Round 10 of 13 is now in the books for the Shute Shield, and Darren Coleman‘s Gordon team remain at the top of the ladder. They have finally proved mortal, however, tasting defeat for the first time this past weekend against an in-form Northern Suburbs who are now just one point behind.
Coleman will depart the Shute Shield after the season, win or lose, to take over as Head Coach of the Los Angeles expansion side in Major League Rugby. Norths have featured now former-Free Jack Brad Hemopo on the blindside flank all season, the big fella notching three tries in his nine starts.
Worth noting is that all 13 players with MLR links in the Sydney competition are forwards, with front rowers accounting for more than half of those. Australia is not traditionally known for having dominant front rowers but they have acquitted themselves well thus far in the American competition.
James King is the latest to arrive, the new Old Glory signing returning to Eastern Suburbs in Round 9 and getting the start in the No1 shirt this past weekend against the inspirational James Hilterbrand‘s Manly side. NOLA hooker Lindsey Stevens was a replacement for the Beasts, while Houston’s Van Stewart started at No6 for the Marlins.
SaberCats fans are also keeping an eye on a pair of Faoagali‘s at Penrith. Mathew has started the past four games playing both blindside flanker and No8 while younger brother Falaniko hasn’t featured in several weeks. The Emus are winless in their return to the competition after a near-two year hiatus.
Jake Turnbull continues to be a staple at loosehead prop in Randwick’s lineup. The Galloping Greens are now in 4th place, just ahead of Sydney University. Speaking of Uni, they have had to settle for just one solitary outing from former Wallaby and San Diego tighthead Paddy Ryan.
Whether Turnbull returns to DC remains to be seen. Another who Old Glory are hoping to have back is co-captain Mungo Mason. The openside flanker continues to be a leading man for Warringah while Austin signing Maclean Jones has suited up on two occasions in recent weeks.
Seattle tighthead Tim Metcher has been a key figure for Southern Districts all season, while Utah hooker Sama Malolo has found himself running out at No8 for the past three weeks. Both players have previously featured in the Australia u20 front row.