We're getting to the business end of senior club rugby around the country with vital finals matches being played in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth over the weekend.
In Sydney qualifying finals will be played, In Brisbane the grand final participants will be decided, while in Canberra, Melbourne and Perth we will be one step closer to knowing who will grab some silverware in 2017.
The Manly Marlins come into the finals in good form, but will look to return to winning form against Eastwood on Saturday.
“I think we lacked a bit of energy and urgency the last couple of weeks, obviously we’ve achieved what we’ve wanted to achieve so far, but we really need to front up with our energy again, and put in a good performance,” Manly lock and skipper Adrian Hall said.
Eastwood will also look to turn around an ordinary few weeks.
“I’d like to think our record hasn’t reflected some of the rugby we’ve played, I think we’re capable of better, and I think our experience will help us this weekend," Woods captain Jed Gillespie said.
Souths will begin a similar mission this weekend to what their opponents Norths completed last year, turning a hot vein of Shute Shield form into a drought-breaking premiership win.
“We take a lot from what they did last year, this is our maiden premiership we’re going for, there’s a lot of pressure on us, being the form team of the competition, but we thrive on that,” Souths skipper Marcus Carbone said.
After a stunning 2016, the Shoreman slumped slightly this year, finishing fifth.
“We went on a similar run last year, but we have got experience in finals, and we played at Souths last year with a raucous crowd, so we’re expecting a similar sort of thing this Sunday.” Norths flanker Hugh Sinclair said.
The Warringah Rats looked like the best team in the Shield at times this year, and face an exciting match-up with Randwick this Saturday, whom they beat last month.
“You always take confidence from victories, Randwick are a quality side, they’ve got threats across the park, that game was very even, I think both teams really like to throw the ball around, it makes for an exciting game," Warringah flyhalf Hamish Angus said.
Randwick have lost two games in a row entering finals, but are confident of their ability to win.
“We’ve looked through our games from the weeks just gone, and the game against the Rats, and we’ve looked at what we can improve on and what we did well, we’re one of the teams that still has a lot of improvement to go coming into the finals.” Galloping Greens captain Andrew Deegan said.
MANLY v EASTWOOD | Manly Oval, kick-off 3:10pm
Manly: Sio Tatola/Mitch Lewis, James Hilterbrand, Gunnz Fuavao/Alex Westgrath, Junior Palau, Adrian Hall, Harry Bergelin, Sam Shires/Kotoni Ale, Dan Alley, Tim Donlan, Sam Lane, Tom Chesters, Kevin Fuavao, Dennis Pili-Gaitau, Jacob Woodhouse/Cam Brailey, Josh Turner/Jacob Woodhouse
Eastwood: Jed Gillespie, Hugh Roach, Rob Lagudi, James Neale, Adam Campbell, Michael Kovacic, Tevita Piukala, George Kent, Matt Gonzalez, Blake Sutton, Zack Mackay, Tom Hill, Mike McDougall, Fabian Goodall, Liam Windon
WARRINGAH v RANDWICK | Pittwater Park, kick-off 3:10pm
Warringah: Rory O’Connor, Rob Kelly, Sam Needs, Jack Tomkins, Cam Treloar, Maclean Jones, Tom Connor, Sam Ward, Josh Holmes, Myles Dorrian, Harry Jones, Josh Gillard, Seb Wileman, Sailosi Tagicakibau, Dave Feltscheer.
Randwick: Tristan Goodbody, Adam Freier, Cameron Betham, Esei Ha’aingaa, Ed Kennedy, Nick Kellaway, Jack Johnson, Stephen Hoiles, Mitch Short, Andrew Deegan, Andrew Kellaway, Ben Starkey, Harry Hutchinson, Latu Latinipalu, Lachlan Anderson.
SOUTHS v NORTHS | Forshaw Park, kick-off 3:05pm
Souths: Connor Young, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Duncan Chubb, Angus Ryan, Jake Douglas, Alex Perez, Marcus Carbone, Jed Holloway, Sam Harris, Rohan Saifoloi, Alex Gibbon, Apolosi Latunipulu, Luke Smart/Denny Godinet, Ben Connolly, Jamie Verran.
Norths: Ezra Luxton, Sam Kitchen, Lawrence Hunting, James Brown, Conor Vest, Gary Bautz, Will Miller, Hugh Sinclair, Nick Duffy, Angus Sinclair, Lachlan Creagh, Harry Burey, Cameron Clark, Richard Woolf, Augustin Slowik.
QUEENSLAND PREMIER RUGBY
University of Queensland will battle Sunnybank this weekend for a spot in the final, as they attempt to leave last week’s shock loss to GPS in the rearview mirror.
“I think the Dragons present a similar sort of challenge, they have a big forward pack, big ball runners, our defence will need to be good in the middle and the edges, as will the set piece. We just need to get back to doing what’s best, which we went away from under pressure.” UQ coach Mick Heenan said.
Sunnybank also think they can improve, after stealing last week’s minor semi-final after the siren.
“We need to be a hell of a lot better this week, the Red Heavies will pose more threats, they’ll cash in on those line breaks, they’re lethal on the counter attack, so we need to slow ruck speed and control possession. If we can match them up front and control the collision, I think we’re a chance,” Dragons coach Damon Virtue said.
UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND v SUNNYBANK | Ballymore Stadium, kick-off 3:05pm
University of Queensland: Sef Fa’agase, Campbell Wakely, Reuben Leilua, Sam Pim, Patrick Morrey, Angus Scott-Young, Jack De Guingand, Moses Sorovi, James Dalgleish, Harry Parker, Alex Horan, Josh Birch, Jock Campbell, Nathan Russell
Sunnybank: Daniel Anae, Moli Sooaemalelagi, Feao Fotuaika, Josh Fenner, David Findlay-Henaway, Brendan Mitchell, Chazz Mahina, Jeffrey Faamausili, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Jake Strachan, Richard Kingi, Isaac Lucas, Joey Fittock, Ritchie Ah Chong, Junior Laloifi
JOHN I DENT CUP
The Tuggeranong Vikings and Wests Lions will do battle this week for a place in the final.
Tuggeranong had one foot in the decider last week, but were unable to snatch the match from the Canberra Royals, whilst Wests ended Queanbeyan’s season 24-8.
Tugggeranong: Sione Taula, Michael Henry, Liam McGrath, Cam Holt, Darcy Swain, Sua Tonga, Joey Vejvoda, Ben Hyne, Ryan Lonergan, Fred Dorrough, Len Ikitau, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Andrew Robinson, Joey Langtry, Sam Giltrap.
Wests: H. Lloyd, T. Luteru, B. Coutts, K. Leauma, L. Rasch, R. Valenti, M. Tye/A. Allen, B. Kaino, C. Ashmore, T. Campbell, T. Samuelu, N. Jooste, B. Leber, J. Luteru, J. Astle
PINDAN PREMIER GRADE
Palmyra will play Associates for a spot in the Grand Final, despite Associates having beaten Palmyra last week, whilst Wests Scarborough play Nedlands for the right to face the loser of the major semi-final.
Wests Scarborough: 1. Nick McLennan, 2. Chris Kidd, 3. Baxter King, 4. Alec Dravitski, 5. Matt O`Brien, 6. Andries De Meyer, 7. Kane Koteka, 8. Brody MacCaskill, 9. Ryan Burge, 10. 10. Walter Koteka, 11. Jordan Luke, 12. Louie Toetu, 13. Brad Lacey, 14. Josh Tinomana, 15. Jarome Leonard TeKanawa
Palmyra: 1. Mees Erasmus, 2. Shane Manu, 3. Hamiora Tioke, 4. Onehunga Havili, 5. Michael McMillan, 6. Joel Winterburn, 7. Pau Halafihi, 8. Hayden Croghan, 9. Kieran Duffin, 10. Sam Jurisich, 11. Jackson Neilson, 12. Tutere Waenga, 13. Michael Fotu, 14. Lafaele Vaa, 15. Manihera Eden
Associates: 1. D'Adamo, 2. Clarke, 3. O’Dea A, 4. Manukia, 5. Valentine, 6. Hardwick, 7. Gorrie, 8. Taylor-Menzies, 9. Doherty, 10. Ingram T, 11. Warren, 12. Godwin, 13. Ingram R, 14. Colleran, 15. Owen
Melbourne Unicorns will face Box Hill Broncos for a place in the final this weekend. The Unicorns were defeated by minor premiers Harlequin by seven points last week, whilst Box Hill defeated Footscray Bulldogs in the minor semi-final.
Melbourne: Alesana Matiasi, Jerome Trail, Mark Higginson, Aaron Kelly, Shaun Mortensen, Poloie Schwalger, Ikapote Tupai, Joe Maiava, Thomas Donaldson, Paul McConnochie, Mataiasi Nairavu, David Massey, Telea-Afa Faatau, Lucas Bianchi, David Benson
Box Hill: Jack Wootton, Patrick Leafa, Ben Williams, Moses Haukinima, Serupepeli Uru, Joeli Baleilovu, Ravaela Dau, Atino Vaihu, Rahul de Silva, Daniel Yakopo, Filipe Koroibola, Nacanieli Turaga, Kitione Ratu, Nailati Ukalele, Michael Thompson