Dewar Shield Match of the Round Preview - Round 12

Thu, 29/07/2021, 03:32 am
Rugby Vic Media
by Rugby Vic Media
Photo by Kevin Juggins Photography
Photo by Kevin Juggins Photography

Senior Rugby is finally back!

After Victoria’s second lockdown of the season, Endeavour Hills will host the Melbourne Unicorns in a top of the table clash for the Round 12 Match of the Round.

Both teams will be desperate to bounce back from tight losses in Round 8. Endeavour Hills fell to Power House for the second time this season, 31-34, snapping a six-game winning streak. While Melbourne was outplayed by Moorabbin, 17-23, at home to record only their second loss for the season.

It was a fiery contest when top two teams last met in Round 6, with Endeavour Hills charging home in the last 10 minutes in hostile territory to win a classic, 26-23.

This could well be a Grand Final Preview between the two heavyweight teams of the 2021 Dewar Shield competition.

We caught up with both sides before their Round 12 clash to hear their thoughts on their sides preparations and what they believe the opposition will bring game day.

Endeavour Hills Senior Coach Ben Perenise

Endeavour Hills sits in second place with a 7-3 record, how do you feel the side has performed since returning from the covid enforced break?

We (coaches) were a bit nervous coming back. We had a bit of momentum going into the lockdown so didn’t want to lose that. The boys responded well and got straight back into their work.

The team dropped its five-match winning streak with a narrow loss to Power House in Round 8. What did the team takeaway from that performance?

The comp is a tough one this year. You can’t take any team lightly. You got to take your opportunities otherwise you’re going to get punished.

What will be the focus for the side heading into the remaining three matches before finals?

Play our game and control what we can.

You last met Melbourne in Round 6 – winning a classic in the last ten minutes at Romanis Reserve. What can the team takeaway from that match?

Other than belief, nothing. Every game is a different game and we need to treat it as such. You’re only as good as your last win.

How much of an advantage will it be to play Melbourne at your home ground at Frog Hollow Reserve?

To play one of the top clubs in Melbourne is the greatest challenge for any team. To do it in front of your community is a plus, and huge motivator for the players to come out and play well for them.

What do you think Melbourne will bring to the match up and where do you think the match will be won and lost?

Melbourne is well coached. I’m sure they will have a few tricks up their sleeves. The game will be won up front. Both packs will want to set the tone and give the backs a good platform to attack from. It will be another David v Goliath battle.

Melbourne Rugby Club Head Coach Tumai Edwards

How did the team stay Rugby Ready during the recent covid enforced lockdown?

The club stayed active with Zoom workshops and team online sessions. Each of the boys were set individual fitness programs by our S&C coach that they all worked hard on and each player had position specific tasks to work on. The coaches also set up Video analysis sessions from previous games for the lads to go back and review and study.

Melbourne sits in first place with an 8-2 record, how do you feel the side has performed since returning from the covid enforced break?

While we are happy on the season so far, we realise its still a way to go yet, with the 4 rounds left its still a very open contest. We have a dropped a couple of very close matches but with a lot of players stepping up in Grade or playing in different positions due to injury and unavailability it has been a great opportunity to see how some of the other lads have been able to handle 1st Grade and shows the depth within the club.

The club suffered its second loss of the season in Round 8 against Moorabbin. What did the team takeaway from the performance?

Yes a good grafting game, the Rams defended really well and made the most of their opportunities where as we didn't. That gives us some definite working points to go back and address and the time off has let the boys get stuck in to study their own videos and performance and analyse where we can all improve.

What will be the focus for the side heading into the remaining three matches before finals?

Hard work and 100% effort from now on as its the business end of the season heading into finals and being such a close comp, the one who doesn't bring their A-game will likely miss out. We have a hard run home with Hills this week, Uni also away the next and then two at home against Box Hill and Powerhouse to finish of the season H&A. So a solid finish to year is critical for us.

You last met Endeavour Hills in Round 6 – falling in the last ten minutes at Romanis Reserve. What can the team takeaway from that match?

A hell of a lot, we played 60 minutes a man down that game and the boys dug deep to only lose in injury time and that's not been lost on the boys. They are excited about this one that's for sure.

What players have impressed you in the side’s second half of the season?

A lot of players have really had to step up with so many injuries across the park but Graig Semisi has led by example every week, Matty Dewar up front has been busy every game and our angry ant Mak Stowers has been hectic.

What do you think Endeavour Hills will bring to the match at Frog Hollow Reserve and where do you think the match will be won and lost?

They are a big team with an aggressive pack that like to test the boundaries and we know that's coming. They are a very strong team right across the park led well by Junior Paila at 10 who gets their backline firing and the workhorses in the pack with Paila at 8, Iapote at flanker, Fualau and Matua up front. The set piece will be critical for both sides on winning clean ball and getting it out to the backs and with them finishing off the opportunities it should see some entertaining tries scored. Its going to be a cracking match and we are really looking forward to it.

The Alltel Dewar Shield Match of the Round will be held at Frog Hollow Reserve, K/O 3:15pm. Tune into Rugby Victoria’s Facebook page from 3pm to catch the live stream of the match.

 

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