Shute Shield Finals Wk 3 Preview: Northern Suburbs confident of passing Students' final test


2012 Shute Shield Preliminary Final Preview -- Sydney University v Northern Suburbs  

By Nick Halfhide

Northern Suburbs will go into their preliminary final this Sunday (3pm, live on ABC) confident of a victory over Sydney University to progress to their first Grand Final since 1998. 

Leading the same side that defeated minor premiers and reigning Shute Shield champions Eastwood last weekend, Northern Suburbs captain AJ Gilbert said the whole club was on a high. 
"There's a really good sense of belief and a lot of positive chat going around the club," said Gilbert.
"From a first grade point of view, knocking off last year's premiers, it couldn't have got much better on the weekend.  But with Sydney Uni this weekend, obviously the job's not done."
After defeating Manly in week one of the Shute Shield finals series, Sydney University have had the benefit of a week's extra rest and preparation time. 
"They did extremely well to beat the minor premiers on the weekend," said Sydney University captain Tim Davidson of opponents Norths.
"They have a very strong forward pack and some good finishers out wide. We need to look at our defensive systems to try and minimize their attacking opportunities in the forwards and prevent them from spreading the ball wide, where they are most dangerous."
The Students hold the bragging rights coming into the match, having twice beaten the Shoremen this season, most recently in round 13 by a small three-point margin.
That loss will encourage Gilbert's men, who know that a full 80 minutes performance will be required to defeat the Students and end a 14 year Grand Final drought.
"Sydney Uni are relentless.  You can't have lapses at all otherwise they put you away, that's how good they are. They choke teams out, we'll need to play our full 80 to be up there with them," Gilbert added.
After their heartbreaking extra-time loss to Eastwood in last year's Grand Final, Sydney University captain Tim Davidson says victory means a huge deal to the club.
"After our disappointment last year, we had to reassess where we were at.
"But the guys have put in an enormous amount of work to put us into this position. It's going a very tough game this weekend, you don't just knock off the minor premiers and not turn up the next week. It's going to be difficult for us but this weekend is where our focus is."
Tickets for both this weekend's semi final matches are available on the gate at TG Millner Field, priced at $20 for adults, with under 16s free.
The winner of this match will meet either Southern Districts or Manly in the 2012 Shute Shield Grand Final at Concord Oval on Saturday, September 15. Grand Final tickets are on sale now through Ticketek, priced from $2.50 to $45.
Alternatively, viewers across NSW and ACT can catch both of the Shute Shield preliminary finals live on ABC1 across the weekend (3pm Saturday and 3pm Sunday).
You can also stay in touch with the Shute Shield on Facebook via or where you can catch game highlights and a preview the Grand Final.
Alternatively, follow the Shute Shield on Twitter via @shuteshield or @abcshuteshield where you can send your thoughts through the week and receive live updates during games. You can also catch highlights of every round on the new ShuteShieldTV channel on YouTube.
You can also catch a wrap up of all the Shute Shield action via digital radio with ABC Grandstands new rugby show The Clubhouse. Hosted by Patrick Foulkes and Jen Browning the program will be on-air for half an hour every Monday evening from 6:05pm. To tune in go to the ABC website and click "listen live" or download the show on the blog any time here.
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY v NORTHERN SUBURBS at T.G Millner Field (ABC TV game, 3pm Sunday 9 September)

Sydney University: 1. Jeremy Tilse, 2. Nathan Charles, 3. Paddy Ryan; 4. Liam Winton, 5. Ollie Atkins; 6. Trent Dyer, 7. David Hickey, 8. Tim Davidson [c]; 9. Nic Stirzaker, 10. Daniel Kelly; 11. Michael Hodge, 12. Tom Carter, 13. Mitch Inman, 14. Tom Kingston; 15. Angus Roberts.
Northern Suburbs: 1. Cruz Ah Nau, 2. Scott Podmore, 3. Nick Lah; 4. Rory Walton, 5. Ben Matwijow; 6. Pat Sio, 7. Wil Brame, 8. AJ Gilbert [c]; 9. Dave Hardisty, 10. Dave Harvey; 11. Corey Brown. 12. Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 13. Bill Meakes 14. Peter Schuster; 15. Mitch Walton.
Referee: Steve Walsh
To see the preview of the other preliminary final this weekend between Southern Distrcits and Manly, click here






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