Saturday, September 2nd – Zeims Park – 4pm Kick Off
- Sutherland Seahawks vs UTS Gators
- (Choc’s Prediction: UTS by 7)
Firstly, I’d like to congratulate the Seahawks on a great game, from what I heard, you guys gave the Gators a hell of a run. But this day belonged to the boys from UTS. In a return for 2 of their talisman players, the Gators played on hell of a game and announced their return to the upper echelon of the GNSW in a big way. One of those returning players was LB Tim Clulow who (alongside Jamuie McGrory) made life an absolute nightmare for Hawks QB Daniel Besz. On the other side of the ball, returning QB Jordan Rowland led his team to their first win of the 2017 season, with RB Freddie Khoussis picking up two TDs. It was a close matchup for both squads so look out for both teams in the race to the playoffs in the tail end of the season. Next week, the Gators will take on the Rebels while the Hawks will be able to regroup in a week off for the bye and come back against the Raiders in the following week.
Final Score: SEA 16 – 20 UTS
Saturday, September 2nd – Zeims Park – 7pm Kick Off
- Wollongong Mustangs vs North Sydney Rebels
- (Choc’s Prediction: REB by 7)
WOW! This was a surprise. And it isn’t a bad thing (well except for the Rebels) but props must be given to the Mustangs. Looks like a good offseason did them well as they came out firing in this one and bagged their first W for the season in front of their home crowd. The Rebels weren’t the same team that finished the 2016 season white-hot last year. An ejecton to starting RB ___ meant they had to rely on their rookie backup RB Tanaka Jokomo to hold down their ground game. It seemed like the Mustangs did their homework as well, as they avoided throwing to the Rebels most dangerous DB Ben Lucas. The ‘Stangs dominated on the ground and picked up some good momentum for the season ahead. Next week, the Wollongong outfit take on Ducks away, whilst the Rebels will travel to Revesby and take on UTS.
Final Score: WOL 14 – 12 REB
Saturday, September 2nd – Slade Park – 1pm Kick Off
- Newcastle Kings vs Sydney University Lions
- (Choc’s Prediction: SYD by 21+)
A surprising score line for this one saw the Lions triumph over the Kings by 20 points. I say surprising, because last year the Lions thumped the Kings by 58 points without conceding anything. Now this can be either due to the change in personnel at the Lions or in fact, it could be due to the improvement of football at the Kings. I would say the latter in this one. A Kings player which I mentioned in my GNSW preview on the Going Local Podcast (shameless plug), rookie WR Hayden Yates scored his first TD in his football career, while another Kings rookie Thomas Hutton picked off Sydney Uni QB Ike Fuchs (in his first game in the Gold and Blue). Even though they came away with the loss, the Kings should hold their heads high after turning around a 58-point deficit to just 20 points in the space of 12 months. Next week the Lions will clash with the UNSW Raiders, who are coming off a bittersweet loss to the Predators. Meanwhile, the Kings will clash with the Predators, which should prove to be a good hit out between the two squads and we’re looking forward to the new-look Kings!
Final Score: NEW 14 – 34 SYD
Saturday, September 2nd – Slade Park – 4pm Kick Off
- Central Coast Sharks vs Nepean Ducks
- (Choc’s Prediction: too close to call)
I probably should have written this in my preview but I said that this was going to be the game of the round. And it was… until the lights went out (but more on that later). The Sharks and Ducks went back and forth in this clash. Ducks QB Emil Johannsen found WR Ryan Higgins (who is a product of the Ducks colts program) for his first 2 TDs as a senior. And on the other side of the ball, the Sharks D did well to shut down the Ducks most dangerous receiver, WR Grant McNaughton. When the Sharks held the ball, QB Jordan Nikora lived up to the name of being a strong dual threat QB, running two of his own in whilst throwing a third to the big TE Eamonn Akamarmoi. The Sharks were leading this one before the lights at Slade Park went out just before halftime. The officials and club representatives decided to call the game then and there, and the game was officially declared a draw. Now, in my own opinion, I think this is tough break for each club. First game of the season and its cut short due to lighting issues. The good thing is, at the time of writing this article, the committee at GNSW are working on a solution to allow both teams to replay the game instead of adding a draw to their records. I’ll keep on top of this one and give you guys more information as I hear it from the GNSW.
Final Score: CCS 24 – 13 NEP (final score at the time the lights went out)
Saturday, September 2nd – The David Phillips Sporting Complex – 3pm Kick Off
- UNSW Raiders vs Northwestern Predators
- (Choc’s Prediction: 😉 )
What a game this was! And what a win! All respect to the Raiders but to bag a win against a team we hadn’t beat in the last 3 years was such a good feeling. Both teams came into this one full of confidence and energy from the offseason. And it showed; on the first play from scrimmage, Preds RB Jack Marton exploded through the Raiders D and ran the ball 70 yards for a TD… only for it to be called back for the Preds lining up in an illegal formation. A back and forth affair, the Predators opened the scoring before Raiders QB Lukas Vojnar replied back with one of his own. Going into the break 14-6 up, the Preds knew this would be a dog fight til the last whistle and expected the Raiders to come out firing on all cylinders. Going into the 3rd quarter, Vojnar likned up with his #1 receiver Max Nina for a TD in the back of the endzone, tying the ball game up at 14 a piece. Preds QB Mark Shoebridge (behind his new look and massive O Line) knew what needed to be done. Running the ball in for a TD and 2 point conversion, Shoey put the Preds in the lead and put our D back on the field to hold that lead. A dangerous serious by Vojnar and his offense was cut short by a game changing pick from Predators FS Derin Acaroglu, who ran the ball back to the Raiders 30 yard line. A first down catch by Rookie WR James Murray, and a few kneel downs later and that was the ball game. To call this one tense is an understatement. This one was a nail biter all the way through and the Preds would like to thank the Raiders and their organisation for putting on a good show for all the fans that came down. Next week, the Raiders take on the defending champions, the Sydney Uni Lions, while the Preds take on the Newcastle Kings.
Final Score: RAI 14 – 22 NWP
**West Sydney Pirates have the Bye this week
*Photo Credit: TM Photography