Club Corner: Finals footy heats up across the country

by Nick Wasiliev

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

The finals for ACT, WA, Tasmania and South Australia heat up this weekend, while the final round of regular season footy is upon the Brisbane and Sydney club competitions. 

Brisbane - Hospital Challenge Cup Rd. 11

The final round of the club competition is upon us, and following round ten some big results saw several clubs now run the risk of missing out on finals. Brothers continue to push hard, jumping over Bond University into the top four with a win over Norths. University of Queensland also reclaimed the top of the ladder with a win over Wests, setting up a desperate dash for the finish line in the final round.  

This weekend the top of the ladder will be playing each other for critical positions come finals, while one team will be playing for their season. Of the two biggest clashes in the context of the season, one, Brothers v Easts, will see Easts try to reclaim the top of the ladder, while Brothers will look to sure up a top four finish (or if they win, maybe even finish as runners up depending on other results). 

Our Match of The Round:  

Bond University v University of Queensland - the other big match of the round is, of course, the university derby. Bond University have had a really positive season, however going down to GPS last week saw them slip out of finals contention.

With only one point separating them and fourth placed Brothers, they simply need to win this match. No buts about it. University of Queensland, meanwhile, also can’t afford to drop this match. They are currently first by three points and won’t finish any lower than second place, but should they lose, Easts have the potential to overtake them and claim the minor premiership. Put it simply, they need to win too.

Other Fixtures:

Brothers v Easts

Wests v Souths

Norths v Sunnybank

BYE - GPS

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

Sydney - Shute Shield Rd. 13

The final round of the Shute Shield is also upon us, however the race for the top of the ladder is already decided. Following their demolition of the Emus last week and and Norths loss to Sydney University, Gordon have claimed an unassailable lead and will finish as the minor premiers for 2020.

The Stags deserve it, aside from their loss to Norths, they have been the team to beat this year and look a rejuvenated side. The job is still not done however, and with one round to go there is still plenty to play for, and come finals footy, all bets are off.

This weekend there are still several big clashes lined up, including Eastern Suburbs hosting Randwick in a clash for fourth and fifth, Warringah will host Northern Suburbs, and the Emus will look to finish their season on a high when they host the Hunter Wildfires.

The Emus have come close on several occasions this year but that first win has still eluded them, and they will fancy themselves against Hunter, who have had a positive first season back in the competition.

Our Match Of The Round:

Eastwood v Gordon: The fact this match has already sold out says it all. Eastwood have really started to finish strongly the last few rounds, having not dropped a game in their last three matches.

They also may sense a chance to take the wind out of Gordon’s sails, as this match for them won’t affect the Stag’s standing. Gordon would be wise to not to get complacent, and not take the Woodies for granted. The match is set to be a beauty, so be sure to watch it this weekend (wherever you can!)

Other Fixtures:

Warringah v Northern Suburbs

Eastern Suburbs v Randwick

West Harbour v Southern Districts

Western Sydney v Sydney University

Penrith v Hunter

Manly BYE

The Eastwood - Gordon lash will be live on 7TWO, with coverage starting from 3pm this Saturday. 

Canberra - John I Dent Cup Semi-Finals

And now, into finals territory! Only four teams remain in the capital (ironically, mirroring the exact same semi-final fixtures as last year), and it’s fair to say after the season we’ve had, these games are too tight to call.

Uni-Norths have slumped in the last few weeks, but write them off for this match at your peril. They didn’t finish as runners up for nothing, and have proven that they have it in them to win the competition. Up against them is a Royals side that needs to bounce back following being shown up by Gungahlin last week.

They’ll need to be at their best if they want to put away this Owls outfit, so there is plenty to play for here!

The second fixture sees the Vikings, who finished as minor premiers, up against arguably the most dangerous looking team in the competition.

All bets are off now finals are here, and while the Vikings are an imposing outfit and will likely be favourites (especially given they won the last fixture between the two sides), the Eagles are peaking at the right time, putting sixty on the Royals last week, as well as knocking off the likes of Wests and Uni-Norths convincingly.

This will be a fascinating match to watch, and finals footy at it’s best!