Thu, Apr 11, 2024, 8:00 AM
Lachlan Grey

Welcome back to Club Corner, where brings you the latest from Australia’s premier grassroots competitions.

Sydney University’s last-gasp win over Norths lit up Round 1 of the Shute Shield while reigning ACT champions Gungahlin and 2023 QLD minor premiers Bond Uni suffered upsets at home to open their respective seasons.

Watch every match of QLD’s Hospital Cup and NSW’s Shute Shield LIVE and exclusive on Stan Sport.

Before we sink our teeth into the weekend’s action, quick shoutout to the Northern Territory who wrapped up their Darwin regular season last month with Casuarina Cougars, Uni Pirates and Swampdogs going home with silverware.

There’s also plenty more rugby to come out of Victoria (April 20), Western Australia (April 20) and Tasmania (April 27) set to return this month.

Read on for all the action out of Week 1 in clubland across QLD, NSW, ACT and SA!

Souths 45 def Norths 17

Souths opened their season in convincing fashion, downing Norths 45-17 in Brisbane’s Battle of the Birds.

The Magpies dominated early doors, first through a rampaging George Francis before Lachie Stewart and Kohen Herbet strolled over to keep Souths rolling a point per minute midway through the half.

Norths rookie Jack Hussey briefly halted the hosts with a jinking try from close range, though there was little respite as Souths rolled a maul mover on the half-time hooter.

The Magpies kicked on with three more tries after oranges before Norths rallied late with standout Josh Mongard bagging a consolation try.

Wests 43 def UQ 17

Wests banked an early win at Sylvan Road with halves Louis Werchon and two-try hero Moses Sorovi anchoring the Bulldogs’ 26-point victory over UQ.

Werchon’s goalkicking and Sorovi’s support lines proved the difference with Fletcher Spicer, David Vaihu, Charlie Tupu and James Martens crossing the chalk for Wests. Hooker Ethan Dobbins also impressed in a dominant display.

GPS 35 def Easts 15

The Gallopers took full points from their Round 1 clash with Easts, running out 20-point winners at Yoku Road.

A dour opening term saw Tigers flanker Henry Wilson and GPS flyer Floyd Aubrey trade tries late in the piece before the hosts capitalised on Easts’ ill-discipline with second-half tries to Oliver Bartlett, Jakob Morrison, Malakai Taulani and Tiko Twist.

Bond Uni v Sunnybank

Bond Uni were left to rue a poor start as Sunnybank rolled last year’s minor premiers at the Canal.

Two tries in as many minutes from flyhalf Liam McNamara helped build an early 15-0 buffer for the Dragons before a Hamish Roberts-led fightback drew the Bullsharks level with 12 minutes remaining.

McNamara proved the difference, slotting a 70th minute penalty and steering Sunnybank home by three points.

Click here for further Round 1 Hospital Cup analysis.

Round 2 Hospital Cup Fixtures

Sunnybank v Wests

UQ v Norths

Easts v Brothers

Souths v GPS

Bond Uni (BYE)

Randwick 64 def Hunter Wildfires 17

The Galloping Greens started their Shield defence with a bang, dousing the Hunter Wildfires by 47 points in Newcastle.

Hat-trick hero James Hendren and Nick Chan crossed inside the opening five minutes to set the tone with Randwick opening a 24-10 halftime buffer.

The Wildfires crossed either side of oranges but rarely threatened Wicks, who ran rampant with Kurtley Beale pulling strings in a point-a-minute second term.

Two Blues 22 def Gordon 19

Western Sydney also found success in Round 1, toppling Gordon by three points at Eric Tweedale Stadium.

Fullback Christian Papa finished a 70m team try to set the home crowd alight early while lock Manasa Rokosuka capitalised on a Highlanders lineout blunder to put the Two Blues ahead 17-0 at halftime.

Former Wallaby Taqele Naiyaravoro also crossed for Western Sydney in the second term, though Gordon rallied late to earn a losing bonus point on the road.

Eastern Suburbs 31 def West Harbour 15

Rising playmaker Jack Bowen stole the Round 1 headlines from Beasties’ 16-point win over West Harbour at Woollahra Oval.

The Australian U20s star bagged a 21-point haul including tries either side of halftime, the second of which sunk the Pirates’ ship with 15 minutes remaining.

West Harbour winger Callum Sirker impressed with a brace while Harison Mataele and Jamie Adamson also crossed for Beasties.

Manly 32 def Eastwood 17

Woodies came away from Round 1 empty handed as Manly ran in six tries to three at TG Millner Field.

The Marlins were never headed, rolling in three first-half maul tries before Fraser Toohey, Robbie McIntosh and Mali Manukia scored to keep the hosts at bay after oranges.

Woodies scrapped hard to trail by just seven points with 10 minutes remaining and were cruelly denied a losing bonus point by desperate goal-line defence in overtime.

Sydney Uni 35 def Northern Suburbs 29

Uni left it late but did just enough to seal a spectacular come-from-behind win over Norths on home soil.

The Shoremen scored the first two tries and held leads of 26-14 and 29-21 during the second half before a late yellow card to Nathan Russell turned the tide.

The students capitalised on their one-man advantage, closing the gap to a point with a rolling maul try and 10 minutes to play.

Norths were left to rue a missed penalty attempt late in the piece as Uni winger Jack Matthews finished a sweeping backline play and iced the sideline conversion to cap a stunning six-point turnaround.

Warringah 36 def Southern Districts 25

The Rats survived a dogged Rebels outfit in their first hit-out of 2024, emerging 11-point victors at Forshaw Park following a strong second half showing

Sparked by boom centre Isaac Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Souths trailed just 14-13 at halftime and hit the lead after 52 minutes when Mark O’Reilly barged over under the sticks.

But there was to be no Rebels fairytale as Rats winger Ben Woollett laid on back-to-back assists for Ben Marr, putting Warringah out to a 31-20 lead before sharpshooter Coby Miln slotted two more penalties to secure the win.

Round 2 Shute Shield Fixtures

Eastern Suburbs v Gordon

Warringah v Randwick

Sydney Uni v Manly

Norths v Eastwood

Two Blues v West Harbour

Hunter Wildfires v Southern Districts

Veteran halfback Pedro Rolando’s goalkicking and a brace to centre Liam Smith inspired Canberra Royals’ 28-25 win over reigning premiers Gungahlin.

The Eagles outscored Royals four tries to three but converted just one as Rolando slotted 10 points off the tee in a match-winning turn.

In other results, 2023 grand finalists Tuggeranong dominated Uni-Norths 38-10 while Wests romped home 43-10 over Queanbeyan.

Click here for further John I Dent Cup results and fixtures.

RUSA Premier Grade (SA)
Defending champions Burnside opened their 2024 account with a hard-fought 30-26 win over Old Collegians while Southern Suburbs, Brighton, Barossa and Woodville also bagged maximum points from Round 1.

Barossa’s return to Premier Grade deserves a shoutout with Amininiasi Vutulevu scoring twice to anchor the Rams’ 25-12 win over Elizabeth.

Click here for further Round 1 coverage from RUSA.