Alltel Dewar Shield Match of the Round Preview - Round 13

Wed, 8/4/2021, 02:31 AM
Rugby Vic Media
by Rugby Vic Media
Image by Kevin Juggins Photography
Image by Kevin Juggins Photography

The business end of the Dewar Shield is fast approaching.

The Harlequins play host to Endeavour Hills on Saturday at Holmesglen Reserve in the Round 13 Match of the Round.

For the first time in its history, Endeavour Hills leads all in the Dewar Shield. The Eagles defended its nest with a powerful statement against reigning premiers Melbourne Unicorns last week, claiming a 34-19 victory – its second win over Melbourne for the season.

The Harlequins dropped their fourth match of the season, falling to the in-form Moorabbin at Harold Caterson Reserve 21-29 last week.  Sitting in fourth position, the ‘Quins will be desperate to bounce back onto the winners list and consolidate a finals berth on Saturday.

We caught up with both sides before their Round 13 clash to hear their thoughts on their sides preparations and what they believe the opposition will bring game day.

Harlequins Head Coach Chris Allen

Harlequins sit in fourth place with a 7-4 record, how do you feel the side has performed in recent weeks?

We’ve dropped off over the past 2 matches, although we won against University before lockdown it was ugly and not being able to address that the following week due to the lockdown wasn’t ideal. At times we are playing some good rugby but we need to do that for longer sustained periods at this end of the season.

The team fell to Moorabbin in the return to rugby last week - what did the team takeaway from that performance?

Every game you can learn something from and we certainly know where we can improve after that performance, Rams were good and reacted well after our fast start, we just needed to adjust again and keep to the game plan.

You last met Endeavour Hills in Round 3 in a tight contest - what can the team takeaway from that match?

That was a long time ago but we weren’t clinical in finishing that day we had a lot of chances, built good pressure but we left a heap of points on the park which we will need to change on Saturday afternoon.

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

We are now playing Finals Footy, we don’t have the luxury of dropping a game here or there so we need to take that finals attitude into the rest of the season.

What players have been the Harlequins biggest improvers this season?

We’ve had good performances across the board but a couple of our young guns who have come through the Colts program have been strong this season, Sam Tuibua in the backs has been in good form along with Johno Lightfoot in our pack. Most pleasing is the amount of Quins juniors and Colts that have made the step up to first grade this year, every week we have at least 10-12 former colts in our starting first grade side which is great to see. Captain Gus Arundel has lead by example all year and I expect him to take that to another level over the next few weeks.

What are the danger players for Endeavour Hills that you are expecting to fire?

They are top of the table so all of them! Their back row is strong so Tupai, Paila and Faamausili we will need to contain.

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

They are well drilled which has been missing in previous years so I’d expect Saturday will be a real battle of attrition, I’m really looking forward to the challenge against the competition leaders.

 

Endeavour Hills Forwards Coach Phil Hazlett

Endeavour Hills has moved to top place with an 8-3 record, how do you feel the side has performed in recent weeks?

I think you will see from the post game celebrations it means a lot to be leading the competition, it's the first time in the club's history so the entire club is enjoying it. I think there were about 100 people singing the club song on Saturday afternoon! 

The team played a superb match to defeat Melbourne Unicorns for the second time this season, what did the team takeaway from that performance?

We learnt that we can not win big games or this competition if you don't have a strong, fit, committed squad. We gambled a bit with taking on coaching both firsts and seconds this year, but the way the boys have embraced the "One Team" philosophy is testament to the bigger picture vision they all share.  This is being reflected with great performances across not only Dewar Shield but in Seconds, Thirds and Colts. 

You last met Harlequins in Round 3, winning a tight contest – what can the team takeaway from that match?

Quins are a vastly improved side from round 3. Whilst we played well and were happy to take the points, they had a number of opportunities they didn't take. Quins will always be a top 4 side capable of winning this comp, so we know they will be ready for us on Saturday. 

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

We have identified our defence isn't quite up to where we want it. Our natural instinct is to attack so we have worked hard on defending and offensive defence which is based around making good decisions coming out of our red zone. 

What players have been Endeavour Hills biggest improvers this season?

Guys like Dayne Wilkinson, Jaleel Tupusini, Josh Cocker-Valu, Taunga Samuel and Cupid Vaomua have toiled away at the club for years and are now being able to show what they are capable of. Our new players like Epeli Ula and Immanuel Opetaia have really stepped up and contributed greatly also. 

Who are the danger players for Harlequins that you are expecting to fire?

Captain Angus Arundel leads from the front, locking partners Steve Walch and Jonathan Lightfoot are very good at line out time and the hard running 6 Matia Vibote will make the forward battle really interesting. Add in half back Antonie Van Zyl and full back Isaiah Mosese and the threats are real.   

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

With Quins sitting 4th they will be fired up to consolidate a finals berth, we are under no illusions how difficult they will be. We need to continue to enjoy the game and be grateful we are back playing. Making good decisions is our focus and doing our jobs the best we can...the result will take care of itself.

 

The Alltel Dewar Shield Match of the Round will be held at Holmesglen Reserve, K/O 3:05pm. Tune into Rugby Victoria’s Facebook page from 1pm to catch the livestream doubleheader starting with the Colts Grand Final.

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