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Georgie's Match Report - Rnd 8


Georgie McHugh's Match Report - Round 8


Gordon welcomed the much-improved Southern Districts for what used to be the clash of the most distant rivals in the Shute Shield. And then Hunter came back into the competition and made a mockery of that distance.

Gone, hopefully for some time, was the wet and cold weather that has plagued the competition, as the Highlanders hosted its Ladies Day. But for the high-rise buildings and the train and a distinct absence of white-washed walls and blue domes, one would have been forgiven for thinking that they were in Santorini.

After the fantastic Gordon Rugby lunch the day before, sponsored by Reckon, which was attended by a number in the pantheon of the Club’s greats, spirits were high for the tartan faithful on entering the ground, keen to see if their team could continue its run of five consecutive victories, to keep pace with the front runners. With a number
of injuries in the forward pack, it was a slightly different-looking side that took the field.

The home team’s first score under the sticks in the second minute, with a beautiful short ball ten metres out from Joe Snow to skipper Prez Tufuga running a fantastic line, felt somewhat expected given the relative position of the sides on the ladder.

Two more deep incursions into the visitors’ danger zone in the next five minutes by the Highlanders, which were only narrowly repelled by Southern, may have lulled the men in tartan into a false sense of security.

In the eleventh minute, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, Southern capitalised on a defensive penalty ten metres from their own line to march down the other end of the field and draw level at seven point a piece. Gordon won the ensuing kick off and spent the best part of the next ten minutes camped in their opposition’s half.


Constant pressure told on the visitors, as they saw two forwards get a yellow card. The Highlanders capitalised in the 25th minute, with a try to Brandon Quinn in the scoreboard corner from a well-executed double cut out pass from fly half Ben Pollack to take the score to 12 – 7.

Gordon may have been disappointed that they didn’t take more advantage of their numerical advantage. Such a thought would only have been confirmed when Southern hit back against the run of play with five minutes remaining in the half, still two men down. With some careless play in the last few minutes of the first period,
the home team gave away two penalties to unexpectedly see the half time score 18-12 in favour of the visitors.

Five minutes into the second half, Oli Arcus sliced through from the quarter line after a typically strong charge from Tom Horan from the 40 metres line on the back of a Hugh Margin line break and the Stags regained the lead. However, the lead didn’t last long, as the visitors opted for the posts just after the restart of play.

The teams traded blows for the next fifteen minutes, which saw Tristan Fuli’s bullocking try wiped off by a Southern prop matching the effort. And with a quarter of the game remaining, the visitors had their noses in front 28 – 26.

The next ten minutes saw the home team dominate, as first skipper Tafuga registered his double for the day with a trademark charge following sustained pressure ten metres out. Then with only nine minutes remaining, Harry Emery on at halfback threatened to score in the Trumper pavilion corner before Fuli registered a double of his own and the score appeared to a comfortable 40 – 28 in the shadows of the full-time bell. However, to their great credit, Southern never went away and scored a try after the bell to register two bonus points.

In the end, the more dominant team were victorious; but, their less-fancied opposition refused to give in and put up a praise-worthy fight. The difference may well have been the quality of Gordon’s forward replacements, as Johnny Akauloa and Harry Holland particularly came on to make a strong impact. It can’t be understated how important it was to be able to bring on Oli Hannon and Henry Basten (who played 1 st Colts earlier in the day) to play in the front row. With a number of forwards due to return for selection consideration, it augurs well as
second half of the season looms.


With the draw between Warringah and Norths, Gordon moves to second place on the table, a solitary point behind the Rats. This weekend sees those two teams meet in a highly-anticipated clash at Narrabeen, where the victor will be leading the Shute Shield after nine rounds.

Gordon are next at home in a couple of weeks as they host West Harbour, before the battle of the North at Trash Park on 22nd June. Get down to the ground to support your team. It is not too late to get a membership and join the Clan in 2024.

Until the next time we meet, make mine a Grants. Up Gordon!
Georgie McHugh

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