Club Corner: Grand Final Day in the Top End, with top of the table clashes around the country

NT Premier
by Nick Wasiliev

Welcome to Club Corner, our weekly series where we preview the upcoming weekend of Australia’s premier club competitions. While most seasons are starting to head towards the halfway point of the regular rounds, we kick off with our first grand final of the year. 

Darwin - Darwin First Grade Grand Final: Casuarina v Darwin Dragons

 

The semi-finals of the Darwin First Grade served up a plethora of surprises, truly living up to the age-old analogy that finals footy is a different game. After going undefeated for the regular season, University was knocked over in thrilling fashion by Darwin Dragons, while Casuarina repeated the effort from the week before by beating South Darwin to book a home grand final.

All this points to a fantastic fixture this coming weekend, in what is set to be the first grand final of the year in premier clubland. We highly recommend rugby fans in Darwin get down to Northern Territory Rugby Park this Saturday for a fantastic fixture. To find out more, we previewed the upcoming final separately here.

Grand Final Fixture:

Casuarina v Darwin Dragons

Watch LIVE and FREE on Rugby Xplorer, available from the App Store, to stream the Grand Final live. Kick off is at 8pm local time on Saturday, August 15th. 

Brisbane - Hospital Challenge Cup Rd.3 

 

Round three of Brisbane’s Premier Grade competition will see several heavyweight clashes. GPS currently has looked the pick of the teams in the first fortnight, putting nearly sixty points against Wests and Souths. 

 

Additionally, Easts have also shown their not far off the pace either, dispatching Sunnybank in round one and putting away a solid Wests outfit away from home in round two. 

 

This weekend however will see current premiers University of Queensland return to playing after enjoying a bye, so we’ll be set to get a good indication of where these new contenders fit in the coming weeks. 

Our Match of The Round:  

 

University of Queensland v Easts - while the GPS-Brothers clash has also got us salivating, we’re keeping our eye firmly focused on this upcoming clash. UQ were made to work in their first game against Norths, but ultimately emerged victorious. They’ll be coming up against a strong performing Easts side that has started all guns blazing in this season. This is where UQ thrives however, and given they’ll be defending their title they’ll be up for the challenge. 

 

Other Fixtures:

Bond University v Norths

Sunnybank v Souths

GPS v Brothers

BYE – Wests

You can watch these games live on Rugby Xplorer.

Sydney - Shute Shield Rd. 5

 

The Shute Shield hits round five this week, and with several massive surprise results over the previous weekend many teams find themselves in very good positions on the ladder as we near the halfway point in the season. 

Randwick and Sydney University currently find themselves at the top of the ladder off the back of convincing wins, however they will have to watch their back after Gordon put on one of the most outstanding performances of the year, eviscerating the Rats 52-7 to put themselves very much in the hunt for a top finish. 

 

It would have been the match of the round, until Newcastle drew with Manly at Manly Oval, signalling off the back of solid performances by Western Sydney earlier that round and Penrith in round four that the traditionally weaker teams are looking more unpredictable this year. 

Our Match Of The Round:

 

Norths v Newcastle - it is a slightly quieter round on the Shute Shield, and of all the clashes this match certainly has us double taking and watching with interest. Norths will be favourites to win this, having not dropped a game so far this year. But the Wildfires are looking like an increasingly dangerous outfit, having asked plenty of questions of Eastwood before pulling off the big draw at Manly Oval. Shoreman, write these Novocastrians off at your peril! 

Other Fixtures:

Western Sydney v Eastwood

Manly v Gordon

Sydney University v Southern Districts

Warringah v West Harbour

Randwick v Penrith 

Eastern Suburbs - BYE

The Sydney University - Southern Districts clash will be live on 7TWO (in NSW) and 7plus, with coverage starting from 3pm this Saturday.

 

Canberra - John I Dent Cup Rd. 5

 

If there was any indication of how close the John I Dent Cup currently is, it was round four. Uni-Norths have continued their solid start with a well-fought win over Gungahlin, while Royals finally got their first win of the season with a victory over Queanbeyan. Then, Wests pulled the upset of the round by defeating heavyweights Tuggeranong in a thoroughly entertaining clash. 

 

This weekend, which sees us hit the halfway point of the season, sees several crucial matches in the context of the ladder. Wests find themselves sitting in third place, and have a great opportunity to solidify their position with a win over Queanbeyan. Royals and Gunghalin sit in similar positions, and while they’ve both not been far off the pace, a loss here would be a critical point in their respective seasons. 

Our Match Of The Round:

 

Tuggeranong Vikings vs Uni-Norths Owls: For all the games happening this round however, none compares to the importance of this match in the context of the season. For the Owls, this is the real challenge. While they are guaranteed first place regardless of the result, with a wet-weather bye coming up next week they’ll want to maintain momentum, and nothing will put the wind in their sales more than a win over arguably the strongest team in the Canberra club competition. The Vikings are a tough outfit to beat at home, and if there is any game that they’ll be up for, this will be it. 

Other Fixtures: 

Gungahlin v Canberra Royals

Wests v Queanbeyan

Head to Brumbies Facebook page for their live stream of the all the matches of this round, kicking off at 3pm. 

 

Perth - WA Premier Grade Rd. 7

 

We officially cross the halfway point of the season in WA this weekend. Current champions Cottlesloe are neck and neck with Joondalup at the top of the ladder, with all other heavyweight clubs in the competition not far behind. 

The likes of the Southern Lions and Wests Scarborough have also had improved performances over the last few weeks, as they have started catching up to the top six. This weekend however sees several interesting clashes, including a last realistic roll of the finals dice for the likes of ARKs and Coastal Cavaliers, who still are to pick up a win this season 

Our Match of The Round:  

 

Associates v Joondalup - Can anybody stop Brothers? Joondalup currently sit at the top of the ladder and have claimed some big scalps over the last few weeks. They come up against third-placed Associates however this weekend away from home, and with Cottlesloe facing the winless Cavaliers, a win for Brothers is required for them to maintain first place. Associates also have a big opportunity to claw back some ground on the two leaders with a win here. 

Other Fixtures:

Perth Bayswater v Nedlands

Wanneroo v Southern Lions

Kalamunda v Curtin Uni

ARKs v Wests Scarborough

Cottesloe v Coastal Cavaliers

Palmyra v UWA

 

You can watch the selected match of the round over at wa.rugby

Adelaide - Coopers Premier Grade Rd. 8

 

The business end of the season is starting in Adelaide, with the next few rounds determining the look of the finals for the year. Brighton have been the pick of the teams, however this weekend they face second-placed Old Collegians away from home, in a fixture that will likely decide the minor premiership if they manage to grab the win.

 

Fixtures:

Adelaide University v Elizabeth

Southern Suburbs v Onkaparinga

Port Adelaide v Burnside

Old Collegians v Brighton

Woodville v Barossa

You can watch a live stream of a selected match of the round (Southern Suburbs v Onkaparinga) on Rugby Xplorer.

Tasmania - Premier Grade Rd. 4

 

Lastly, Tasmania’s Premier Grade hits round four this week. Currently premiers Devonport are looking very much like the team to beat, having hit their stride with two big wins in the last fortnight. 

Taroona are currently the only other team close to them, but with only six points separating second and last, things could turn around very quickly if a team starts to string together some wins. 


Fixtures:

 

Glenorchy v Hobart Lions

Devonport v University of Tasmania

Taroona v Harlequins

 

We hope you enjoy your club rugby this weekend, wherever you are! 

 

Unfortunately, VIC Rugby is still currently postponed.