Eastwood Preview Round 11
By Paul Treanor
A big day at Manly Oval that had all the makings of a perfect day with Eastwood winning the first three games. However it was not to be with Firsts coming up against a very strong, committed Manly side that had revenge on their minds and an unbeaten record they wanted to maintain. For Eastwood, the consistency the Coach spoke about was not there and so we came away with three wins from four matches. Still a fine result for the club. It’s unfortunate the draw does not include an opportunity to play Manly at home as a replay would be another block buster. Manly also miss a second game against University so it is going to be hard to catch them over the remaining eight rounds.
Meanwhile at Millner the games followed the weather. Colts Thirds had to play their first half in the rain and did not really get into the game resulting in their first loss of the season. As the weather improved so did Eastwood’s performance winning both Seconds in a tight finish while Firsts had a dominating win over Manly in a game played in bright sunshine and warm weather that would be a hot summers day in England.
We remain in third place on the club championship slightly reducing the lead held by Manly while University’s weekend results sees them increase their lead on us for second place by 17 points. Colts are also unchanged still sitting in third place on the Colts Championship.
This week it is back to home for Grade taking on Warringah who is the only Club we have yet to met this season. Colts will travel to Rat Park to contest three games against their Colts sides and will be looking to make the trip worthwhile.
4th Grade 1st Place
Fourths got back into the winners circle storming home to win 26 – 22. This week it won’t be any easier as they play the team sitting one place behind them in second place on the ladder and who have lost just the one game.
David Rose is again on the injured list and Paul Ng Shiu takes his place in the pack. Tyler Spitz has been promoted to Thirds and a reshuffle of the back line makes way for Gerard McTaggart to return to full back after been out for five weeks.
Warringah’s only loss was against West Harbour and since then have won three on the trot. Last week it was a narrow 30 – 28 win over Penrith while the week before they beat Gordon 30 – 0. They have a better defensive record but have not scored as many points as Eastwood. The game shapes up one of the games of the year for Forth Grade as you would expect when first takes on second. Eastwood will need to build on last week’s game if they are to retain top spot on the ladder. A good reason to get down to Millner early as this should be the closest game of the day.
3rd Grade equal 4th Place
Third Grade continued on from where they left off against University beating Manly 36 – 6. The win sees them move to be level with Southern Districts on points and just four points behind third placed Manly.
This week there has been a change at half back with Max Page coming in replacing Andrew Ferris who has been promoted to Seconds. They will be without the Club’s leading try scorer, James Martin who is out injured. Sione Kupu drops back to full back with Tyler Spitz coming into the centres.
Warringah have had the same number of losses as Eastwood but have not done so well with bonus points. They are in 7th place four points behind Eastwood. They have lost to West Harbour twice, Southern Districts and University. Eastwood have now won four in a row and have been improving each week. Having accounted for two of the top sides in the last two weeks another similar performance should see them too strong for the Rats. However any slip back into bad habits will see the winning run come to an end. Now is the time to start putting it together in the run into the finals.
2nd Grade 1st Place
The Cardiac Ward was on standby for the Coach as Second grade again left it to the last minute to take the points. This time they did one better than the draw with University coming up with a two point win over the previously undefeated Manly side. Supporters and Coaches alike respectively request, please don’t leave it the last minute this week.
This week there is only the one change to the side with Andrew Ferris replacing Max Page at half back. Gareth Palamo, who was sighted sitting on the hill with Pierre Hola during the First Grade game against University is named as a fresh reserve for the side this Saturday. It’s hard to sit and watch.
Warringah had a big win last outing over Penrith (65 – 10) claiming only their fourth win of the season. They are sitting in 6th place and will have to pull something out of the bag to upset the competition leaders particularly with Gareth Palamo coming on as a replacement.
1st Grade 3rd Place
The loss late in the week of Shanin Proctor to the shoulder injury he suffered against University saw young Matthew Gonzalez plucked from Colts Firsts to play in his First Grade debut. Unfortunately for Matthew it was not Eastwood’s day against a very dominant Manly pack that drove the Eastwood side back in both defence and attack. He capped off a good debut with a well deserved try and his maiden after match TV interview, during which he was able to give Eastwood Colts sponsor Eastwood Businessmen’s Club a free plug. The only thing missing was a win on the last day of his 19th year.
The consistency the Coach had called for did not materialise and Manly inflicted the teams third loss of the season. The worry now is the inability to put two wins together since five straight wins at the start of the season.
With Super Rugby put on hold for the French tests we get the services of Waratah Hugh Roach this week adding another dimension to the pack. This pushes Todd Pearce back onto the bench where he is joined by Dylan Brass, Jared Barry and Michael Snowden. Shanin Proctor is again named at half back following his late withdrawal last week. This means the now 20 year old Matthew Gonzalez returns to Colts 1. The only other change is John Grant and Nick Batger switching wing positions.
Eastwood and Warringah have something in common. Both have beaten University and lost the following week to Manly. In Warringah’s case it is their only loss of the season. Their last four wins have been somewhat disappointing but show they are a good team by winning the close ones. Last Saturday they finally got on top of Penrith winning 34 – 18 after a slow start.
To keep the pattern going Eastwood is due a win this week, but it will not be easy against The Warringah Rats if the wrong team turns up to play. We know the side is capable of the intensity they delivered against University and on that form should account for Warringah in a tight affair.
3rd Grade Colts 3rd Place
Manly have done what no other team has done this year handing our Colts Thirds their first loss of the season. A game that started well for Eastwood with a try in the opening minutes but Manly had certainly come to play and were like a dog with a bone. As the game wore on the penalty count mounted against Eastwood and some ill-discipline brought the referee further into the game putting pressure on the Eastwood defence. In the end Manly ran out winners 20 – 12.
This week it is Warringah who are sitting in 6th place on the table with only three wins against their name. Those victories have been against sides below them on the ladder and it would appear on paper Eastwood should bounce back to the winners circle. The following week they take on the current competition leaders Northern Suburbs.
2nd Grade Colts 3rd Place
Colts Seconds win on Saturday, against a determined Manly outfit, sees them improve one place of the ladder. Manly put a big hit on the Eastwood full back in the opening minutes, turning over the ball and a few phases later they were over for the opening try. Eastwood recovered and took control of the game however Manly did not go away and were pressing until the final whistle was sounded. It was a stressful last fifteen minutes for many of the parents willing their boys on as Eastwood seemed to be more content on defence by constantly giving the ball back to Manly. In the end Eastwood’s defence held and a turnover gave them the ball bringing the game to an end with a final score of 22 – 17.
Warringah had their fourth win of the season last Saturday with a 34 – 19 victory over Penrith. They are sitting in 9th position on the table and have not performed well against the stronger teams in the competition. On form Eastwood should make it two wins in a row and consolidate their position at the top end of the ladder.
1st Grade Colts Equal 3rd Place
Firsts where without their regular half back, Matthew Gonzalez, who had got the call to go to Manly Oval rather than Millner. They had lost their previous two matches and were not wanting to make it three in a row. They put the disappointments of their last two games behind them and came out with their A game. They ran out winners 21 – 10 and with results from other matches moved from sixth to equal third (with two other teams) on the ladder.
This week’s opposition had a big win against the Penrith side 71 – 0. This was only their third win of the season and they are sitting 10th on the ladder. Their other wins were against Gordon and Parramatta and will be hard pressed to beat Eastwood provided we again bring their A game. Randwick who are on equal points have an appointment with Manly while the other team on 34 points, Easts, play Parramatta. With results going our way in these games will see Eastwood further improve their place on the ladder provided they have a win against Warringah. Next week it is the undefeated Norths so a solid hit out against Warringah will be a good lead into this important clash.