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What a fantastic opening round of Shute Shield rugby! The weather was perfect and North Sydney oval is looking in great nick. After a long pre-season dating back to October last year, it was great for all players to finally get out on the paddock.
Coming off the back of their 1st grade grand final win last year, there were rumours leading into this game that the Rats had enough numbers to fill six grades. This was evident in the strength of their 4th Grade team, with our boys going down in a tough encounter, 21-5.
We knew something was amiss when the ref hadn’t spoken to our players prior to kick-off, and sure enough, when both teams took to the field we realised that no referee had turned up. Shocked onlookers stared on in disbelief, with some being too stunned for words. One mother was heard screaming through her tears, “for the sake of us all, will somebody please do something!” Well, cometh the hour, cometh the man. Club general manager/women’s 7s supercoach, Jack Burey, pulled his whistle out of his pocket and got proceedings underway.
Norths 5 (Tries: #8 Al Hall), Warringah 21.
Third grade went to battle with the reigning premiers from 2017, and despite some very good passages of play, went down 31-14. With the mercury hitting nearly 30 degrees, Josh Clifton can be forgiven for thinking he was supposed to be playing cricket. He bowled some fine wrong’uns and the odd off-breaker into the lineout, much to the dismay of his jumpers.
This Norths side has some very fine players in it, with some no doubt due to get game time in 1st grade during the season. After a little bit more time to gel as a group, I’m very confident that they’ll be bloody hard to beat.
Norths 14 (Tries: #13 Daniel Hiep, #9 Joshua Noonan; Goals: #10 Connor Winchester 2), Warringah 31.
I think everyone was starting to get a bit tense after a less than ideal start to the day. However, our nerves were quickly eased with 2nd grade coming out with guns blazing. Inside centre Nic Clancy has had a big off-season, spending hours upon hours in the gym bulking himself up. I wasn’t quite sure if he was planning a transition into the forwards, however his selection at 12 put that question to bed. He still couldn’t help himself during the game though, running in from the backline to join a rolling maul that was doing just fine without him. After stealing the ball off our Portuguese hooker, Duarte Diniz, he bagged a meat pie normally reserved for the pigs.
Norths 45 (Tries: #4 Declan Carroll, #7 Hugh Taylor, #12 Nic Clancy, #2 Duarte Diniz, #24 Danny Allende, #22 Connor Winchester, #23 Matthew White; Goals: #10 Jack Clancy 5), Warringah 17
Being a grand final rematch, 1st grade was always going to be a huge game. Even after kick-off, the entry gates were still ticking over as hundreds of people rolled in to watch. It was a real grind for both sides, but after two bits of Woolfy magic, the good guys got up 27-18
Norths 27 (Tries: #14 Richie Woolf 2, #20 Taylor Francis; Goals: #10 Angus Sinclair 5), Warringah 18
Our colties had a very successful evening at Rat Park, getting up in both 1s (10-7) and 2s (40-0) and narrowly going down in 3s (26-19). Rumour has it that 2nd colts’ backs coach, Nick Marshall, could be heard singing the team song all the way from Warriewood Beach.
Our new women’s sevens team also put in a shift, featuring in a tournament on Bon Andrews Oval involving teams from all around Sydney. They won the first game of the day against Eastern Suburbs, however went down in their remaining three matches. Captain Ash Moore couldn’t have been prouder of her girls, delivering a powerful speech out the back of the Union that evening. I’ve been told that those who were fortunate enough to hear it were moved to tears.
TEAM OF THE WEEK:
2nd colts. 40 points scored at Rat Park is a huge effort, but even better is the big 0 for points conceded. I love a clean score sheet.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Joe Dawson, 2nd grade. Big Joe had a blinder in 2nd grade’s big win, bringing a contagious enthusiasm to the team that he is so famous for. His herculean efforts in the scrum set the platform for the backs to run riot, all done with that trademark grin on his face. For those that don’t know him, Joe spent the majority of last season playing off the bench in 4th grade. It goes to show that with a bit of hard work and persistence, there’s always an opportunity at Norths to go up the grades.
This weekend we take on the Manly Marlins down at Manly Oval, with the colties playing at home on Bon A
ndrews. It will be ‘Parents Day’ at the colts games, with all mums and dads encouraged to come along to support our lads. In the evening we will be having our team dinners in Crows Nest, which is always a highlight of the year. Don’t be too surprised to see players wandering between Willoughby Rd and the Union in all sorts of costumes…