Preview Round 7 2014

Eastwood Preview Round 7

By Paul Treanor

A very successful day at Forshaw Rugby Park last Saturday for our Colts who went up against the club coming second in the Colts Club Championship and expecting tough games in all three grades. They came away from the South with three wins. A fantastic result that unfortunately could not be emulated at Millner, where we could only manage two wins from the four games played.
The results across Sydney see Manly sitting alone at the top of the Club Championship table and Sydney University have leaped frogged us into second, pushing us back to third. The championship is hotly contested between these top three clubs.
How cold was it at Millner on Saturday? When the GM benches his shorts at half time in Seconds and calls in long replacements for the first time this season accompanied by a Eastwood Beanie it is officially COLD. Unfortunately First Grade was not able to improve the temperature going down to the Rebels for their first loss of the season.
This Saturday it is another home game. This time it is against our close neighbours Parramatta. Colts again travel, this time to take on the Parramatta Colts at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park.

Grade

4th Grade – 1st Pace

Eastwood continue to impress and their four try win over Southern Districts 24 – 19 sees them sitting alone at the top of the ladder four points ahead of second placed Warringah. This Saturday’s opponents Parramatta are not travelling that well with only two wins, both against last placed Gordon. Last Saturday they lost 21 – 29 giving Penrith their first win of the season. On current form Eastwood should make it seven wins in a row and retain their place at the top of the table.

3rd Grade – 9th Place

Things were looking good with a converted try in the opening minutes of Saturday’s clash with Southern Districts but that was the only time the Eastwood side bothered the scoreboard attendant. As the bell sounded full time the score was 35 – 7 in favour of the visitors and Eastwood loosing streak extended to three. They have only scored seven points in their last 140 minutes of rugby. This week we see a new pairing in the halves. Promising Andrew Ferris comes in for the injured Max Page at half back and Harry Bennett comes into the fly half position after missing last week. The last time Andrew started a third grade game was against Penrith which coincidently was our last victory with a score line 39 – 0. Let’s hope these changes sparks our attack and we can get back to scoring points and winning games.
Parramatta are fifth on the table with three wins to their name (Gordon, Norths and Penrith). Their form has not been spectacular and they have a negative points differential. With Eastwood playing below their usual standard Parramatta would fancy themselves to take the points but Eastwood is due to awake from their form slumber and could run up a big score after the disappointments of the last three weeks.

2nd Grade – 1st Place

Another outstanding display from Eastwood Seconds, beating the Rebels from the South 50 – 11. They remain top of the ladder just one point ahead of the only other undefeated team, Manly. This week we see Pat Sio return to the pack following his NSW Under 20 commitments. Tom Alexander comes back down to Seconds after a late call up to Firsts last Saturday and John Grant returns from injury and is playing on the wing replacing Blake Curtis who is not available this week.
Parramatta notched up their first win of the season last Saturday with a 55 – 33 victory over Penrith. They have shown they have the ability to score points and stay close on the scoreboard earning themselves six bonus points along the way. On current form it is hard to see them upsetting the Eastwood side that is playing with a lot of confidence. It will take a extra special effort from Parramatta to cause an upset.

1st Grade – 2nd Place

Well, the Rugby Gods will only smile on you for so long before saying enough is enough. The game against Randwick was won on the back of poor goal kicking by the Randwick kicker. This week it was Eastwood turn. Failing to kick a goal despite having Pierre Hola, the leading Magners Shute Shield point scorer going into the match, kicking for us. Two late tries saw us almost pull off a remarkable comeback win but it was too little too late. The late withdrawal of out inspirational Captain Hugh Perrett meant another reshuffle of the forwards and his leadership was sorely missed as was the rampaging wrecking ball Jared Barry. This week sees Hugh return to the side however Jared’s shoulder has not quite recovered and he is still on the injured list. The team is unchanged from the team announced last week with Michael Kovacic and George Kent retaining their places in the pack.
Parramatta come to Millner with a less than impressive start to the season however they are currently sitting in equal fifth on points. They have only three wins to their credit – two against Gordon and last week’s 3 point win over Penrith. They go into the game with the Waratahs latest recruit from League Taqele Naiyaravoro lining up in the centres. It will add that something extra to the clash and it will be exciting to see how the Eastwood defence handle him.
Last week the vocal loyal Woodies supporters were quietened by the display put on by the First Grade side and will be expecting a much improved performance this Saturday. They should prove too strong for the Two Blues but will need to start getting back to the form that saw them take out the Minor Premiership last year with games against University, Warringah and Manly just around the corner.
Colts

3rd Grade Colts – 4th Place

The challenge was great at Forshaw Park last Saturday with the first return to the ground since last year’s finals. The day could not start any better with the undefeated Thirds kicking things off with a four try bonus point win (24 – 10) over Southern Districts who had previously only lost the one game. Eastwood and Sydney University remain the only undefeated teams in the competition and it is only the byes that are showing an imbalance of the ladder. This week University get their second bye while the other two teams ahead of Eastwood, Manly and Northern Suburbs, are yet to have a single bye. They play each other this week so the leader board will have some changes.
This week’s opponent, Parramatta, have now had three byes and have lost the three games they have played, which sees them sitting second last on the ladder. Eastwood will be favourites to win this match.

2nd Grade Colts- 4th Place

Southern Districts had only the one loss, a narrow defeat at the hands of undefeated competition leaders Northern Suburbs, and was looking to stay ahead of Eastwood on the ladder. Eastwood had other ideas, after agonisingly loosing by just three points to Randwick the week before, they came to win, and win they did. Scoring five tries in their 38 – 20 victory giving them a bonus point. A great team performance.
This week it is Parramatta who have secured three wins – two against Gordon and one against Penrith. They won 43 – 5 against Penrith last weekend but have been less impressive against stronger opposition. It would be an upset if they were to beat Eastwood this Saturday who are improving with each game they play.
1st Grade Colts – 5th Place

Southern Districts were getting a reputation of being one of the teams to beat in this year’s competition, undefeated after five rounds they too liked their chances against an Eastwood side who had lost their last two games and were having trouble kicking goals. Leading by 13 points with 10 minutes to go Southern Districts thought they had it in the bag but they didn’t take into account the Woodies fight to the death mentality. Eastwood came storming home with two converted tries to take the game by a single point. The final conversion coming after the bell. Congratulations for causing the upset of the round and putting the other teams on notice – Eastwood is not to be taken lightly.
This week it will be important to maintain the momentum gained from this victory when they take on Parramatta. Like their Seconds side Parramatta have only won against Gordon and Penrith and sitting in sixth place. They will not be a push over and Eastwood will need to play well. On form it should be another win to Eastwood that should see them advance on the ladder depending the result of the Southern Districts / Randwick clash.