Following the postponement of this year’s Dewar Shield due to COVID-19, we’re following some of our favourite Melbourne Rebels who’ve elected to play in Sydney’s Shute Shield competition.
The penultimate round of this year’s Shute Shield kicked off with six Melbourne Rebels in action on Saturday.
Sydney University played host to the Northern Suburbs in a must-win clash for the defending champions, who, after three consecutive losses, were at risk of dropping out of the top six with just one round left remaining.
The second-placed Northern Suburbs entered the clash boasting a rich vein of form, having won their last five games including last month’s impressive win over ladder leaders, the Gordon Highlanders.
In a tense first half, University imposed their will at the scrum, thanks largely to Rebel, Declan Moore, who continued his strong form at the set pieces, whilst also providing plenty of additional value through his running game.
In one of the highlights of the first half, Moore rebounded from an uncharacteristically crooked lineout pass, to expertly read a North overthrow and then burst through the oncoming traffic for a pulsating 20 metre run.
Moore’s barrelling display of strength, power and speed will be sure to excite the Rebels’ fans heading into next season, with Melbourne’s pre-season now just weeks away.
The Students would enter the main break leading by a solitary try and conversion, courtesy of an early run over by Wallabies’ prop, Tom Robertson, in the eighth minute.
The second half would provide a different story – at least on the scoreboard.
A 50th minute penalty try from a Moore-led rolling maul saw University seize control of the scrappy affair, before a Matt Hood try minutes later, all but clinched the season-defining win for the defending champions. Sydney ran out 34-15 winners, with all three Melbourne Rebels playing important roles in University retaining the John Thornett Cup.
Backing up from his impressive display against Gordon last week, Josh Kemeny was busy once again, making 6 carries, 3 passes, 10 tackles and beating 3 defenders, while the ever-reliable Declan Moore ran for 26 metres, with 7 carries and 5 tackles.
Despite the scrappy affair, Theo Strang continued to thrive at the 9, with the scrum half conceding just two turnovers from his 51 passes.
Elsewhere, Gordon clinched the 2020 minor premiership with a season high 97-point win over a winless Penrith.
Among Gordon’s many contributors, Charlie Abel recorded 5 tackles, 3 carries and made 4 passes during his third consecutive eighty-minute performance.
Lachie Anderson’s Eastwood claimed a resounding 47-21 win over Warringah, consolidating their spot in the top six and guaranteeing themselves a finals’ birth.
Anderson would make an explosive cameo running for 19 metres, making 3 tackles, with 4 carries and 5 passes, despite limited playing time.
Joining Anderson in the post-season will be Rob Leota’s Eastern Suburbs, following their 52-36 win over Western Sydney at Lidcombe Oval.
In what shaped as a David versus Goliath match up, the Two Blues took it up to their highly fancied opponents all game long, posting their highest score of the season.
Unfortunately for West Sydney fans, it would not be enough.
For the winners, William Maddocks crossed over three times and ran for 109 metres, while Rebel Rob Leota made 7 tackles, with 6 carries in another strong eighty-minute showing.
Meanwhile Southern Districts had their season sensationally cut short in an upset loss to Manly (43-39) at Forshaw Park, while the West Harbour Pirates claimed their fourth victory of the season, defeating Newcastle and Hunter Wildfires, 41-26.