Club Corner is back once again to discuss the upcoming matches in clubland this weekend.
The club season is finally on a roll nationally, with this weekend seeing the last major competition on the mainland kicking off, with the Dewar Shield in Melbourne. Coinciding with several surprise results last week across clubland all around Australia, things are certainly on the move in the premier grade space!
SHUTE SHIELD - ROUND FIVE
There was much buzz heading into round four, and boy did it not disappoint! Several huge upsets occurred over the weekend, with the Marlins grabbing bragging rights over the Rats, Eastern Suburbs shocking the Wicks at home, and Norths going down by one point to Eastwood in Cowra.
Even more noticeable with the ambush of the Western Suburbs teams, with the Pirates making light work of Souths, before the Two Blues grabbed arguably the upset of the round, knocking over Gordon to post their win at Eric Tweedle Stadium.
This weekend will likely serve as a fascinating litmus test of the pecking order. With all teams having won and lost, the competition is wide open for teams to get on a roll, and for the established teams to be challenged.
Match of the Round - Manly v Norths
Following their win last week in the Battle of the Beaches, the Marlins return home this weekend on a three match winning streak and full of confidence. They have good reason to be, and will likely fancy themselves against the Shoreman, who still lead the ladder despite their loss to Eastwood in round four.
It’s statement time for Norths. Until last week, they had shown themselves to be more than up for the challenge of knocking Sydney University off the premiership perch and claiming their first championship since 2016. The Eastwood victory exposed a lot of weaknesses in their game plan, and with the ladder as close as it currently is, a victory at the north end of the A8 will be critical for them to open up some space between them and the chasing pack.
Gordon v Randwick
Sydney University v Two Blues
Eastwood v Warringah
Hunter Wildfires v West Harbour
Souths v Eastern Suburbs
Waratah and Two Blues Fullback Tevita Funa has proven himself to be a valuable weapon for the men from the west, and was instrumental in their incredible win over the Stags on the weekend. This weekend he’ll be up against the Sydney Uni backline, and while it will be a challenge, he has shown he can be more than a handful for the biggest heavyweights in the competition. His injection has given the Two Blues a much needed, punching, attacking go-forward, and we suspect it won’t be the last time he proves instrumental in victories for the Two Blues.
TEAMS:Banks, Rodda return
TICKETS:Wallabies-England on sale
QUEENSLAND PREMIER GRADE - ROUND TWO
In a round that served up several surprises, the opening week of the Hospital Challenge Cup served up some incredible rugby. While grand finalists UQ and GPS started on the front foot, the round also saw several surprising results, including Easts keeping Sunnybank scoreless, and Norths and Souths being unable to be separated when the final whistle was blown.
This weekend will likely serve as a strong indicator of the pecking order, with Bond University entering the fray and several heavyweight clashes, including Wests taking on Brothers and UQ hosting a seemingly resurgent Norths outfit.
Match of the Round - GPS v Easts
The two standout teams of round one go head to head this weekend, and it’s a match that could loom as a critical clash given both sides have come the closest over the last few years to ending the Red Heavies consistent challenges for the Cup. GPS has to overcome a tough, resilient Brothers outfit to win away from home, and while they’ll welcome the return to Ashgrove, they come up against a side desperate to make amends for a lacklustre 2021.
Easts had a tough season last year, going into the year with high hopes following their premiership win in 2020. They put all of that behind them in round one with a strong performance against Sunnybank, and with that momentum will be primed to take a big scalp and show their intentions for this year.
Sunnybank v Bond University
UQ v Norths
Wests v Brothers
Souths - BYE
UQ flyhalf Brad Twidale had a strong outing last week as the premiers held on for a strong finish against Wests. He showed fantastic maturity as he directed the backline around the paddock at home, and while it is still early in the season, definitely fired a warning shot to the rest of the competition that they’ll have to work to take the Cup off the Red Heavies.
FORTESCUE PREMIER GRADE - ROUND FOUR
Several firing shots were seen across round three of the Fortescue Premier Grade, with one-sided affairs the order of the day. Palmyra, Wests Scarborough, Perth Bayswater and Nedlands all put in commanding performances to either put their seasons back on track, or open up strong leads at the top of the ladder.
This weekend, Associates will host Wests, UWA will take on a rampaging Kalamunda, and an in-form Southern Lions host Perth Bayswater.
Match of the Round - Cottesloe v Palmyra
A clash of heavyweights will take place at the Cottesloe waterfront this weekend, with the Gulls looking to make up for inconsistent form that has plagued the start of their season. While the win over Wanneroo made a huge difference, Palmyra will likely be a considerable threat, looking to kick start their season after their loss in round one.
Associates v Wests Scarborough
ARKs v Nedlands
UWA v Kalamunda
Joondalup v Wanneroo
Southern Lions v Perth Bayswater
Rockingham - BYE
JOHN I DENT CUP - ROUND TWO
The John I Dent Cup served up some brilliant opening clashes, with Tuggeranong, the Royals and Wests all bagging the chocolates. However, the likes of Queanbeyan and Penrith proved to be tough nuts to crack, with the Emus had an especially positive opening round despite the loss.
This weekend Uni-Norths will enter the competition as they host Wests, while the Emus will enjoy their second week at home as they look for their first win in the competition against Queanbeyan.
Match of the Round - Royals v Tuggeranong
Likely the derby of the weekend, the Royals will be desperate to get back to winning ways against the Vikings after a lacklustre 2021. The clash between North and South is a favourite in the capital, and given the dominance of the cup Tuggeranong have enjoyed the last few years, expect plenty of fireworks this weekend at Phillip Oval.
Penrith v Queanbeyan
Uni-Norths v Wests
Gungahlin - BYE
DEWAR SHIELD - ROUND ONE
The Dewar Shield will get back underway this weekend for the first time this season, off the back of the Super Round held in Melbourne last week. Clubs will be especially chomping at the bit to get going, with the last two seasons cancelled due to the pandemic.
This weekend serves as a chance for many of the rugby faithful in Victoria to hit the reset button, with several heavyweight clashes combined with the Rebels playing Moana Pasifika headlining a strong weekend for the game.
Match of the Round - Endeavour Hills v Melbourne
It comes as no surprise that the match between the two leaders of last year’s comp serves as the perfect opener for the 2022 season. Melbourne have had a stranglehold on the shield for years, but Endeavour Hills showed on multiple occasions last year that they have it in them to challenge for a title. Hopefully they can continue that form with an entertaining clash this weekend.
Footscray v Moorrabbin
Melbourne University v Harlequins
Box Hill v Power House
COOPERS PREMIER GRADE - ROUND FOUR
Round three saw several close clashes, with Southern Suburbs, Adelaide University, Old Collegians and Brighton all posting wins. However, Onkaparinga and Burnside showed impressive performances despite going down, as did Elizabeth, further suggesting this season of the premier grade will be a lot closer.
This weekend sees several big clashes, including Brighton taking on Old Collegians, Onkaparinga will host Elizabeth, and Southern Suburbs will travel to Port Adelaide.
Barossa v Adelaide University
Port Adelaide v Southern Suburbs
Brighton v Old Collegians
Onkaparinga v Elizabeth
Woodville v Burnside
Be sure to get out and support your local team. Enjoy your club rugby this weekend, and stay safe!