The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

Front rowers are everywhere. With such a big crowd at Vikings Oval last Saturday and with the inclement weather it was somewhat difficult for the Rogue to make his way to his usual spot on the back of the John Martin Hill. The biggest hurdle was in the area in front of the BBQ pit. The main problem was that the old Vikings Front Rowers Club had gathered and had created quite an obstacle for anyone passing through. Heading the group was two times Premiership prop Shane “The Fridge” Frigo. In close proximity was jovial hooker Joey Sigabalavu accompanied by former first grade coach and fellow front rower Tim Fisher. The trio was backed up by another Premiership hero from 2010, Mark Fisher the back row enforcer and younger brother of Tim. It was an effort but I finally broke through this mob only to come face to face with current Shamrocks Hooker Chris Smith. Eventually I made it up the hill and set up my seat for the afternoon. Then I noticed the next spot along from me was taken up by Vikings Life member John Fisher (father of Tim and Mark). You guessed it he was a front rower as well. They are everywhere! It was great to see so many old Blueys make the trip home for the special weekend for the club. Despite the poor weather the teams still managed to keep everyone interested right to the end as Vikings fittingly got the points. Happy Anniversary to Vikings and congratulations to those responsible for putting on such a memorable celebration of the first 60 years.

It’s official the 2017 Australian Schoolboys Tour to Great Britain is not going ahead due to an ARU funding shortfall. The Schoolboys Tours have been happening every four years since 1973 with the side playing four Test Matches against the Home Countries along with several other lead in matches. It has been decided that a tour will go ahead in 2018 but it will be shorter and will have a different format. The plan is for there to be a tour every two years with less matches and only two games against the Home Countries on each trip. In 2018 the squad will have Tests most probably against Ireland and Scotland, with matches against Wales and England scheduled for 2020. It’s not a bad idea really, given that it will give twice as many kids the chance to be part of a great opportunity as part of their Rugby education and development. The overall cost maybe a little higher but it will be much more manageable and should be more cost effective and productive.

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Aylett Dynasty Continues

The Aylett name has been well known in Illawarra Rugby for over forty years. With 19 year old Corey Aylett making his 1st Grade debut for Shamrocks in their Round 8 victory over Campbelltown we now see the third generation of the Ayletts making their mark in Illawarra Rugby.

It all started in the 1970’s when patriarch Barry Aylett made in excess of 150 appearances for the famous Woonona based club. Barry followed on from his playing days by taking up the whistle and went on to become one of the most respected Referees in the district over many years.2017 2 The Ayletts

Pictured after Coreys 1st Grade debut against Campbelltown are Barry, Corey and Richard Aylett.

During the eighties, nineties and into the new millennium, Barry’s son Richard, a very handy halfback, played 300 plus games for the Rocks. Along the way he picked up three 1st Grade Premierships, a couple of lower grade titles and was the IDRU Player of The Year in 1992. Richard is still very active at the club and is currently a part of the Coaching Staff and can been seen running water at Rocks matches.

Corey at 19 years of age is now studying at Wollongong University after spending his final years of schooling at St. Josephs College in Sydney, following in the footsteps of his maternal Grand Father, IDRU Life Member Danny Mahar. With so much rich Rugby blood flowing through his veins, young Corey was destined for a future in Illawarra Rugby.

Having represented Illawarra and NSW Country many times throughout his junior career, Corey is currently a member of the NSW Country Colts Squad who are preparing for their next match on July 1st against the Queensland Country Colts in Newcastle.

With plenty of football to come for young Corey the Aylett Dynasty is sure to be built upon for some time yet with plenty of very experienced advice available not too far from home base.

Vikings Home In Tough Contest With Shamrocks

MatchReportIn a hard fought evenly contested Match of the Round played at Vikings Oval, the Blueys have extended their winning run to eight with a narrow 11 – 5 win over a resurgent Shamrocks. The Round 10 IDRU Builders Club Premiership match was played in inclement weather in front of a large Vikings Club 60th Anniversary crowd.

With both sides showing that they wanted to play an expansive style of play the early stages of the match was marred with some poor handling as both sets of players came to terms with the heavy going with rain falling throughout the first half. As the players found their feet on the heavy ground the match developed into a real grind. Despite restricted opportunities both sides were able to adjust their play and produce an absorbing contest for the big crowd to enjoy.

Neither side were able to achieve dominance over the other at the set pieces as the forwards battled on the slippery surface. With open play restricted by the conditions the contest created between the sides right across the field kept the big crowd right on the edge as the result remained in doubt literally right up to the final whistle. Up front Vikings Captain Joel Diggins had a game long battle with Rocks Country prop Jesse Roche. Blueys Hooker Sam Wheatley who scored a well-deserved try and the Rocks hooker Chris Smith were both busy throughout. In the backrow Sione Tuitupoa and Jack Hobbs for Vikings were matched by Rocks Iszac Lunney and Damien Clark in tight.

Country rep halfbacks Tommy Sawden and Corey Aylett were prominent whilst fly halves Andrew Turbayne and Rocks Captain Tristram Storm must have been in the mix for Player of the Year award points. The biggest clash of the match in both attack and defence was out in the centres with the Blueys Michael Ashby and Luke Bertram up against Maciu Gauna and Luke Tonegato.

With Vikings No.8 Tuitupou earning some time in the bin for descent at the eight minute mark, Shamrocks took play deep into the Vikings quarter for their first visit of the match. After several unsuccessful forward raids on the Blueys line, Iszac Lunney took the ball to the short side from a scrum twenty out and found space for wingman Eloni Raisele to take full toll for a 5 – 0 lead for the Rocks. While still shorthanded, Blueys halfback Sawden reduced the lead with a penalty goal with twenty minutes of the match gone.

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The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

A big weekend is coming up for Junior Rugby with the NSW State Titles to be played over the long weekend. Illawarra will be sending a total of ten teams to the various venues across the state this year. We will have two teams competing in each of the Under 10’s and 11’s tournament at Warriewood and East Killara respectively. Camden Rugby Club will be hosting the Under 12 competition again this year as they have now for several years with distinction. The Under 13’s are at Barden Ridge in southern Sydney while the 14’s are off to Orange. The 15’s and 16’s are both at Narrabeen Academy of Sports Fields and our Under 17’s will be forming a composite team with Randwick for the 17’s tournament at Pittwater Rugby Park. This weekend is one of the highlights of the Junior Rugby year which has seen several Illawarra sides in previous years bring home a State Title. Let’s hope the boys can have some good luck in 2017.

It’s also a big weekend for the Vikings Rugby Club as they celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the club, the oldest and most successful Rugby Club in the Illawarra. There will be old Blueys coming into town this weekend from all parts of the globe as Wollongong can expect a large cash injection all over town for the next four days. Perhaps they might be able to get some of the visitors to visit the blood bank for a donation towards the Dexter Porter Cup but that will have to be early rather than later or the blood may be tainted. Things get underway on Friday night with an informal Friday Drinks before the action turns to Vikings Oval for the Round 10 matches against their well respected arch rivals Shamrocks. Who better for the club to celebrate such a milestone with than the club that they have enjoyed such a fierce rivalry with over many years? The post-match function is sure to continue till the wee small hours of the morning. A Kids coaching clinic starts the day on Sunday at 10.00 AM followed by a match between the legendary Viking Longhorns and the Junior Parents and Coaches. Should be some very fast walking rugby played here. You can expect some running rugby when a Vikings Jubilee 15 side made up of some of the clubs best players of the last 10 years go up against The Presidents 15 and invitational side of Vikings Stalwarts. Should all be a lot of fun for everyone young and old. The final event for the weekend will be the Clubs Gala Celebration Ball on Sunday night in the Grand Ballroom of the Novotel North Beach. Love the Blueys or hate them I think we all congratulate Vikings on what they have achieved in Illawarra Rugby over the past 60 years and may there be many more years to come.

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Junior Illawarriors Making Their Mark

Two weeks after former Vikings junior Reece Hewat was named Captain of Australia’s Under 20 Squad we’ve seen several other former Junior Illawarriors take a significant step forward in their Rugby Careers.

Last Sunday as part of the Country Cockatoos V Sydney Subbies program at Camden Rugby Park, NSW Rugby conducted trials for the 2018 Gen Blues Waratahs U/20 squad. The Country Cockatoo Colts were involved in matches against several sides selected from the Shute Shield Colts clubs. No less than six Illawarra juniors were involved in these matches showing that our region continues to produce quality players.Gen Blue Trialists 2017

Pictured after last Sundays matches are Sean Anese, Blake Schoupp, Corey Aylett and Daniel Lombardie.

In what has become a somewhat well-worn path, five of these players left our region to finish their final years of schooling at various Private schools as part of their Rugby development. These five were all part of a very successful Junior Illawarrior squad coached by the very astute Brendon Schoupp and Graham Tresidder, that took out two Country Championships and were runners up on two more occasions over five years. Their time in the Illawarra also involved participation in the early days of the Junior Gold Cup program.

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Tuala Inspires Cockatoo Rout

NSW Country LogoWith an inspirational Captain Paul Tuala leading from the front the NSW Country Cockatoos opened their 2017 campaign with a 40 points to 7 victory over an overwhelmed Sydney Suburban side at Camden Rugby Park. Running in six tries for the match the Cockatoos had the match in their keeping by half-time establishing a dominant 26 – 0 lead by the break.

With Tuala and his loose forward partners Kiama’s Leighton Cowley and Maitland No.8 Travis Brooke terrorising the Sydneysiders, the Cockatoos took control of the match from the outset dominating their opponents in all facets of the game. Running in four first half tries the hosts never allowed the Subbies to find any rhythm in their play as the Cockatoos went about their task with ruthless precision.

Subbies Flanker Steven Morton found himself in the Bin after just three minutes of the match for a lifting tackle and things just got worse for the visitors from that point on. Tuala opened the scoring for the Cockatoos while Morton was off burrowing his over the line for the first try. Fullback Jack Arthur kicked his first goal of the day as the Cockatoos led 7 – 0 after nine minutes.

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