Club Corner: Club Rugby is back!

Shute Shield
by Nick Wasiliev

With the exception for Victoria and Queensland, most club competitions are now up and running across Australia, with the Tasmania Premiership kicking off this weekend. This weekend will be a particularly good round of rugby, with the stage set for many big rivalries to play out across multiple competitions.

Sydney - Shute Shield Round 2

The Shute Shield opening round threw out some exciting games of rugby, with many teams hitting the ground running and others delivering surprising results. The biggest of which was the success of Sydney University, winning at Rat Park in a grand final rematch. Southern Districts also picked up an impressive win against Eastwood, while Gordon also continued to show growth under Darren Coleman with an impressive win over Easts.

This weekend will see the return of the Penrith Emus to the competition, as well as several big clashes between Sydney Uni and Manly, and Randwick and Warringah.

RUGBY.com.au Match Of The Round:

Gordon vs. Two Blues - while it would be easy to pick a heavyweight match-up already mentioned, both these teams have shown promise for many years, particularly in their lower grades. What can be promised here is a fantastic game of footy with a lot of talent on display. Gordon will be favourites, having dispatched the Beasties 35-24 at home last week.

By comparison, the Two Blues travelled to one of the toughest venues to win at in Manly Oval, and despite going down 28-5, were far from disgraced in a fixture that many thought Manly would stroll through. The Highlanders will likely not be taking them for granted in this shortened season, but the men from the west do have it in them to cause plenty of headaches.

 

 

Other Fixtures:

Newcastle v Eastwood

Eastern Suburbs v West Harbour

Sydney University v Manly

Northern Suburbs v Penrith

Randwick v Warringah

The Eastern Suburbs-West Harbour clash will be live on 7TWO, with coverage starting from 3pm this Saturday.

Canberra - John I Dent Cup Round 2

Well, what an opening round to the John I Dent Cup we saw last weekend! Some big results occurred in the opening round, the most notable being the Uni-Norths Owls, who won an incredible 24-26 victory over the Royals away from home. Similarly, the other big improvers last year, the Gunghalin Eagles, won an arm-wrestle over Wests, while Tuggeranong put Queanbeyan to the sword at Viking Park.

This weekend will see a lot of teams looking to back up strong performances, with the Eagles and Owls having their first home games of the season.

RUGBYcomau Match Of The Round:

Tuggeranong Vikings vs Canberra Royals - This is an absolute no-brainer, and may be the club game of the weekend to watch not just in Canberra, but nationally. There are few rivalries in Australian Premier Club Rugby as hotly contested as the clash between the Vikings and the Royals.

A grand final re-match, with the Bob Hitchcock Shield up for grabs, the Vikings will likely see themselves as potential favourites here, but they’ll be coming up against a fired up Royals side looking to make amends for their loss to the Owls last week. Expect plenty of fireworks!

Other Fixtures:

Gungahlin v Queanbeyan

Uni-Norths v Wests

Head to the John I Dent Cup Facebook page for their live stream of the Vikings-Royals match, kicking off at 3pm.

Perth - WA Premier Grade Round 4

The traffic jam continues in the WA Premier Grade, with round four seeing five teams still unbeaten. Despite this, while many previous seasons of the Premier Grade have traditionally seen a big gap open up between the top half of the ladder and the bottom half, this year has also seen many closer matches, with the likes of the Coastal Cavaliers and Kalamunda picking up multiple losing bonus points.

Whether these teams can translate those results into upset victories is still up in the air. Round Four will see many of the teams without a win looking to get on the board, as well as several big clashes from teams at the top of the table.

RUGBYcomau Match of The Round:

Associates v Cottlesloe - Of the biggest clashes by teams fighting for the top of the ladder, we argue there is no clash more significant than this one between two of the stronger club teams in WA. In fact, this Battle of Broome Street may go a long way to decide the eventual minor premier.

Associates are currently leading the ladder and have cruised in their first three games with wins over ARKs, Bayswater and Wanneroo. However this weekend they come up against last year's competition winners. Cottlesloe currently sit in fourth, but are sitting only one point behind Associates, so a win here is critical in their defensive campaign.

Other Fixtures:

Coastal Cavaliers v Wanneroo

Kalamunda v Joondalup

ARKs v Perth Bayswater

UWA v Southern Lions

Nedlands v Palmyra

Wests Scarborough v Curtin Uni

You can watch the selected match of the round (Associates v Cottlesloe) over at wa.rugby.

Adelaide - Coopers Premier Grade Round 5

The last round of the Coopers Premier Grade saw a big opening up of the competition and a big split between the top five teams and the bottom five. This was characterised by big wins to Woodville, Old Collegians, Onkaparinga and Southern Suburbs. Round Five will see several big clashes between teams at the top of the table, which will give a good indicator as to who are the real contenders for the title this year.

Fixtures:

Brighton v Elizabeth

Woodville v Onkaparinga

Old Collegians v Southern Suburbs

Adelaide University v Burnside

Port Adelaide v Barossa

You can watch a live stream of a selected match of the round (Woodville v Onkaparinga) on Rugby SA’s Facebook page.

Darwin - Darwin First Grade Round 9

Round nine of the Darwin First Grade has already kicked off at time of writing, with the Darwin Dragons going swinging against current leaders University 0-14. The remaining match of the round will see Palmerston take on the Casuarina Cougars this weekend.

Expect plenty of passion in this encounter, as Palmerston have come close on many occasions to grabbing their first win of the season, and will see this a great opportunity.

Fixtures:

Darwin Dragons v University

Palmerston v Casuarina

Tasmania - Premier Grade Round 1

Finally, Tasmania will finally kick off it’s shortened ten round season this weekend. Since 2014, the competition has been a two-way race between Devonport and Taroona, with Deveport claiming the honours in 2019.

2020 will still see several big matches to kick off the season, with all games happening in Hobart.

Fixtures:

Hobart Harlequins v Glenorchy

Hobart Lions v Devonport

Taroona v University of Tasmania.

We hope you enjoy your club rugby this weekend, wherever you are! VIC Rugby is still currently postponed, and Queensland Rugby set to kick off August 1st.