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Round 17, the penultimate round as finals loom.
Unfortunately for some teams, finals started last weekend and some find themselves clinging for their season.
1st Grade: Current Position 4th
Run Home: This week v Sydney University (3rd), R18 – Randwick (8th)
A game that looks set to be a preview of finals week 1.
As both Warringah and Eastwood (1st & 2nd respectively) should be able to win and stay on top in the next two weeks.
This round 17 match between the Shoremen and the Students will be a battle for 3rd place and a crucial home field qualifying final.
Round 17 can’t come quick enough for Norths as they look to right the wrongs of last weeks loss to Gordon and put that behind them in their crusade to the finals.
Meanwhile, Sydney University were able to dispatch 9th placed Southern Districts at Forshaw Park.
The John Thornett Cup will be up for grabs in the 7Two match of the round, a trophy Norths will be desperate to claim back following the Round 6 defeat earlier this season.
All teams and spectators alike will have one eye on the Easts v Gordon result as the winner will likely claim a spot in the top 6 and the loser missing the playoffs.
Previous Result: Round 6, Northern Suburbs 24 defeated by Sydney University 29
Player to Watch: Lawrance Hunting, will play his 100th Grade Game when he runs out of Saturday. The stalwart prop is the anchor of the scum and will be looking to have a big impact at set-piece time.
2nd Grade: Current Position 7th
Run Home: This week v Sydney University (4th), R18 – Randwick (2nd)
Sunk by a 78th minute try to Gordon, the fate of 2nd Grades season rests almost solely on West Harbour (11th) upsetting 6th placed Manly.
Norths (7th, 39) sit 3 points behind Manly (6th, 42) as Manly finish the season with West Harbour and 5 point bye, even two bonus-point wins against University and Randwick may not be enough to secure a playoffs position.
Previous Result: Round 6, Northern Suburbs 32 defeated by Sydney University 33
Player to Watch: Reece Mauu’ was brilliant last week bringing his recent 1st Grade experience back to 2nds. In what is a solid matchup between Mauu’ and Henry Clunies-Ross 2nd Grade is sure to be a high-quality game.
3rd Grade: Current Position 7th
Run Home: This week v Sydney University (1st), R18 – Randwick (2nd)
Finals rugby started last week for 3rd Grade and they responded accordingly running out winners 41-24 over Gordon.
Turns out the win was even more critical as Easts upset Randwick to prevent Norths from leapfrogging into 6th position.
The scenario is quite clear, secure maximum points from the next two rounds and play finals!
As Easts (6th) play Gordon (5th) like their 1st Grade teams it is do or die for them, leaving the door ajar for 3rd Grade to swoop in should they be able to knock off 1st and 2nd place in succession.
Previous Result: Round 6, Northern Suburbs 17 defeated by Sydney University 36
Player to Watch: Taylor Francis, one of many with quality 1st Grade experience in this 3rd Grade team. If they are to knock of 1st place this weekend it will be off the back of the experience injected in recent weeks.
4th Grade: Current Position 7th
Run Home: This week v Sydney University (2nd), R18 – Randwick (4th)
4th Grade loves a challenge and that is exactly what they’ve got.
Starting the season 0 from 6, they went on a run of 9 straight to put themselves back in finals contention. A loss last round has put a spanner in the works!
As Manly (6th, 43 points) look set to claim the maximin, Gordon 5th on 47 points are well in their sights.
The scenario required; Norths to secure the maximum points in the next two rounds and requires 8th placed Easts to upset Gordon this week and ultimately leapfrog Gordon on points differential after round 18.
Two intense rounds of rugby remain!
Previous Result: Round 6, Northern Suburbs 12 defeated by Sydney University 19
Player to Watch: Barnstorming lock, Henry Mikkelson is known for his try scoring ability is recent seasons. Henry is no stranger to scoring a hatrick and some line bending runs will be required on Saturday morning.
1st Colts: Current Position 7th
Run Home: This week v Sydney University (3rd), R18 – Randwick (1st)
Clinging to the hope of playing finals rugby this season, when there is a will there is a way.
Despite a loss last round, 1st Colts sit just 4 points outside the top 6.
First off, they must upset 3rd placed university this week and live to fight on in round 18 against ladder leaders Randwick.
Previous Result: Round 6, Northern Suburbs 14 defeated by Sydney University 44
Player to Watch: Lock, Brady Dawson has had a great season since switching from prop to lock. He has the sheer size to impose himself on the game and will transition well to Grade next season.
2nd Colts: Current Position 3rd
Run Home: This week v Sydney University (4th), R18 – Randwick (5th)
With the top 6 secured. 2nd Colts continue on their finals dress rehearsal, with a very likely preview of a qualifying final week 1 v Sydney University between 3rd and 4th.
In a narrow loss to ladder leaders, Norths will fancy themselves this week having knocked over Sydney Uni in round 6.
Previous Result: Round 6, Northern Suburbs 33 defeated Sydney University 17
Player to Watch: Sifa Amone Tooks, at tighthead prop is an unbelievable athlete at just 17 years old. He carries similar traits to Wallaby Taniela Tupou in the way he runs the ball.
3rd Colts: Current Position 6th
Run Home: This week v Sydney University (4th), R18 – Randwick (3rd)
In what is a clear divide between the top 4 and the rest of the teams in 3rd Colts.
Norths are likely to limp into 6th position. Up against 3rd and 4th position, there is get a good understanding of where they sit in the finals.
Previous Result: Round 6, Northern Suburbs 0 defeated by Sydney University 31
Player to Watch: Fullback Tom Nicholl returns following a midseason European holiday. Having bounced between 1st and 2nd colts for the majority of the season, he will inject some spark into the outside backs.