Shute Shield Season Preview

Fri, 09/04/2021, 04:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Players pose with the Shute Shield ahead of the 2021 Season | Getty Images

This week celebrates the return of club rugby across the country, with the Shute Shield set to return for another season.

With every match set to be broadcast on Stan Sport, it shapes up to be one of the best years for club action in recent memory.

Watch every minute of the Shute Shield and Hospital Cup on Stan Sport. Start your Free Sport Trial Now

Main title contenders

From the hunters to the hunted, Gordon enters this season as the team to beat after breaking their 22-year title drought with a 28-8 win over Eastwood.

The club has undergone a major overhaul in personnel, headlined by the loss of Ken Catchpole Medallist Mahe Vailanu and coach Darren Coleman.

This has ensured that the competition will be wide-open in 2021, with the likes of Sydney Uni, Easts and Randwick looking to bounce back after disappointing finishes to the season.

As for Eastwood and Norths, they will be hoping that they can build off their impressive finals run as they look to return to the top.

Charter Hall Shute Shield Launch

Players to watch and key off-field signings

With the Waratahs undergoing a rebuild, the Shute Shield this year looms as a proving ground for some of the next generation.

The bye for the Tahs has allowed for the likes of Tane Edmund (Eastwood), Henry Robertson (Sydney Uni) and Charlie Gamble (Easts) to return for their respective clubs for the opening round.

However, the selectors will be paying close attention to Randwick flyhalf Ben Donaldson, who is set to play his first game back after suffering a quad injury during pre-season training.

Also in that Randwick side for the weekend is Michael Wood, with the former Junior Wallabies coming down from Queensland with plenty of hype.

Whilst they may not command the same level of attention as their rivals, Penrith and the Two Blues have brought in some quality talent, with the Emus retaining league convert Andrew Fiagatusa.

Must-watch fixtures

With every game live on Stan Sport, there is no excuse to miss some of the biggest games in the competition.

The competition is set to kick off with a bang as Manly resumes hostilities with Gordon at Manly Oval.

The Two Blues-Emus derbies never fails to deliver, with Western Sydney set to welcome Penrith to their new home ground Eric Tweedale Oval in Round Three.

In the same round, Randwick will welcome long-time rivals Easts to Coogee Oval, in a clash that always throws up classic games.

Eastwood will have to wait until Round Nine before they get a chance to exact revenge on Gordon for their Grand Final loss, set to travel to Chatswood Oval.

As finals talk starts to ramp up, the season will end with a blockbuster clash between Manly and Warringah at Manly Oval.

For full 2021 fixtures, click HERE

READ MORE:

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Prediction

This is probably the most wide-open competition in recent memories, with half-a-dozen teams holding legitimate claims to the title.

Sydney Uni will be hurting after they shock finals defeat, with Gordon and Easts expected to once again contend.

However, it would not be surprising to see Randwick hoisting the Shield in the second week of September, especially if flyhalf Will Harrison is available for the second half of the season.

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