Preview Round 8 2014

Eastwood Preview Round 8

By Paul Treanor

Well, it has been a while, but Eastwood had a perfect day out last Saturday with seven wins from as many games. A great club result against our neighbours Parramatta. With University dropping points for the loss in Second Grade and a bye in Colts Thirds, Eastwood jumped back into second place on the Club Championship. Losses by leader’s, Manly, in Colts Seconds and Thirds have them sitting just four points ahead of us. It is an arm wrestle between these three clubs. Eastwood take on University next week and Manly the following week so it is important to keep playing well and racking up the victories. With University playing Penrith, and Manly taking on Gordon this week and so no points available in Colts Thirds for both clubs it gives Eastwood an excellent opportunity to improve our position even further.

Our opposition this Saturday is Eastern Suburbs. Grade travel to Woollahra Oval for this week’s games, while Colts play hosts at Millner. If you can’t make it down to Woollahra Oval take the opportunity to see our three Colts side play their exciting style of rugby at home. Colts was performing well in all grades and currently sit in second place on the Colt Club Championship ladder.

Grade

4th Grade – 1st Place

Fourths continued their fantastic run with another bonus point win keeping them alone at the top of the ladder. They scored five tries in their 25 – 12 win over Parramatta. In a repeat of First Grade the week before, we could not convert one try, however the result was different due to solid defence. Had our kicking been on target the result would have been a truer reflection of Eastwood’s dominance over Parramatta.

Eastern Suburbs are having a strong season recording only their second loss for the year when they were upset by Penrith 14 – 22 last Saturday. They are running third on the ladder and will not want to have consecutive losses. With Eastwood going from strength to strength Easts will have an added incentive to lift against the competition leaders. Eastwood however will be looking for their eighth win in a row and will be hard to toss. This shapes up to be a tremendous game to kick off a great day of rugby at Woollahra and will be worthwhile getting down early to watch if you can.

3rd Grade – Equal 7th Place

It was only a matter of time before it clicked and Thirds got back to the form we all knew they had in them. They scored 11 tries in all with Andrew Ferris bagging a triple. The final result was a 69 – 12 victory over Parramatta.

Easts are sitting just two points ahead of Eastwood in sixth place despite having a negative points differential. They are on a roll winning their last three games including a 20 – 12 win against Penrith last Saturday. They have shown they have the ability to win and it will be a good test for the Eastwood side who will be wanting to show that last week was not a one off. A win will see them leap frog Easts on the ladder and get them ready for the Grand Final replay against University next week. A game University will be keen to win to make amends for their loss to Eastwood last September.

2nd Grade – 1st Place

A strong second half saw Seconds over power Parramatta 35 – 24 keeping their undefeated record in tact and maintaining a one point lead over the other undefeated team, Manly. Again team changes in First Grade have forced changes on the team for this week. Tannous Ferris gets his chance to show his skill in the top grade and his place has been taken by Bleddyn Gant. They say once a Woodie always a Woodie. Bleddyn played in our 2011 Second Grade Grand Final team and has been away in Newcastle. Returning to Sydney he has naturally returned to Eastwood. Following his three tries in Thirds last week Andrew Ferris finds himself elevated to Seconds. Only two weeks ago he was playing Fourths so it is a big opportunity for him to boss around the undefeated Seconds. Michael Kovacic returns to the team replacing Pat Sio who has been promoted to First Grade.

This week’s opposition are not travelling that well this season sitting in tenth place with their first win coming last Saturday when they beat Penrith 41 – 13. On form it is hard to see them troubling an Eastwood side despite the team changes for this week. On current form Eastwood will be looking to gain maximum points keeping them at the top of ladder.

1st Grade – 2nd Place

The most talked about Magners Shute Shield game for some time saw a lot of interested parties turning up to see Taqele Naiyaravoro, the latest Waratah signing from League, run out for Parramatta. The crowd was not disappointed as the game had a bit of everything including Pierre Hola bringing his kicking boots and converting all five tries scored. In the end the skill and commitment to the game saw an improving Eastwood overcome dropped ball and missed tackles to run out winners 35 – 24. Taqele Naiyaravoro certainly left an impression in more ways than one on the Eastwood players, but Eastwood proved rugby is a team game and one man no matter how hard he is to bring down can’t do it all on his own.

The result was over shadowed by the loss for up to six weeks of half back Michael Snowden adding to the list of injured players. Team changes this week see two players making their First Grade debuts. Tannous Ferris comes into the team as hooker replacing Hugh Roach who got called up by the Waratahs to replace Silatou Latu who was unfortunately injured while playing with Sydney University last Saturday. Also making the run on side for the first time is Pat Sio who comes in at number 8 replacing Michael Kovacic who has been dropped back to Second Grade. Experienced Shanin Proctor comes into the half back position for the injured Michael Snowden.

Eastern Suburbs had a major shake up to their 2013 side that made the play offs with retirements and defections to Randwick. They have struggled this year and have only had two wins including an unimpressive 35 – 30 victory last Saturday against Penrith despite having Brendan McKibbin and Talalelei Gray on sabbatical from the Waratahs. The win came only after Penrith were reduced to 13 players in the final minutes. Without their two Waratah stars this week it is hard to see them causing an upset. This week the improving Eastwood would appear to be a bridge too far and will run over the top of the boys from the East. This is the last game before the Grand Final rematch and Eastwood will not be taking any prisoners.

Colts

3rd Grade Colts – 3rd Place

Another win for the undefeated Thirds sees them progressing up the ladder just behind the only other undefeated side University. Norths who are top of the ladder due to having no byes to date and have lost to both Eastwood and University.

This week’s opponents Eastern Suburbs are yet to win a game and their last loss was 13 – 43 to Northern Suburbs. On form this should be a win to Eastwood setting up a much anticipated clash of the two undefeated teams next weekend.

2nd Grade Colts – 3rd Place

Seconds continued on their winning way this time accounting for Parramatta 26 – 15. Easts have only won one game – against Gordon and lost last Saturday to Penrith 22 – 26. They have also had big losses to University and Norths. Based on this form Eastwood are firm favourites to make it three wins in a row.

1st Grade Colts – 4th Place

Eastwood had a big win against Parramatta taking the game 41 – 28. Eastern Suburbs are sitting just one point ahead of Eastwood on the ladder with only the one loss (26 – 43 to University). They had a 71 – 5 win last Saturday over Penrith but the bulk of the Penrith team backed up from their Seconds and so the result was not a true indicator of Easts form.

This looks like the closest game of the round for the Club and should be a cracker. The improvement over the last few weeks will be tested and will be a good lead up to next week’s blockbuster against the strong University side.