Intrust Super Shute Shield: Hot Shots & Pie-Baggers – Post-Round 4
Yes, it’s that time of year again when the stats lover in me decides to shine a spotlight on the individual performers making a difference in the Intrust Super Shute Shield, despite rugby being arguably the ultimate team sport!
So, who has a happy knack of finding the chalk, and who has their radar finely tuned to cross the black dot on a regular basis?
After four fantastic rounds of club footy, you could throw a blanket over the leading runners and riders. Each week has brought its own individual success story, and a look back at which players have been excelling in the opening month of the new season reveals plenty of familiar faces.
Round one’s undoubted star man was Eastern Suburbs’ Mack Mason, who put his difficult experience with the Waratahs behind him to run the show as the Beasties downed reigning Premiers Sydney University 49-28, with a 24pt haul. Special mention too for Northern Suburbs’ Sam Giltrap, who racked up 20pts in the Shoremen’s impressive victory against Warringah at Rat Park. Meanwhile, in the try-scoring stakes there were opening-day doubles for Michael Adams (Manly), John Folau (Western Sydney Two Blues), James Neale (Eastwood), and Guy Porter (Sydney Uni).
A week later, new West Harbour flyhalf Tiaan Henk Swanepoel came to the fore, with a stellar 24pts including two tries, four conversions, and two penalties, as the Pirates got their season up and running with a 39-24 defeat of Randwick. Two-time Ken Catchpole Medal Winner Hamish Angus helped Warringah put a first tick in the wins column with 17pts as the Rats downed Easts at Woollahra, while Irish import Seán Kearns also bagged 17pts as Gordon pushed Southern Districts all the way in Darren Coleman’s first game in charge of the Highlanders.
On the pie-baggers front, Swanepoel was joined on the double try-scorers list by fellow new recruit at Concord Oval, Tavite Gadeisuva, while Jack Grant (Easts), Jackson Mohi (Randwick), Patrick O’Doherty and Harry Potter (both Sydney Uni) also claimed a brace.
By round three defences had tightened up, with a combined tally of 242pts scored across the five games, compared to 284 in round one and 282 in round two. As a result, no players got into double figures, with last season’s Roscoe Fay Trophy winner for the most points in the competition, Christian Kagiassis (Souths), sharing the highest tally of 9pts with another ever-present on these lists, Angus Sinclair (Northern Suburbs).
Sinclair’s brother Hugh, skipper of Norths, led by example with two tries in a convincing 44-14 win over Eastwood at TG Millner, and both were joined on the starting team sheet by youngest sibling Hamish, for what was their first ever game together. The only other player to cross twice was another captain, Sydney Uni’s Guy Porter, in the Students’ equally impressive 50-0 demolition of Warringah on Good Friday.
Points were at even more of a premium in round four, played out last weekend, with just 217 to be found across the five contests as some of the competition heavyweights went toe-to-toe. Another fine Irish import – bettered only by Guinness of course! – Bryan Croke, played a major role in Randwick’s derby day win over Easts on ANZAC Day with 13pts off the boot, while Eastwood’s Tayler Adams, the Roscoe Fay Trophy winner in 2017, put in a magical attacking display in the Country Round at Mudgee, with 12pts helping the Woodies bounce back from the defeat to Norths in style with a 27-21 win over Sydney Uni.
Uni’s James Kane – who possesses one of the most thunderous left foots I’ve ever witnessed – helped himself to 11pts in the same game, and he was matched by Tiaan Henk Swanepoel’s efforts for West Harbour, as they won the first-ever rugby match at the new Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, in a 41-15 defeat of the Western Sydney Two Blues.
Pirate’s no.8 Francis Ieremia Saufoi claimed a double in the same game, as did winger Tavite Gadeisuva – his second brace of the season. Aussie Sevens flyer John Porch has lit up the competition since his return to the red and black jersey of Norths, and his two-fer against Manly made it three tries in two games, and there was one more player to grab multiple five-pointers, Eastwood’s Kitione Ratu.
All of which leaves the hot-shots list looking like this with James Kane and Mack Mason sharing top spot…
And the pie-baggers list like this, with Tavite Gadeisuva and Guy Porter leading the way…
Happy hunting in round five!