I’m sure by now you have read my mid season report about the Status of the Shute Shield and numerous Challenges the Club faces moving forward. For those who don’t tend to visit the website, I would also like to draw to your attention the Head Coach’s mid season report. This can be found in the news blog and outlines all on-field progress and challenges.
I thought it timely to expand on some of the points reported, as I believe all of the Club’s teams, mens, womens and colts, are playing tough as Todd has indicated under a lot of resource pressure, however, there are some gems in there that also need to be highlighted. Before we move onto the gems, let’s examine what the next 6 rounds look like for us.
For our best performing team to make the finals, they will have to win at least 5 of the next 8 games against 6 of the finalists from last year – moreover, some results will have to go our way. Here’s what the next 8 rounds look like, together with the number of teams in the draw that will impact our position on the table – in other words, not only do we have to win, but certain key teams will need to lose for us to remain stable in a top 6 position.
RD10 – Bye – 3 key games for results
R11 – WH v Manly June 23 – Home – 3 key games for results
R12 – WH v Easts June 30 – Home – 3 key games for results
R13 – South’s v WH July 7 – Away – 2 key games for results
R14 – WH v Eastwood July 14 – Home – 2 key games for results
R15 – Manly v WH July 21 – Away – 2 key games for results
R16 – WH v Norths July 28 – Home – 4 key games for results
R17 – Warringah v WH August 4 – Away – 3 key games for results
R18 – WH v Parra August 18 – Home – 3 key games for results
First grade in particular have had an unusual number of players that have needed to step up from lower grades to the first grade squad and adapt to the pressure of Shute Shield rugby during the first 9 games. It is difficult to keep the momentum up in such circumstances, but great from a player development perspective.
There are a number of reasons for the unusually high rotation of players into first grade. We have or are on the brink of losing a number of players to higher representative honours as follows:
This has a flow on effect to the lower grades, but highlights the strength of our new player development programs, and how widely recognised they are becoming. This also means we are working toward realising our vision of becoming the strongest rugby club and club rugby pathway in Australia.
It is likely that we will lose Albert Tuisue and Kelly Meafua to overseas contracts, as they make a living for themselves. Injuries take their toll for all clubs and we are no different, but we are handling this well. This will leave a big hole on top of losing the following players:
Rhys Brodie – injury
Lio Lolo – Samoa
Shayne Anderson – Mitre 10 & Family
Justin Marsters – injury
Kawa Leauma – injury
Our women’s team is improving rapidly and have also sustained a number of injuries that challenge the depth of the squad. Colts are improving every game and are exciting to watch with ball in hand.
Fourth grade, like last season, are also playing hard. Third grade are inconsistent, but like first grade and second grade are having trouble settling on a team with all the movement through the club.
General club update
The Club hosted the Junior State Championship on the long weekend. I was impressed and proud of the volunteer and player support at the tournament. It was fantastic with a real feel of giving back to the club – many officials and other clubs commented positively on this.
Island Night is this weekend, which is a great social and club bonding night. Our Island Night is like no other with our players really taking ownership and pride in performances.
Back to West Harbour Day will be held on the 23rd of June and is a good time to reunite the old and the new of the club and is very important.
So where are we?
A Premiership in 2018, whilst we are all wanting this dream to be realised, is unlikely given the resource duress and the challenges we have faced in 2018. As sad as this is, the reality is the Club cannot go from being in the worst financial crisis in the Club’s history to winning a Premiership. Top 6 for all of our teams is also unlikely, given the numerous challenges we have faced, however, the players are doing us very proud, going above and beyond to put back into their Club and playing tough.
Whilst we are working hard, we have had to refine our strategic plan a little to accommodate the significant challenges we are facing. The reality is, due to the challenges, 2019 will be the first year of implementation of strategic plan as we focus on getting back on our feet in 2018.
The Board was pleased with the engagement and feedback provided from the last update we sent. We will be further seeking your views and support in the near future, when we will be sending out a survey on how we can improve the Club and what you, our supporters and members, want. We are also seeking input on your thoughts on what it is going to take to win the elusive premiership in the modern day premiership rugby.
The Club and Board are united and committed to becoming the strongest rugby club and club rugby pathway in Australia – our vision-family club
I would take this opportunity to thank you all for the part you play in making this Club great, whether you are a player, supporter, member, parent, friend, family member or have some other connection to the Club. We could not continue our efforts without the contribution you make to your Club.