Club Corner: All the action around the country

Hospital Cup
by Nick Wasiliev

Club Corner: Uni of Queensland reclaim top spot in Queensland, Owls, Gordon, Brighton and Cottesloe look to consolidate positions.

Welcome to Club Corner, our weekly series where we preview the upcoming weekend of Australia’s premier club competitions. 

Brisbane - Hospital Challenge Cup Rd. 7

University of Queensland has officially woken up, and with a critical away win against GPS now find themselves in the lead for the first time this year. This came in spite of wins to Easts and Bond University, with the latter now making their best run to the finals in years. 

This weekend will likely see a major separation between the top four and the chasing back. Brothers are currently one win away from overtaking GPS, but to stay in touch they have to knock over University of Queensland. Wests have a similarly critical game against Bond University, while Souths, who are now realistically out of final contention, facing up against Easts.

Our Match of The Round:  

Norths v GPS - aside from going down 31-7 last week against Easts, it’s fair to say that Norths have really been unlucky to not have more wins come their way. They have shown themselves to be able to go toe-to-toe with several teams currently in the top four, but have often lacked those critical one percenters to get the W. This weekend however, they’re up against a GPS side that has lost two of their last three games, and is clinging onto fourth place by three points. While GPS will likely be motivated to bounce back, a loss here to Norths could, if other results go against them, could realistically push them out of contention. They need to stand up here if they want to make finals.

Other Fixtures:

Brothers v University of Queensland

Wests v Bond University

Souths v Easts

BYE - Sunnybank

All Hospital Challenge Cup games are live and free on Rugby Xplorer, available on the App Store.

Sydney - Shute Shield Rd. 10

Round Nine was a round of statements being made in the Shute Shield. A clash of many rivalries including The Battle Of The Beaches, the Battle of the West, and several critical clashes in the context of season. However, current premiers Sydney Uni were the first to signal their strength, putting fifty on West Harbour to claim second place. However, then down at Coogee, Gordon again showed the Stag faithful that this is year to believe, hammering Randwick 14-42.

This upcoming round will see several teams looking to catch the chasing pack, with Norths facing Randwick, Eastwood hosting Manly, Eastern Suburbs hosting Sydney Uni, and the Two Blues looking to go back to back against the Wildfires.

Our Match Of The Round:

Penrith v West Harbour: Yes, this match is likely not going to do much in the greater scheme of the ladder, but for the Penrith Emus, this is a real opportunity. Losing at the death to the Two Blues last week shows just how much the men from the West have come since their 2018 axing, and with the home ground advantage, have a great opportunity to get the winless first grade monkey off their back. The Pirates have been below par this year and will be desperate for a win, but should they underestimate this Emus side, they could find themselves with an even more dubious bit of history to their name.

Other Fixtures:

Eastern Suburbs v Sydney University 

Eastwood v Manly 

Western Sydney v Hunter 

Gordon v Southern Districts 

Northern Suburbs v Randwick 

Warringah - BYE

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

Canberra - John I Dent Cup Rd. 8

Only three rounds of the regular season of John I Dent Cup remain, and with five teams still in the running for finals, there’s plenty to play for. Round Seven saw several game-changing (pardon the pun) results, with the Uni-Norths Owls going down to the Royals, and Gungahlin keeping their season alive with an entertaining win over Wests. 

Going into this round, the Owls still hold a three point lead at the top of the table due to bonus points, but with Tuggeranong looking like they’ve hit their strides they’ll need to win every game from here on out to earn that home semi-final. Several critical matches loom this weekend, with Royals looking to consolidate their finals position against Queanbeyan, and Gunghalin looking to stay in touch, and will likely smell blood to get a win against Uni-Norths. 

Our Match Of The Round:

Tuggeranong v Wests: Wests have been looking the goods for the last few rounds, grabbing strong wins over several top teams. However, their loss to Gungahlin last week could be critical for their season chances, so every win counts now if they want to earn that semi-final finish. They have a tough ask this week, heading down to Viking Park to tackle Tuggeranong, who are within striking distance of first place. Critically, if Gungahlin beat Uni-Norths and Tuggeranong beat Wests, the Vikings could move to first and Wests could drop out of the top four. Frankly, both sides NEED to win. 

Other Fixtures:

Gungahlin v Uni-Norths

Canberra Royals v Queanbeyan

Head to the John I Dent Cup Facebook page for their live stream of these matches this weekend, kicking off at 3pm. 

Perth - WA Premier Grade Rd. 11

The Fortescue Premier Grade remains a two-way horse race going into round eleven, with just three points separating Cottesloe and Associates for first and second. With just two rounds to go after this weekend, the run home for all sides looks like a difficult one, especially for Kalamunda, who are currently in contention for the top eight.

This weekend will see several top ladder clashes, including Joondalup taking on UWA and Nedlands hosting Cottesloe. But there is one particular clash that is really perking our interest this coming weekend...

Our Match of The Round:  

Wests Scarborough v Associates - Wests Scarbs have been enjoying a particularly strong second half of the season, having won five of their last six matches. This has included an impressive away win over Joondalup last week. However, this weekend they host second placed Associates, who are currently looking to catch the Gulls in the race for the minor premiership. With Cottesloe facing an inconsistent Nedlands side, Wests will see a great opportunity to take third place, and Associates will need to win here. They don’t call it the business end of the season for nothing. 

Other Fixtures:

Perth Bayswater v Palmyra

Coastal Cavaliers v Curtin Uni

ARKs v Wanneroo

Nedlands v Cottesloe

Southern Lions v Kalamunda

Joondalup v UWA

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

Adelaide - Coopers Premier Grade Rd. 12

Round eleven was a bloodbath in the Coopers Premier Grade, with big demolition wins across all fixtures. Southern Suburbs put fifty on Adelaide Uni, Old Colleagues put eighty on Woodville, Burnside put ninety on Elizabeth, and Brighton and Onkaparinga won with triple figures. This weekend however will see several top of the ladder clashes that will look to sure up the top of the ladder and separate the contenders from the pretenders, with Old Collegians hosting Onkaparinga, and Southern Suburbs hosting Brighton. 

Fixtures:

Elizabeth v Port Adelaide

Woodville v Burnside

Adelaide University v Barossa

Southern Suburbs v Brighton 

Old Collegians v Onkaparinga

All Coopers Premier Grade games can be watched live and free on Rugby Xplorer, available on the App Store.

Tasmania - Premier Grade Rd. 8

Round Seven on the Tasmania Grade had several interesting results, with Devonport finally being tested by a strong Harlequins side. While the Bulls still got up, the nature of the competition showed that there is potential for the other teams to challenge their stranglehold on the top of the ladder. Taroona also picked up a big win, and with several interesting clashes this weekend things look certain to heat up in terms of who will make the top four for semis. 

Fixtures:

Hobart Lions v Taroona

University of Tasmania v Harlequins

Devonport v Glenorchy

Finally, VIC Rugby has finally announced the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Several players in the Rebels Academy have now moved to other clubs interstate to try and get game time. We hope that everyone in Victoria is staying safe during this period, and hope to see you on the other side of lockdown soon. 

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