Eastwood Preview Round 17
By Paul Treanor
It was a Big day at Eastwood last Saturday. A Big crowd turned up to celebrate Back to Eastwood Day. A Big honor was bestowed on the three new life members. A Big milestone for Hugh Perrett capped off by a try in his 200th grade game. Another milestone was celebrated in Fourths with Shane Collins playing his 100th game for the club. Big scores on the scoreboard and Big holes in Penrith’s defensive game resulting in a possible RSI claim from the score board attendant. It was a Big occasion for James Martin who tallied up 48 points all by himself. But the Biggest score of the day went to our Colts Firsts who scored 110 points while keeping Penrith scoreless out at Nepean Rugby Park. All in all it was a great day to be a Woodies fan.
Six wins with bonus points from the six games played saw us close the gap on Manly in the Club Championship to just 24 points following Manly’s losses in First and Fourth grades. University with the extra game in Colts and a clean sweep of Parramatta are just two points behind us adding extra excitement to the last two rounds of the competition across all grades with the Club Championship still up for grabs.
Colts Club Championship has seen Manly jump ahead of Eastwood and Southern Districts. Eastwood are in fourth place just three points behind Manly and five points ahead of Southern Districts. This weekend’s game between Eastwood and Southern Districts, and Manly’s clash with Northern Suburbs will be crucial to the Championship standings going into the last round.
James Martin took the opportunity to use his pace to put some distance between himself and John Grant scoring four tries in Thirds and then coming on late in Seconds to bag another two. He has shot to the lead in the race to be Eastwood’s leading try scorer with 21 tries and is just two short of the leading try scorer for all Clubs. John Grant managed just one, as well as setting up another two, and sits four behind James in second place.
This week we take on Southern Districts and all games will be important not only for ladder positions but also Club Championship points. None more important than our Colts 1 side that needs to win to stay in touch with fifth and sixth place.
Grade play out at Forshaw Park while Colts are at home. The rugby will be intense with both clubs wanting to take the points in each contest. So dust off your passports and take the long trip down to the southern most outpost of Sydney to support your Grade sides. If the journey is too much you will get your money’s worth at Millner with three very competitive games of rugby on show. Either way there is no better way to enjoy a winter’s afternoon than watching the Woodies do their thing.
4th Grade 1st Place
Fourth grade kicked off the day with their usual positive start. Tries galore including one to Penrith. Eastwood sit just three points ahead of next week’s opponents Warringah and five points ahead of University so it is still possible to be overtaken. Assuming Warringah win this weekend the minor premiership will be decided next weekend.
Last week’s run on side had six changes to the team officially announced. This week’s announced team again has a number of changes. Daniel Minto comes back from Thirds into the front row at the expense of Heath Toon who moves to the bench. Dave Teketi who missed last week comes in as hooker replacing Cameron Minto. With Paul Ng Shui required in Thirds Sam Bennetts comes into the pack, while Jack Leslie is in for Ed Neely. In the backs Max Page returns from Thirds to the half back position with last week’s half Gerard McTaggart moving back to his more familiar role at full back in place of Shane Collins. Xavier Chigwidden returns to Fly Half while Mick Tamone also returns after missing last week. It will be interesting to see who actually takes the field.
Southern Districts are unable to make the finals and will be playing for pride. The clash back in Round 6 saw an Eastwood victory 24 – 19. Souths have only had four wins and a draw at this stage of the season. Eastwood should prove too strong setting up a major showdown next weekend with Warringah for the minor premiership title.
3rd Grade 3rd Place
Eastwood almost cracked the ton last Saturday while keeping Penrith scoreless. The side has come into form at the right end of the season and will need to keep their winning run going if they are to hang onto third place. Randwick sit just 2 points behind them while Warringah are a further 2 points back. With Randwick playing Warringah this weekend some of that pressure will be removed provided Eastwood win.
Southern Districts are currently equal sixth and will be desperate for a win as a loss could see them drop out of the Six. Back in Round 6 Souths inflicted Eastwood’s third loss in a row winning 35 – 7. Since then they have only won four out ten including last Saturday against Northern Suburbs 36 – 10.
Eastwood have made a number of changes to this week’s side. Dean Doumbos returns to the front row after missing last week pushing Daniel Minto back to Fourths. Matt Prestipino is out this week and Paul Ng Shui comes in as his able replacement. Richard Casali also returns to the side after missing last week taking the place of Nick Johnson who has moved up to Seconds. Max Page who came in as a late replacement for Jordan Goddard and played half pushing Andrew Ferris to fly half moves back to Fourths with Andrew returning to half and Harry Bennett back in at 10.
With both sides having so much to play for it should be a battle royal. Eastwood on recent form and with speed to burn in the backline should prove too strong for a desperate Rebels outfit whose form has been less than impressive of late.
2nd Grade 1st Place
Eastwood Second Grade also kept Penrith scoreless while piling on 79 points. They sit at the top of the ladder still five points ahead of Manly who are the only team close enough to challenge them for the minor premiership. This week Manly takes on 7th place Northern Suburbs who will be wanting to cause an upset and give themselves a chance to make the finals. With two of the sides sitting just above them, Randwick and Warringah, playing each other moving up the ladder is a distinct possibility for Norths and will give them an added incentive to upset Manly.
This week’s side sees George Kent out injured replaced by Nick Johnson from Thirds. Pierre Hola returns from filling in for Jai in Firsts against Penrith pushing Harry Bennett back to Thirds.
Southern Districts are tenth of the ladder with just the five wins against their name. Eastwood put on 50 against them back in Round 6 while only conceding 11. On recent form it would be hard to see an upset in this one and Eastwood should go into the final round holding first place.
1st Grade 2nd Place
This week sees the pressure intensify as teams work towards the best position for the finals. Eastwood has two important clashes ahead of them with fifth placed Southern Districts this weekend and third placed Warringah the following Saturday. Results in these final two weeks will also decide the club champions for 2014.
Souths are sitting 8 points ahead of Randwick and West Harbour and will need to win at least one of the last two games to ensure they retain fifth spot for the finals. If positions remain the same as they are at the moment Eastwood will play Southern Districts in the first week of the finals and so both sides will be wanting to take the advantage of a win into that match up.
Eastwood continue to improve and were again in fine form last Saturday. However a few too many intercept passes for the Coaches liking and, what has become a growing trend, they allowed Penrith to score first and in fact allowed Penrith to lead 8 – 3 before kicking into gear.
There is only one change to the team for this weekend’s clash. Jai Ayoub returns to weave his magic after missing last week with an eye injury.
Souths were Eastwood’s first loss of the season when they won 31 – 25 despite Eastwood out scoring them five tries to four. That day Pierre Hola could not kick a goal for love or money while Souths’ Rohan Saifoloi converted all four of their tries plus kicked a penalty for good measure. This time around Rohan’s place has been taken by Ben Volavola who has also taken on the kicking duties. They make three changes to last week’s side that scored 65 points against Northern Suburbs while conceding 29. Jack Douglas comes into the pack, while Afa Pakalani and Alex Gibbon are the new wingers. Both teams have improved since they last met and have been the form teams in recent weeks. Souths have scored over 100 in their last two games against Warringah and Norths. They are on a winning streak of four games while Eastwood have won their last six. The Coach is well aware of Souths attacking ability and defence will be a key factor. Both teams will be expecting to win and it should be one of the games of the season.
3rd Grade Colts 3rd Place
Manly kept us in third place with their win over Warringah and are now six points ahead of us. This week Eastwood take on fourth placed Southern Districts who are only one point behind so a loss will see us drop one place. Meanwhile Manly play fifth placed Northern Suburbs. Whatever the result this weekend it is more than likely Eastwood will take on Southern Districts in the first round of the finals so there is more at stake than competition points.
Back in Round 6 Eastwood were too good for Southern Districts running out winners 24 – 10. Souths have lost four games this season compared to the two losses by Eastwood. With last week’s bye Eastwood will be keen to get back on the paddock and will want to show they have what it takes to win both encounters against the Rebels this season and head into the finals on a positive note.
2nd Grade Colts 3rd Place
Eastwood Colts Seconds are six points behind University while Manly are seven points behind them in fourth place. A win will keep the pressure on University who will be expected to come away with the points against Gordon who are sitting in tenth. Manly have the competition leaders this weekend and will be hard pressed to beat Northern Suburbs who have yet to drop a game.
Southern Districts are sitting in fifth having won nine games this year. They are eight points behind fourth placed Manly and have an outside chance to go past them if they win both their last two games and Manly lose against Norths and West Harbour. They will want to win against Eastwood to keep this hope alive and will throw everything at Eastwood from the kick off. Eastwood were victorious back in Round 6 (38 – 20) and will be aiming to make it a double come this Saturday.
1st Grade Colts 7th Place
Eastwood had a big win (110 – 0) over Penrith again showing improvement after their shock performance against Randwick two weeks ago. Both Manly and Eastern Suburbs had bonus points wins and remain two points ahead of them on the table. The equation is simple. Win this week and next then watch to see if either Manly or Easts drop a game, otherwise they will miss out on the finals. Manly have a tough outing when they play Northern Suburbs this week. Norths are sitting in third place and beat Southern Districts last weekend 46 – 29. Last time Manly clashed with Norths Manly beat them 64 – 24 and they will be looking for a repeat performance this Saturday. Since that loss Norths have not lost a game winning nine straight including a victory over the strong University side and will be favourites to win this Saturday.
Eastwood opponents Southern Districts are sitting in fourth place and will be tough to beat. Last time they met, Eastwood came away with a one point win and know they have the ability to beat their Southern combatants. It is a game Eastwood must win if they are to give themselves a chance to make it into the finals. It is not such a must win game for Souths and so Eastwood have an added incentive to step up a gear and go into the last round with a chance of forcing their way into the final six.