five pointer that saw the home side jump to a 16-10 lead.

The Rats, who haven't won at Manly Oval since 2007, weren't done with and another hooker Rob Kelly sneaked over out wide and skipper Hamish Angus calmly slotted the conversion from the sideline for the final scoreline.


Another Jones, Waratah Maclean Jones, was also prominent in the heroic defensive effort from the Rats that saw them keep the Marlins at bay for much of the final five minutes.

At Chatswood Oval, Gordon came from behind to defeat Northern Suburbs 38-37 in the other big derby after the Shoremen had led by 10 points at the break.

Former Wallabies Stephen Hoiles and Julian Huxley featured on the field as Randwick defeated Penrith 71-26.

Hoiles turned out for the Galloping Greens and scored a try while Huxley ran on for the Emus and those at Coogee Oval said he has lost none of his poise and pace.


Manly 16 Warringah 17

Gordon 38 Northern Suburbs 37

Randwick 71 Penrith 26

West Harbour 31 Eastern Suburbs 38

Southern Districts 59
Parramatta 24

Eastwood 29
Sydney University 15


Cadeyrn Neville was the only Red that played club footy yesterday. Photo: Getty ImagesWith the Reds taking 29 players to Samoa, Cadeyrn Neville was the only squad member that turned out for his club team yesterday.

He started in the second row for Bond but couldn't get them over the line against a desperate Easts outfit.


Easts 38 Bond University 27

Norths 31 GPS 29

Souths 37 Wests 22

University of Queensland 21 Brothers 15


Tom Cusack has been a regular fixture for the Royals this year. Photo: Getty ImagesTwo tries in the second half by Rio Sevens Olympian and Brumbies flanker Tom Cusack helped the Royals close out a tight one against the Uni-Norths Owls on Saturday.

The Royals have been the form team of the Canberra-based competition winning by an average of 43 points each weekend but the Owls, led by another Brumbies squad member Lolo Fakaosilea, pushed them all the way and only got up 27-26.

The result was a major turnaround after the first round match between these two team saw the Royals race away to a 76-12 victory.

The Owls sit seven points outside the top four as they chase a drought-breaking finals spot while Royals are flying high with a perfect record after eight games.


Royals 27 Uni-Norths 26

West 71 Easts 10

Queanbeyan 29 Gungahlin 14


With the Rebels playing and still struggling with injuries, Pat Leafa was the only full time squad member in action yesterday.

He started for Box Hill in their win against Endeavour Hills.

Southern Districts weren't able to field a team against Harlequins - a disturbing sign for the Pirates - who have a strong junior base.

Quins still lead the competition, with Rebels Academy member and local talent Ah-Mu Tuimalealiifano dominating in 2017.


Power House 22 Moorabbin 27 

Box Hill 43 Endeavour Hills 14

Melbourne 46  Footscray 13

Harlequins 28 Southern Districts 0 (Souths forfeit)


No games were played this weekend in Perth.