The Rogues Rant #308

May 5th 2022

Welcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

By Ron Wood

The Illawarra Referees will look a little different this weekend as the competition gets underway. This weekend is the Illawarra Rugby Referees “BATYR” Mental Health awareness weekend, Illawarra Referees in conjunction with Sydney Referees have partnered with “BATYR”, a mental health awareness group focusing on reducing the “Stigma” that can surround mental health, especially in our rugby community. Our Referees will be wearing the “BATYR” elephant logo on their shorts this season as well as brightly coloured elephant socks for this Saturday’s games to show the “elephant that is in the room” that is mental health and raising awareness of it. Where possible we will also be asking our first grade captains to wear the same socks. Mental health issues are becoming all too prevalent in our modern society, so please support our Referees with this great initiative and get the conversation going around mental health.

Let’s look at the details from last week’s Photo of the 1975 Caldwell Cup Champion Illawarra side. Did you pick out anyone you knew? The IDRU Life Members were John Martin, Geoff Shaw and Peter Woods. The two former IDRU Presidents were Terry Wetherall and Peter Woods. A youthful Tony Cheetham is the former Tech Waratahs First Grade Coach. The Squad Coach Harold Palmer is the Grand Father of recent Wallaby Dan Palmer who is now the scrum coach with ACT Brumbies. The three Wallabies, all from the very strong Kiama club of that era that won 9 IDRU Premiership Titles from 1966 through to 1976 were Geoff Shaw, Gary Grey and Brian Weir. Brian Weir played 10 tour matches for the Wallabies in South Africa in 1969. Gary Grey toured to France and Canada with the Wallabies in 1971 and played 5 Test Matches at Halfback in 1972 on tour in New Zealand, France and Italy. The very well respected Geoff Shaw played 68 times for Australia including 27 Test Matches, 9 times as Captain of Australia. He was inducted into the Wallaby Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Player of IDRU Grand Final each year now is awarded the Geoff Shaw Medal. Truly an impressive lot from 1975.

What a meritorious win for the much maligned Waratahs last week over the Crusaders. There was lots of emotion on display after the match as this long awaited winning performance was celebrated by a big crowd at Leichardt. It must now surely be onward and upward for the Tahs who proved to themselves and all their fans that they have the potential to beat anyone in this tournament on any given day. Coach Darren Coleman has shown wherever he has been that he has the ability to get the very best out of his players. Are we seeing that influence rising in the ranks of the Waratahs. The last two weeks of matches has suggested that the gap between teams from opposite sides of the ditch is narrowing which is a real shot in the arm for the game in Australia. The Aussie and Kiwi teams had three wins each last week and there are plenty of games this week that could go either way on current form. The Rogue scored four from six last week with the Waratahs and Brumbies causing the upsets. My tips for this week: Blues, Reds, Waratahs, Chiefs, Crusaders and Hurricanes.

Finally it’s Kick-Off time for the local comp. As of Thursday morning all matches are on with the one venue change being the Vikings V Campbelltown match now to be played at the Quinnies home ground. Keep an eye on the IDRU Website and Facebook Page for any late changes as they come through. Let’s have a look at the Round and make some predictions as to who will win. The Quinnies and Blueys match at Campbelltown Showground is somewhat of a mystery. Both clubs have had some significant changes to personnel and it will be interesting to see just how both clubs shape up for this one. I’ll go with the home side advantage. Campbelltown to Win. Bowral and Tech Waratahs meet at Eridge Park with an early start of 1200 Noon for Second Grade. The Blacks have lost a lot of their big names from the last couple of years with big injuries that will leave quite a few spots to be filled, while the Tahs have built impressively in the off season. The Tahs were strong in last week’s trials against Shoalhaven and Shamrocks and are looking likely to be the big improvers this year. Tech Waratahs to Win. Avondale are home to University at Gerry Cappetta Oval. University are reportedly a bit light on in the front row department so first up against Avondale is probably not what the Doctor ordered. They can expect a torrid afternoon against the Wombats as usual so I think I’ll go for the home side here. Avondale to Win. Neighbours Kiama and Shoalhaven meet first up at Kiama Showground in what should be a tough one as usual between these arch rivals. Shoalhaven showed plenty in the Saunders Oval trial matches last week although a little disjointed. After they went through last year without a loss I’ll go for the Shoalies to open this year with a close victory. Shoalhaven to Win. Camden travels to Ocean Park to play Shamrocks. Camden’s season build up has been severely interrupted by all the flood dramas around their area with their ground still cut off by water earlier this week. Shamrocks showed good trial form as well last week although they too have front row problems. I’ll stick with the home side here as well. Shamrocks to win. All First grade ,matches Kick-Off at 3.15PM.        

Rugby Diary 2022

14th May                    IDRU Round 1

                                   Campbelltown V Shamrocks

                                   Kiama V University

                                   Tech Waratahs V Vikings

                                   Avondale V Camden

                                   Bowral V Shoalhaven

11/12th June                        NSW Country Championships – Tamworth

10th September        IDRU Grand Final

All opinions offered in this column are the opinion of the author. They should not be considered to represent the views of the IDRU.