NEWSLETTER 10, 2023
I hope you are well and had a good Mother’s Day with your family.
In Round 7 last Saturday, it was a ‘green sweep’ at Coogee Oval with 5 wins from 5 against the Two Blues – with 3 victories in grade and 2 in colts on the morning shift. Over the bridge we also had our 3rd/4th Colts side take down a strong Mosman Whales subbies team in a friendly match.
Clearly, Parra (old habits die hard…) were not quite as strong as us in the lower grades, which was reflected in the very healthy score lines which kept the Suttons scoreboard constantly ticking over. However, there was no doubting their physicality, courage and willingness to compete. Also, off the field, their singing and musical capabilities in the grandstand, added much colour and to proceedings and was enjoyed by all – well except for a few of our cranky old blokes in hearing aid shot of them.
What’s even more clear, is that their First Grade team are a formidable outfit in both size and ability – so it was no surprise they knocked over Uni and then Souths in consecutive weeks. It turned out to be a classic match, with us scoring tries from scrums, line-outs, rolling mauls and also via our trademark absolutely brilliant backline movements - but still we couldn’t shake them. In the end, it took some excellent defence and discipline by our boys to hold them out for almost 30 phases, after the full-time bell rang, to hang on and win our 3rd home game of the season. Never in doubt.
First Grade, also wore red socks in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Australia’s Community Care Program, a charity we have proudly supported now for a number of years through our association with Suttons, to help drive awareness of this disease. For context, more than one million Australians carry the CF gene and sufferers like Bella Borg endure it every day.
On the back of this all, it was a big night back at the Coogee Legion Club, Pier Bar for the post-match festivities and it was good to see so many supporters up there, mixing with the players and coaches from both teams. The Two Blues didn’t leave totally empty handed and were the decisive winner of the Boat Race between the teams at the Legion.
Last Sunday, our young Randwick Magic Girls also had their first trot of the season in Round 1 of the Sydney Women’s 7s Series at Sylvania. They had two wins against Gordon and Norths, then a close loss to another Gordon side in the 3 games played. So, bravo ladies, on performing so well in your first senior outing. Onwards and upwards for this crew!
All these battles will be covered in great detail in our Coaches Corner – with insightful match reports from all the Two Blues, Mosman and Girls 7s games from the coaches. Plus, along with some highlight video’s, here is also a sample of excellent pics from our lensmen Ric Mclallen and Brett Dooley. All of Ric’s photos from all the Coogee Oval games are also on our website in our galleries area - so Click here to view them.
This Saturday, May 20 in Round 8 of the 2023 Charter Hall Shute Shield we take on the much improved West Harbour with Grade away at the new Concord Oval and our Colts all at home on the big stage at Coogee for the first time this year.
We will have 3 Colts games on Coogee Oval on Saturday, kicking off at 11.20am and the main game is on at 2.00pm, Its free entry, so we would love to see you down there supporting our best and brightest talent in our Colts program.
A final (almost) reminder of our Back to Randwick Weekend (May 26 & 27) for our ex-players, coaches and officials being held on Round 9, when we play Eastwood at Coogee Oval and the reunion the night prior at Clovelly Surf Club. This is your first final boarding call old boys, so please Click here to get your ticket. So, chop, chop or get chopped.
Also, ladies make sure you save the date for Ladies Day, which will now be held a bit later in the year on Saturday July 29, when we play Souths at Coogee Oval. Yes, we are having it – so lock it in your diary now. Details to come.
Again, plenty for your viewing pleasure in this edition – so enjoy. We wish all our teams, all the very best in Round 8 v West Harbour Pirates. Up the Wicks!
It was a hard-fought win over the Two Blues last Saturday @ the G, plus it was also the first time this season that First Grade has won back-to-back games in this topsy-turvey competition.
While we’ve played tough in every game this season, we did challenge ourselves to find consistency in our preparation, for what we knew was going to be a difficult game. The Two Blues are a side that has been playing some really positive and successful rugby in the last month, with some excellent long range tries and a high number of offloads, which we knew was going to test us over the 80 minutes.
We had a 19-7 lead at the break and left the sheds for the second stanza feeling like we had a clear plan on how we wanted to start the final 40 minutes. That was thrown into disarray, when the visitors crossed for a try 30 seconds in and quickly following up with another to hit the lead 21-19.
So, all our good work was undone in the blink of an eye and the momentum was firmly with the Western Sydney boys. Plus, with it the noise from the grandstand was now in full loud festival mode, with their lower grade boy band buoyantly pumping out some quality vocals.
Our ability to swing the momentum back in our favour was very pleasing, for the second week in a row, highlighted calmness and maturity - led by our Captain Ben Houston, some quality game management from Coby Miln and outstanding defensive efforts from the team led by Nick Chan and Tom Serhon.
The defensive pressure led to us taking the initiative back courtesy of some very sharp attack and the game looked like it was ours after 3 quick tries and a 12-point lead with 7 mins to play. But, nothing great is easy in this competition.
The Two Blues then scored a try out of nothing, with a few minutes remaining on the clock and keeping up the season tradition of yet another nervous end to the game for us all. Our boys bravely and intelligently were forced to defend for 27 phases after the bell sounded and deep into the 84th minute, before finally on their 28th phase of attack the Two Blues came up with a dropped ball. Full time was blown by the ref and we prevailed 36-29. Phew!
The determination shown by our guys at the end of the game was outstanding and it’s a part of our DNA we have and will continue to work hard at displaying this season when times get rough.
This Saturday will be our first time out to the newly refurbed Concord Oval to face West Harbour, who are also having a good start to season under new head coach Cam Treloar and will be tough to beat on their home patch. Again, we will be ready for the challenge. Up the Wicks.
1st Grade Head Coach
After a great performance at Coogee Oval against Manly the week prior, 2nd Grade had the opportunity to back it up at home, this time against a very physical Two Blues team in Round 7.
We opened the scoring after consistent pressure inside the Two Blues 22m with Will Ngatai finishing in the corner after a strong maul platform from the forwards.
We went straight back on the offensive again, pushing up the field via Two Blues penalties and crossed the line via a rolling maul which is starting to become a real staple in this team. However, we were deemed to be held up courtesy of a Parra infringement and oddly we only got a penalty and not a penalty try. Then, a costly turnover at the ensuing line-out led to a spectacular Two Blues counter attack, displaying how threatening they can be and they scored.
Despite this, we stayed composed and stuck to our process, to return fire to score again in a similar mauling fashion through Louis Robinson (see photo below) and went in 12-7 ahead at halftime.
After the break, with a strengthening wind behind us and an eager bench looking to make an impact, we applied great pressure through fast carries which created lightning-quick ball, with Max Moore being the beneficiary to score. Then our finishers started to come on to play their part, notably Sione Misiloi, making his long-awaited return from injury and delivering the biggest defensive hit of the day.
As the half went on, our excellent scrum created the platform for a well executed set piece move for Ethan Cusack to finish off. Mind you we had to send out a search party for him due to a misunderstanding on whether he was benching for us or not, anyway we tracked him down and to cut a long story short he scored on his 2nd Grade debut.
This added to our impressive 5 try second half performance and resulting in 45-14 win over a gritty Two Blues outfit who never gave up and kept coming at us all match.
It was pleasing for us as a group to keep building momentum and we look forward to another challenge against West Harbour this weekend at Concord. Up the Wicks!
2nd Grade Head Coach
Coogee Oval was a canvas for running rugby as we ran out to set ourselves to a high standard against Western Sydney on Saturday. We put on a display of dominance to come out 59-10 winners against a Two-Blues outfit determined to bruise a few bodies before the final whistle. And they did.
From the outset, it became evident that we were looking to seize control of the game (Can’t blame them for that Rob!). Some patient work, building momentum through the middle saw Alfie Orchard put a beautiful pass across the face of three defenders giving Nathan Watts some space to use great footwork to score less than 4 minutes in. A few minutes later saw a chip and chase from Dom Moretti show some individual razzle-dazzle which got the spectators off their feet to finish a great try from 50m out.
We eased a grip on the game a little which saw Two-Blues take momentum following back-to-back penalties for a kick to the corner and a maul try. Another try just before halftime from an intercept on their own line saw their second and final try to the game.
The second half again started with all cylinders firing in attack, but ended with some unyielding defensive efforts from our skipper Sam Connor and Mr Consistent, Ollie Smyth. After some unrelenting carries through our midfield, the boys remained resolute in defence and the game concluded with no points scored in the second half by our opponents.
As a team, we are always looking at opportunities to improve and have identified areas to refine our game, but I was proud of the efforts put in on Saturday. A perfect opportunity to optimise our game will come next Saturday at Concord Oval against West Harbour, to which we are counting down the days. Up the Wicks!
3rd Grade Coach
Two Blues always present a tricky opponent. They play unstructured and unconventional rugby, they are physical and high energy, and can be difficult to overcome if they stay in the game for extended periods of time. The plan was simple, ‘score first, and score second’, and to avoid giving them unstructured ball.
We scored first, when a Xavier Houston line break led to a try to speedy winger Cayden Briscoe. Then penalties for various Two Blues ruck infringements, whilst overjoyed to receive them, actually prevented us from getting any continuity in attack. We opted for kicks to the corner from several penalties, however our line out maul was sacked by Two Blues, and we were unable to come up with a Plan B to counter this. (Hint…maybe try running it……)
Two Blues kicked a penalty goal before we were able to score our second try, another to winger Cayden Briscoe. We were having trouble keeping the referee happy when Two Blues entered our territory, and they kicked a second penalty goal from a ruck infringement.
First half injuries to a few of our key players, and the referee (yes, he broke down too), further impacted our rhythm. They were beating us in the contact areas and kicking better than us, and at 12-6 at halftime we were right in the contest. The coaches’ message at halftime was to kick less and toughen up at all the contact areas.
The run of play opened up in the second half in our favour. We started opting for quick taps and keeping the ball in play, and the big Two Blues forwards struggled to keep up. (The hint suggestion worked a treat...). A Ben Keogh quick tap led to a try in the corner to Harrison Valevatu. Our fourth try was the best of the day, #8 Theo Mayell made a break down the sideline, popped in contact to fullback Sam Gibson, who popped after contact to Zac McConnell for a great long range try. Zac scored his second shortly after off a Johnny Chan line break, and then Johnny scored himself from a solo effort.
Forwards Cooper Stynes and Theo Mayell scored late tries to push the score out, but it was probably closer than the 46-6 scoreline would suggest. Up the Wicks!
1st Colts Coach
With our round seven clash against the Two Blues being the team's first opportunity to play at Coogee Oval this year, the boys were keen to kick off proceedings for the club and put on a show. But they probably weren't as keen to get out of bed at the crack of dawn for a 9.10am kick off!!
Our focus all week was on our attack with an emphasis on earning the right to go wide. Patience in attack is a message the players will have ringing in their ears all year. We knew the Two Blues would be big and physical and they didn't disappoint. The most pleasing thing for the coaches was the variety in our attack, only going wide once we had gained the ascendancy at the gain line. All players working hard off the ball in both attack and defence. Judicious kicking was also a highlight and a huge improvement from the week before.
The final result was a convincing 71-7 victory to the men in myrtle. A terrific team performance highlighted by eight different players in the team crossing the line for a try. Some of the tries passing through eight and nine sets of hands before scoring. Even the halfway hoons were impressed!! The busiest blokes at the ground were the electronic scoreboard attendant and the ground announcer - Hector our GM - who was constantly updating the crowd of the score… thanks to Suttons!
We now prepare for West Harbour, a team that troubled us last year with their excellent set-piece and physicality in defence. Another great test for our boys. Up the Wicks!
2nd Colts Coach
Without the Two Blues, having a 3rd Colts team this season, we journeyed on another trip across the bridge and the dreaded Military Road crawl to play a friendly match, this time against leading subbies club, the Mosman Whales. Not knowing exactly what to expect from them, we went in open-minded. Once again, we started slowly and they came flying out of the blocks like killer whales and were soon on the score board.
However, this was the slap in the face that our boys needed, and we rallied like good Wicks men do. We scored shortly after, with some really good phases of running rugby and continued to do so.
However, later in the first half we went into our shell, struggled to gain momentum and the whales capitalized on our unforced errors. The half time chat was very simple - go back to how we train and put that into effect on the rugby field.
We started the second stanza well, as our attacking Galloping Greens DNA kicked in, along with some general smart play and sensible kicking we applied the blow torch to the Mosman defence and the points started to flow.
Concerted territory pressure, partly due to exceptional kicking from Jack Rigg, put us on the front foot and with that, more champagne rugby flowed at Rawson Oval.
To their credit, Mosman never gave up and they came at us again in the dying moments of the game making it close. However, our pressure in defence turned the ball over and we closed out the game to win 43-36.
It was another good hit out for the boys in myrtle green and we excitedly look forward to our first opportunity to play at Coogee Oval this season against West Harbour on Saturday. Up the Wicks!
The Coaching Brains Trust
3rd/4th Colts Coaches
The Randwick Women's team returned to the SRU Women's 7s competition last Sunday at Forshaw Park, ironically timed to coincide with Mother’s Day celebrations.
Our squad, was primarily made up of Under 18 players from our Randwick Magic Junior Club, who were really impressive in their first senior outing and it marks the beginning of a much tighter strategic connection between the junior and senior clubs, with a combined and deliberate longer term focus on the development of our own local players.
Purposely graded in Division 2 for the early stages of the series, the young Wicks team displayed plenty of skill, speed and courage to win their first two matches in the senior grade - beating Gordon Green and Norths on a very boggy Forshaw #2 field. (That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said about that field Whits!!)
A narrow loss to Gordon Blue saw the team finish with a 2 from 3 record, but with major disruptions to the Division 2 competition, saw no finals match opportunities for the Wicks team. However, we left the Shire well satisfied with our first outing for 2023 and really excited for the next round at Manly on May 28. Up the Magic Wicks!
Randwick Magic Coach