Alltel Dewar Shield Match Of The Round Preview - Round 2

· Dewar Shield
by Rugby Vic Media

The Alltel Dewar Shield moves into Round 2 this week with Power House and Endeavour Hills set to battle it out in the Match of the Round at Noel Clarke Field.

The top of the table clash will see both sides full of confidence after coming off commanding opening round wins. Power House defeated Melbourne University by 42 points to claim the inaugural Uni Power Cup, while Endeavour Hills produced a physical display to beat Footscray by 40 points.

We caught up with both sides before their Round 2 clash to hear their thoughts on their sides preparations and what they believe the opposition will bring game day.

Power House First XV Captain Hayden McBride

How has the teams pre-season preparations come along?

Unlike other years, we’ve had the training ground available all-preseason due to the Formula 1 being cancelled. As there hasn’t been many disruptions, it’s meant we’ve had really consistent training since January. We’ve also had four pre-season games as the fields have been freed up. Our pre-season has been better than previous years.

How do you feel your side performed in the trial matches?

It’s been a rollercoaster. We started off with a hiss and a roar, with a couple of speed bumps in the middle, but we finished off quite well. We’ve had a lot of injuries coming back off a big break with people getting knocked around a bit. But we finished well which is really positive.

What players are you excited to run out with this weekend?

We have a few old boys coming back. Andrew Blannin is our Vice-Captain at full-back, who has been telling everyone how much he can lift at training. It will be good to see if he can transfer that onto the field. We’ve had a couple of guys who haven’t played rugby for four or five years who are really keen to come back and get into it. We also have a little no. 9, Fox Harper, who is looking sharp and raring to go.

Besides your own club, who is the biggest contender for the title in 2021?

It is a bit of an unknown this year. No one really knows where everyone sits. I don’t want to say anyone is stronger than others, however, the Melbourne Unicorns and Harlequins are always strong, so you’d expect them to be a threat again.

What are your sides expectations this year?

Obviously, we’d like to make the top four and push on from there. Anything is possible once you make the top four.

What do you love most about the return of rugby this year?

I think just getting on the field with the boys. The comradery with the boys, getting out there and playing, in the sheds afterwards. The team culture is something everyone has missed a lot.

What do you think Endeavour Hills will bring to the round 2 match-up?

We actually played them in a pre-season game. Their strengths are their very strong ball carriers who like to keep the ball tight through big ball runners. We’d probably like to run them around a bit, spin the ball wide and not take it through the middle against them.

Endeavour Hills First XV Head Coach Phil Hazlett

How has the teams pre-season preparations come along?

Our pre-season has been very positive. We’ve managed to build a good squad together and attract a number of players back to the club, which was our ultimate goal. We have had good quality numbers and a couple of good hit-outs.

How do you feel your side performed in the trial matches?

We’re building. We haven’t had many runs on the board over the last few years, so we are starting at a level we feel we can really build on. The form has been really pleasing and we’ve managed to put a couple of things together around our pattern. We are progressing.

Any new recruits we should look out for this weekend?

We have pulled some players back from other clubs that were Endeavour Hills players. We’ve also had a couple of players come in from overseas. Steve Fualau has come back to play from Japan, who is an ex-Crusaders and Melbourne Rebels player. Our Co-Captain Nathan Paila is also back from overseas. There are a number of good players there.

Which players do you expect to fire for your team in Round 2?

Nathan Paila! Being our Co-Captain this year, he is a player to watch. Our other Co-Captain, Ata Manu, is another player to watch out of the Melbourne Unicorns. He is an ex-Endeavour Hills boy who has won the Dewar Shield previously.

What are your sides expectations this year?

As I said, Endeavour Hills hasn’t had any runs on the board for a number of years. As much as we are confident we are building, we need to put the runs on the board.

Besides your own club, who is the biggest contender for the title in 2021?

I’d say the same as what most coaches are saying. Obviously, the Melbourne Unicorns and the Harlequins will be up there. I think the likes of the Moorabbin Rams will step up this year.

What do you love most about the return of rugby this year?

We love Saturdays. We love the feeling in the change rooms and being out there with the community. We’ve got the new facilities at Endeavour Hills that we’ve built in the downtime and we’ve managed to use them a lot already with our community events. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Frog Hollow.

What do you think Power House will bring to the round 2 match-up?

Power House are very well coached and organised. Their execution and structure is usually very good. They can be quite difficult to break down in defence. We’ll need to stick to our structures, believe in our systems and back ourselves to take them on.

The Alltel Dewar Shield Match of the Round will be held at Noel Clarke Reserve, K/O 3:15pm. Tune into Rugby Victoria’s Facebook page from 3pm to catch the Live-Stream of the match as well as the Rugby Xplorer app live and on-demand.

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