The Rogues Rant #309

May 12th 2022

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

By Ron Wood

There are some significant Milestones occurring in Illawarra Rugby over the first couple of Rounds in 2022. Vikings Skipper Joel Diggins made his 200th First Grade appearance for the club last week at Campbelltown. While Joel was celebrating his achievement University star forward Paul Tuala took the field for the One Hundredth time for the University club and will play his 100th in First Grade for the club in just three more matches. Milestones are also coming around for some of our Referees with veteran Steve Markham due to officiate his 400th game at Campbelltown on Saturday, with Wayne Cusack and Neal Greaves both racking up 150 games recently. Well done and congratulations to you all.

Things are not looking too good for this week’s matches with the weather causing plenty of concerns. Councils across the district are closing grounds with all clubs clambering for alternate venues to get this week’s matches on. As at 7.00PM Thursday all matches are still on but with clubs frantically trying to arrange alternate venues things are not looking too good and we may well see all matches washed out. Keep an eye on the Website and Facebook page for the latest throughout Friday.

On top of the weather issues Vikings Oval will probably be out of action for a few more weeks or so yet as lighting contractors struggle to get the new lighting system up. With all the ground waterlogged the contractor has not been able to get heavy lifting equipment in place to position the Light Towers. The use of Helicopters is being considered to get the job done so that the ground can be returned to playing condition. As they say, if it doesn’t rain it pours.

Jay Tregonning’s Wallaroo side are licking their wounds after an historic 12 – 10 loss to the Japanese girls at Bond University this week. In a sloppy performance by the usually composed Wallaroos the side made too many silly errors against a very physical and disciplined Japan side. After a strong 36 – 19 win over Fijiana earlier in the week The Australians were expected to win the match but too many errors and missed scoring opportunities played right into the hands of the very enthusiastic Japanese.  

There were only two Aussie winners in Super Rugby last week with the Waratahs winning narrowly against Moana and the Brumbies continuing their winning run with a good win over the Chiefs. Another interesting Round this week with all the Aussie sides somewhat up against it. On form it looks like a good weekend for the New Zealand sides coming up but with the Brumbies and Waratahs both at home upsets are not out of the question. My tips for this week; Highlanders, Crusaders, Drua, Blues, Hurricanes and Chiefs.

On the local front, last week’s first round of matches were a bit of a mixed bag. In general the results suggest we are in for a competitive series of matches. Worryingly though a couple of clubs struggled to field appropriate numbers of Front Rowers with one match featuring uncontested scrums. Vikings were forced to forfeit Second Grade due to a lack of players but all in all under the circumstances we are experiencing it was a fairly positive start to the year. The Rogue scored four out of five last week, with a couple of those going right down to the wire. Every game this week could go either way. Campbelltown are home again to Shamrocks. The Rocks won a hard fought match against the Rams last week while Campbelltown went down to Vikings. I think Shamrocks can get the points here. Shamrocks to Win. Bowral and Shoalhaven clash at Eridge Park in what is for me a bit of a toss-up. Shoalhaven’s defense was outstanding last week at Kiama as it was right through their unbeaten run in 2021. I think they can sustain their winning run here as well. Shoalhaven to Win. Avondale were caught on the hop a bit by University last week and will be without Halfback Andrew Duggan for a couple of weeks, suspended during the week for a lifting tackle against Uni. I still think though they will be too strong for Camden at Gerry Cappetta Oval. Avondale to Win. Kiama who host University at Kiama, showed plenty of opposition to Shoalhaven last week and with a run under their belt will test the Students. The Kiama pack was impressive last week against Shoalies and this is a problematic area for Uni. I’ll go for a home win for the Cows. Kiama to Win. The Match of the Round status goes to the Tech Waratahs V Vikings match which is the only match featuring two first round winners. Thanks to some Hoons in cars Saunders Oval is unavailable and all efforts are being made to find an alternate venue for this one. The game may go to Wilton but a venue is still to be announced. Where ever they play I think that Tech Tahs will be too strong for their favourite opponents. Tech Waratahs to Win.      

Rugby Diary 2022

21st May                    IDRU Round 7

                                   Campbelltown V Bowral

                                   Tech Waratahs V Avondale

                                   University V Camden

                                   Kiama V Vikings

                                   Shoalhaven V Shamrocks

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.