Updated: Aug 3
Proudly sponsored by the Friends of Warringah Rugby Foundation
THE rugby season is back in full swing and the Warringah Rats face a major test on Saturday at home against Eastern Suburbs.
And the third edition of Rats Tales has all the news you need to know from the club in the countdown to what will be a huge day at Rat Park.
In a special surprise, three genuine international superstars are lacing up the boots for Warringah.
Each week sports reporter Jon Geddes will keep you up to date with the latest news and gossip from the Warringah Rats - both on and off the field, thanks to the Friends of Warringah.
STARS OUT AT RAT PARK
IF not for the coronavirus pandemic, this weekend Aussie Sevens stars Ellia Green, Chloe Dalton and Sharni Williams in all likelihood would have been running around in medal play-off game at the Tokyo Olympics.
Instead, in huge coup for Warringah, the top trio will turn out for the Ratettes this Saturday at Pittwater Rugby Park against Eastern Suburbs following the Shute Shield game against the Beasties.
It will be a rare opportunity to see the Rio Olympic gold-medal winners and three of the world’s best and most exciting women players in action.
“They have all been given permission to play a half,” said Ratettes coach Erin Morton.
She said given the fact that when they are able to play sevens again is up in the air, officials have released them to play some club footy.
Both Dalton and Green are going back to where it all started after kicking off their distinguished careers at Warringah.
“Sharni lives in Newport and is a Rat by default now,” Morton said. “And she has had a fair bit to do with the Newport juniors helping to coach down there.
“She is a Rats’ supporter and pumped to play.”
IT goes without saying that the presence of the three big names is a big boost for the rest of the team.
“We have a big group of girls with a lot of youth,” Morton said. “Having these girls come back to the Ratettes to train and play is just invaluable – not just on the field but off the field.
“And the young girls learning from them will be really good for us.”
Dalton, Green and Williams are excited about pulling on the Ratettes jumper this weekend.
“These contracted sevens girls are all competitors and so they want to play,” Morton said. “Unfortunately, with covid right now that is not an option for them at the international level and I think they are really pumped.”
TAMING THE BEAST
WARRINGAH coach Michael Ruthven is well aware of the challenge facing his side in Saturday’s big Shute Shield big clash against the Eastern Suburbs Beasties.
“They are a good side, have a good roster and a good coach,” Ruthven said. “We’ve had a bit of success over them the last few years and they will be itching to get a win up at Rat Park.
“With the nature of this season every game is so important.
“You are definitely conscious of the nature of the competition and we need to start winning soon.”
Easts head into the game after a convincing 36-10 win over West Harbour last start, while the Rats went down 13-8 to Randwick in a real arm wrestle.
“We need to get that win and get our season rolling,” Ruthven said.
Towering lock Andrew Davies continued on from his good form in round one against Sydney University with another strong performance at Coogee Oval.
“He was brilliant on Saturday, for an unassuming young guy he was ripped in and put a couple of big shots on,” Ruthven said.
His performance was recognised when he won the Steve Lidbury Award for the toughness he displayed.
NO NEED TO PANIC “Everything we didn’t do well is well within our control, and with some hard work and a bit of detail we can certainly rectify that,” Ruthven said.
“We are a try away from winning two games of footy and it’s definitely not panic stations by any stretch of the imagination.”
Ruthven said the intent of the team cannot be faulted and they are definitely trying hard.
And that was demonstrated by the side’s defence last weekend against Randwick.
“They didn’t look like scoring and I don’t think they made a clean line break,” the coach said.
“We just didn’t manage key areas of the game well enough and we weren’t clinical when we needed to be.
“It was simple errors that cost us and probably a lack of vision.
“Our focus this week will be to just converting those opportunities in the A zone (the opposition 22) into points.”
MAN ON MAN
THERE will be some intriguing match-ups in Saturday’s Shute Shield clash against Easts which will go a long way to determining the winner of the crucial clash.
Rats No.13 Seb Wileman, whose absence from a Super Rugby franchise is very hard to fathom, will come up against Easts’ in-form Henry Paterson.
It will be a terrific battle at the scrum base between Warringah’s halfback icon Josh Holmes and Easts skipper Jack Grant, who orchestrates so much of his side’s play.
And new Rats’ No.8 recruit Charlie McKill faces his biggest test so far opposed to Beasties’ warrior backrower Sam Shires, who was outstanding in his side’s win over Wests last weekend.
Shires is well-known to Warringah after the times he did battle with the Rats in his time with the arch-rivals, the Manly Marlins.
“Rat Park is one of my favourite places to play so I get to renew some old friendships,” Shires said.
THE Rats first grade squad to play Easts is: 15 Ben Marr, 14 Ben Woollett, 13 Seb Wileman, (vice capt.), 12 Tyson Davis, 11 Charlie Tupu, 10 Tom Halse, 9 Josh Holmes, 8 Charlie McKill, 7 Mungo Mason, 6 Rory Suttor, 5 “Slammin” Sam Ward (capt.), 4 Andrew Davies, 3 Sam Needs, 2 Wes Thomas, 1 Jayden Taylor. Fresh reserves: 16 Rob Kelly, 17 Wayne Borsak, 18 Faavae Sila.
WHICH well-known Warringah Rat has branched out to become an Instagram influencer?
Stay tuned for more info.
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Until next week, punt high and chase hard.