2018 Colin Caird Shield Grand Final: Eastwood
All photos by Serge Gonzalez
Eastwood 2nd grade head coach Graeme Harrison takes us through his 23 man squad for tomorrow’s Colin Caird Shield grand final showdown…
1. DEAN DOUMBOS: Dean played in our 2nd grade grand final team last year, so is keen to reverse the result. He has been a regular 1st grader this season, so brings a great deal of experience to the side. He just loves scrummaging and gets excited every time someone drops the ball. A strong ball carrier, especially when close to the try line.
2. ED CRAIG: Also a player who’s had many 1st grade appearances and brings amazing energy to the team. Ed regularly leads the tackle count, and not just during the game but also at training when we go full noise. He is one of our best on-ball attackers, and a turnover or two each game is the norm.
3. RHYS SHERIFF: One of the five 1st grade colts from last year playing second grade this year. His defence and scrummaging at this level has been a highlight this season. Rhys loves to carry the ball into contact, usually with stunning results. A very excitable guy who usually features in the background photo of someone else’s try.
4. CHARLES GRANGER: The second of our colts playing his first year in grade, Charles played most of the season in lower grades but over the last month has been a standout. His lineout skills and speed around the ground has made him our go-to guy when we need something special. Keep an eye on this guy if you want to see someone who just loves to play footy.
5. MANASA ROKOSUKA: The ‘enforcer’. A big-hitting, hard-running second rower, he plays with huge energy and is one of the most improved players this year. Not lacking self confidence, Manasa is the first to suggest he should take the kick for the line, or that long distance shot on goal to win the game.
6. KYLE SHEWAN: If you don’t have one of these guys in your team you are just not going to be competitive. Linespeed, defence, ball carries and work rate is ‘Shews’ game. He’s also one of the leaders, a player players look up to. Able to play multiple positions, Kyle is the first name selected every Monday at team selection meeting. If we are to win, we will need Shew in the team.
7. TEVITA PIUKALA: Where do you start? The all-round rugby player, Tevita wins the best player award so regularly and when he doesn’t, it’s because he didn’t play. Seriously, he’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached. I think I’ve learnt more from Tevita then he’s learnt from me. Watch this guy, he’s on the ball every minute of the game and his amazing non-stop play is a pleasure to watch.
8. MARK QUADRIO: Quad’s one of our bench players who’s played his way into the starting team, and having played most of his games in 3rd grade just shows how strong the clubs lower grades are. Mark only knows one direction when called on to carry the ball, and it’s the same direction when it comes to tackling – the opposition usually end up back where they came from. Every time he comes on from the bench he has an instant effect. Great player.
9. STEVE KIRBY: Always happy to take the piss out of the coaches, he’s a typical halfback! Annoying, aggressive and a talented rugby player. ‘Kirks’ is one of the best tacklers in the team, and is always prepared to put his body on the line. Tackling the biggest guys is his specialty, and usually saving tries.
10. BEN JAMES (c): Whether playing 10 or 12 he’s outstanding, and reads the game as well as anyone I’ve coached. At 10 you need to be aware as he can find the gaps with a timely pass or a step, at 12 he asks questions of the defence. Ben’s own defence is superb, and to have such a solid defender gives the whole team confidence. Has an assassin’s smile – ask him to show you. When we win he’s had a major part in, or has orchestrated the result.
11. TIM WILLIAMS: I’ve had the pleasure of coaching ‘Twill’ for many years. He’s a top bloke and an outstanding player. Has played many 1st grade games lately, and has huge experience when it comes to games like today. In a side with so much youth Tim brings the cool head to the team. Not wanting to be known as the old bloke – which he isn’t – he’s still the closest in age to me. (Sorry mate).
12. SIONE FANGIA: Our midfield specialist, a strong carrier of the ball, and busts the line on regular occasions. Known as ‘Boy’ to his team mates but he isn’t, as many oppositions have found he is a hard-hitting defender. Quiet off the field, not so on it. If we were to win the final ‘Boy’ will have had a huge influence on the result.
13. BARTON PICONE: Another of our ‘first year out of colts’ players. Great speed, can step but most impressive is his ability to stay on his feet in contact. Quite often busts through the defensive line to create opportunity for others to score, but his defence has also been key to our success this year. When called on to play 1st grade this year he showed it’s only a matter of time before he’s a regular Shute Shield player.
14. JAMES DAY: Whether playing wing or fullback he’s an exciting young player. At times a coach killer, at other times a game winner. Speed is something you cannot coach, he has loads, and when he breaks the line he’s hard to stop. He’s also our goalkicker, so James will play an important role in the GF.
15. JOSH NOHRA: So many words could describe Josh’s playing abilities – exciting, amazing and fantastic. But one sums him up – ‘brilliant’. No one hunts out a try like Josh. When anyone makes a line break, it’s Josh who is on hand to take the offload and score. But while he’s a great finisher he also reads the game as well as anyone. Watch this guy because he’s the real deal.
Where do you start? If we were to win this week it will be because of these guys. As a coach when an injury occurs during a game it’s never good. Well in my case, it’s an opportunity to replace a good player with someone who’s likely to bring the x-factor at the right time.