Club Corner: Chaos reigns as ladder leaders go down across the country

Hospital Cup
by Nick Wasiliev

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

Brisbane - Hospital Challenge Cup Round. 8

The Hospital Challenge Cup served up several tasty encounters, with several times being effectively consigned to the bottom of the ladder, while the race for the top four heats up. Losses to Souths, Norths and Wests now renders them unlikely to make finals. Brothers meanwhile are still in the hunt, but a close loss to top-placed University of Queensland now sees them more than a win off the pace.

This weekend will see several more clashes between the top of the ladder and the bottom, and while these games are more a matter of pride for the cellar dwellers, with only four points separating first and fourth no one in the top four can afford to drop a game, as Brothers could very easily swoop in to claim a spot.

Our Match of The Round:

Easts v Sunnybank - After starting slow this year, Sunnybank have been quick to regain the pace, and while in the bottom of the ladder, have managed to pull together some incredible performances, especially against some higher ranked teams.

Coming off the bye, they’ll have a tough assignment this weekend as they look to grab their last potential chance to be in finals contention: winning away against Easts. The hosts have been in solid form this year, and coming off the back of two big wins over Norths and Souths, will look to keep their good run going here. Anything can happen on the day!

Other Fixtures:

Brothers v SouthsWests v GPS

University of Queensland v Norths

BYE - Bond University

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

Sydney - Shute Shield Round. 11

Round Ten of the Shute Shield hit us with several entertaining encounters, especially out west where Penrith went down swinging against West Harbour in an extremely entertaining clash, while the Beasties kept their season alive with a critical home win over Sydney University. Hunter also grabbed their first win of the campaign, prevailing away from home over Western Sydney.

This upcoming round sees several monster clashes in the context of the top of the ladder, as Manly fight for finals contention against Eastern Suburbs and Sydney University host Randwick.

Our Match Of The Round:

Gordon v Northern Suburbs - One of the great grudge matches in the Shute Shield, the 2020 iteration will likely be an especially strong affair. Gordon are still to drop a game and have looked really solid across the season, however their title claims will be well and truly tested this weekend when second place turns up at Chatswood Oval, the first of several tough clashes for the Highlanders run home.

The Shoreman have picked up several handy wins over the last few rounds against tough opposition, and look to be peaking at the right time as they head into this game. If they pull off a win here, it will do much for their finals chances and confidence.

Other Fixtures:

Manly v Eastern Suburbs

Warringah v Western Sydney

Sydney University v Randwick

Eastwood v Penrith

Southern Districts v Hunter

West Harbour - BYE

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

 

 

Canberra - John I Dent Cup Round. 9

If there was any word to describe round eight of the John I Dent Cup this year, it would be bonkers. Three incredibly surprising results played out, with Gungahlin pushing themselves back into the top four with a massive win over top-of-the-table Uni-Norths. Then came arguably the biggest surprise of the afternoon, where the Royals struggled to put Queanbeyan away at home, with the Whites coming away with a thrilling 27-all draw. T

hen, finally, in what has been an incredibly tight season so far we saw our first real walloping, as the Vikings put on seventy against Wests to push them out of contention. Frankly, the quality of the competition this year has been nothing short of outstanding, and realistically this round, all bets are off. While the Whites are the only team mathematically out of contention, even they have shown they’ve got more than enough in them to put away even the best sides, and this weekend serves up several big clashes.

Our Match Of The Round:

Tuggeranong v Gungahlin - The Vikings claimed the top of the ladder with their big win last week, and this week they face up against the team that helped them do that (by beating Uni-Norths). Gungahlin have been a dangerous outfit all year, and we’re predicted to be a likely team in contention come finals.

While the road has been a rocky one, they now find themselves in that position to challenge, but with that comes one of the toughest assignments in the capital: winning at Viking Park. Expect a brilliant trio of games this weekend.

Other Fixtures:

Uni-Norths v Queanbeyan

Wests v Canberra Royals

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 Round. 12

Well, things just got interesting!

Round Eleven saw some monster results. While the competition had been a two way race between Cottesloe and Associates up until this point, the gap between them was significantly clawed back over the weekend. Cottesloe lost their first match of the year against Nedlands, giving Associates a perfect opportunity to claim the top of the ladder. But West Scarborough, beating them 28-27 to make up some major ground between second and third.

This capped off what was an insane weekend of rugby, which included a 50-all draw between ARKs and Wanneroo. It’s a strange game, rugby is. This weekend will see the penultimate round and even more chaos, with Cottesloe facing up against Joondalup in what will be a critical encounter. While 1-6 are effectively guaranteed finals contention, given the results we saw last week anything could happen.

 

 

Our Match of The Round:

Nedlands v Wests Scarborough - after last week, what other game was it going to be? One side knocked off first place, the other knocked off second. A top three finish is up for grabs, and both sides will be up for this.

While Nedlands have been up and down this year, they fact they pulled together a performance like last weeks shows they are very capable of knocking off West Scarbs. The visitors have been in great form of late, and with this match coming at such a critical time, will be up for this game.

Other Fixtures:

Perth Bayswater v Southern Lions

Cottesloe v Joondalup

UWA v Kalamunda

Palmyra v ARKs

Associates v Coastal Cavaliers

Curtin Uni v Wanneroo

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

Adelaide - Coopers Premier Grade Round. 13

The penultimate round of rugby is also upon us in Adelaide, with the top four in Brighton, Old Collegians, Burnside and Onkaparinga separated by ten points from fifth-placed Southern Suburbs. While the final four are set, where they finish within that is still up for grabs, and will lead to an interesting round of clashes this weekend.

The Demons will look for a win over Southern Suburbs to put their finals placing beyond doubt, while a top of the table clash looms between Brighton and Old Collegians.

Fixtures:

Elizabeth v Adelaide University

Onkaparinga v Southern Suburbs

Barossa v Woodville

Burnside v Port Adelaide

Brighton v Old Collegians

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

 

<.p>

Tasmania - Premier Grade Round. 9

With eleven points separating the Devonport Bulls from second-placed Taroona Penguins, the minor premiership will be heading to the north of Tassie this year.

However, while first and second are now set in stone, the race for the two remaining finals positions could be taken by any of the other teams, which will mean that several teams seasons will likely rest on the performances of this weekend.

Fixtures:

Harlequins v Taroona

Hobart Lions v Glenorchy

University of Tasmania v Devonport

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