Club Corner: ACT, SA, Tassie, SA and WA final rounds set to kick off

Shute Shield
by Nick Wasiliev

Welcome to Club Corner, our weekly series where we preview the upcoming weekend of Australia’s premier club competitions. With multiple club regular seasons coming to an end this weekend, this leaves plenty of opportunities for massive results this weekend.

Brisbane - Hospital Challenge Cup Rd. 9

The Hospital Challenge Cup saw several teams secure their finals placings in round eight, with University of Queensland ruining Norths finals hopes, Easts win over Sunnybank, and Brothers stay in touch with a sixty point drubbing of Souths. Brothers are now a realistic chance of making finals. Wests upset GPS, meaning the Gallopers only hold a two point lead over Brothers taking their finals position.

This weekend will see University of Queensland enjoy a bye, and with first spot up for grabs Easts and Bond University are the only teams that realistically can overtake them. Wests will have a last roll of the dice clash with Easts, Sunnybank will host Bond Uni, and Souths will host GPS.

Our Match of The Round:

Norths v Brothers - Norths finals chances are as good as gone, but their scoreless loss to Uni of Queensland last week was not an accurate reflection of the strength of their squad. Finishing the season on a high can be as potent a motivator as any, especially when wins start to come, and the hosts will have more than enough in them to knock off Brothers.

The visitors are looking great with several solid wins back-to-back and a finals position within their grasp. But, one loss and things could suddenly go pear shaped. They can’t afford to lose this game, and must be wary of this Norths side.

Other Fixtures:

Sunnybank v Bond University
Easts v Wests
Souths v GPS
BYE - University of Queensland

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

 

 

Sydney - Shute Shield Rd. 12

What a round of surprises the Shute Shield served up! Over last weekend, several teams made big impressions, including Eastern Suburbs and Warringah, who picked up solid wins. However, the two standout matches saw Randwick, who have dropped several matches and were slipping down the ladder, reaffirm their title credentials by demolishing Sydney University at home.

Then came the top of the table clash between Gordon and Norths, and the Battle of the North saw a vital win to the Shoreman, handing the Stags their first loss of the year and closing the gap between them to a solitary point. This upcoming round sees several big clashes, including Western Sydney travelling to West Harbour, Norths hosting Souths, Warringah facing a dangerous Hunter outfit in Newcastle, and Eastern Suburbs hosting Penrith, who officially were confirmed to be returning to the Shute Shield in 2021 this week. And frankly, it’s great to have the Emus back.

Our Match Of The Round:

Gordon v Sydney University - This particular clash has been widely anticipated for much of this season, as Gordon has, until last week, been virtually unstoppable. The clash between them and last years’ competition winners will likely have extra significance however, as the Stags loss last week could mean they slip to second, should they lose again.

The Students, meanwhile are sitting in fifth following their loss at home to the Wicks, and with Eastern Suburbs and Southern Districts close on their tails a loss here could also be critical for their season. Rugby fans should get along to this game at Chatswood Oval, it is going to be close.

Other Fixtures:

Randwick v Manly
West Harbour v Western Sydney
Northern Suburbs v Southern Districts
Hunter v Warringah
Eastern Suburbs v Penrith
Eastwood - BYE

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

Canberra - John I Dent Cup Rd. 10

It’s crunch time in the capital! While many competitions have often devolved into horse races at the top of the ladder, the John I Dent Cup in 2020 has been one of the most hotly contested competitions, with five of the six teams still potentially up for competing in finals. Tuggeranong hold a slender two point lead at the top of the ladder, with Uni-Norths close on their tale.

The Royals round out the top three, all of which are guaranteed to make finals. However, fourth place sees a tight race between Wests and Gunghalin, who sit equal on competition points. This weekend will see several big clashes, and with so much to play for, every match could have a significant impact on the finals. Even Queanbeyan, who are out of finals contention, have shown they are more than capable of pulling off an upset this weekend.

Wests will head to the border to play the Whites this weekend, while the Royals will look to win at home against Gungahlin, and if they do win with a bonus point, a potential second place finish and home semi-final beckons, should the Owls lose to the Vikings.

Our Match Of The Round:

Uni-Norths v Tuggeranong - Second v first. The minor premiership literally rests on this match. Uni-Norths have led the competition for the majority of the season, however losses to the Royals and Eagles saw them lose their spot to last year’s grand finalists. The fixture earlier this year at Viking Park was a beauty, with the Vikings winning by two points. Uni-Norths now have the chance to make club history and make their run into the finals that much better with a home semi.

The Vikings will be guaranteed a home semi and will not finish lower than second, but if they lose here it could severely dampen their momentum going into finals. The finals may not be here yet, but this match might as well have the significance of one!

Other Fixtures:

Queanbeyan v Wests
Canberra Royals v Gungahlin

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

 

🏆 One week to go! #JIDC

A post shared by John I Dent Cup (@johnidentcup) on

 

Perth - WA Premier Grade Rd. 13

Well, they don’t call it the business end of the season for nothing! In what was an incredible penultimate round of footy, Associates finally caught Cottesloe and find themselves with a chance to take the minor premiership this weekend and secure a home final run.

Cottesloe were unable to account for Joondalup at home, and their second loss on the trot now sees them sit in second place behind Associates, who demolished the Cavaliers 127-3. Both sides won’t finish lower than second however regardless of this weekend’s results, with Palmyra, Wests Scarborough, Joondalup and Nedlands all guaranteed a finals placing.

Wanneroo and UWA sit on equal points, while Kalamunda is a bonus point win outside the top eight, and will need to pull off a big surprise this weekend and hope for favourable results if they are to make it to finals. This weekend, both the top two face opponents who are already out of contention, and while UWA is a likely favourite to beat Curtin Uni, Wanneroo might find their finals position in jeopardy if they don’t beat third placed Palmyra at home.

Our Match of The Round:

Kalamunda v Nedlands - going off the Wanneroo-Palmyra clash, this game looms as a particularly significant one for the hosts. Win with a bonus point, (and Wanneroo lose), and they could snatch a finals place.

While they are coming up against finals-bound Nedlands, the visitors have suffered a jekyll-and-hyde season that has seen them, occasionally, lost games against traditionally weaker opposition. Regardless, Kalamunda need to show up and play their best footy, as failure to do so will see their season come to an end.

Other Fixtures:

Coastal Cavaliers v Joondalup
ARKs v Cottesloe
Southern Lions v Associates
Wests Scarborough v Perth Bayswater
Curtin Uni v UWA
Wanneroo v Palmyra

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

Adelaide - Coopers Premier Grade Rd. 14

The final round of the Coopers Premier Grade is upon us, and the top four all locked in, the competition now becomes a race of who finishes where. Southern Suburbs will finish in fifth, while Woodville and Port Adelaide are currently battling for who will fill the sixth finals position.

Interestingly, Burnside could still take the minor premiership if they win with a bonus point this weekend and Brighton lose. Aside from that as well, the top four are all playing each other in what will likely be a preview of the semi-finals, with Old Collegians hosting Burnside and Onkaparinga travelling to Brighton. All this shapes up for what may be an interesting final round in the context of the season.

Fixtures:

Port Adelaide v Southern Suburbs
Elizabeth v Barossa
Adelaide University v Woodville
Old Collegians v Burnside
Brighton 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. 10

The final round of the Tasmanian Premier Grade sees first, second and third all locked in, with Devonport taking the minor premiership and Taroona and Hobart Lions finding themselves in a position where neither of them can catch each other.

However, this weekend Harlequins and Glenorchy are still in contention to take fourth place, and with only one point separating them, it becomes a simple game for both clubs: win, at all costs. The Penguins will also look to finally spoil what has been a great season for Devonport, when they host them this weekend in a 2v1 clash.

While finals placings aren’t up for grabs, bragging rights certainly will be.

Fixtures:

Glenorchy v University of Tasmania
Hobart Lions v Harlequins
Taroona v Devonport

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