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By NSWRU Media Unit
Manly have suffered their first defeat of the year to hand back the top spot to Southern Districts, who return to the top the table for the first time since round two. Only three points now separate the top four teams, with Southern Districts, Eastwood, Eastern Suburbs and Manly all recording six wins from seven matches.
A 26-24 defeat by Eastern Suburbs at Woollahra Oval ended the Marlins' record six game winning streak and allowed the Rebels' to leapfrog them in the table, thanks to a 35-13 bonus point victory over Northern Suburbs at North Sydney Oval.
In other matches Parramatta have smashed Gordon at home, picking up the bonus point in the first half and cruising to a 53-33 win at Chatswood Oval. Randwick, still winless after seven rounds, went down to Warringah 26-13, whilst Eastwood picked up a comfortable 55-24 win at T.G Millner Field, as did Sydney University, who won easy against Penrith 43-12 at Nepean Rugby Park.
Eastern Suburbs 26 (Rob McMickan, Phil Mathers, Harry Bennett tries; Angus Sinclair con, 3 pens) d Manly 24 (Ryan Melrose, Jordy Reid, Cam Pyne tries; Sione Ala 3 cons, pen)
A late penalty goal from Eastern Suburbs' flyhalf Angus Sinclair ended Manly's six-game winning streak. Three times the Beasts came from behind to pick up a hard fought win in front of their home crowd at Woollahra Oval. With 28 points, the Beasts sit behind Eastwood but above Manly, with only points difference separating all three teams.
The Marlins came into round seven with an unbeaten record in 2012 however they now sit in fourth after failing to pick up the winning bonus point in all their matches.
Southern Districts 35 (Sam Latunipulu, Sean Doyle, Lester Solanoa, Brackin Karauria-Henry tries; Rohan Saifoloi 3 cons, 3 pens) d Northern Suburbs 13 (Mitch Walton, Lachlan Porteous tries; Haydn Wolfsbauer pen)
Tries to the entire Southern Districts' back row helped seal a fantastic bonus point win over Northern Suburbs to elevate the Rebels to the top of the Shute Shield ladder. Both sides named impressive backlines for the round seven contest, however it was the Southern Districts forward pack who stole the limelight.
With only one loss in the season, the Rebels look set to be in contention when the finals roll around. Conversely, Northern Suburbs need to win successive matches to have a chance of fighting off other teams for a top eight spot.
Parramatta 53 (3 Iese Leota, Matt White, Dan Yakopo, Damien Fakafanua, Tui Fa'asisila, Moses Tavola tries; Tom Woods 5 cons, pen) d Gordon 33 (2 Lucas Simkin, Roni Scarano, Mark Johnson, Tobius Gukibau tries; Chris Burnett 4 cons)
Parramatta retain their sixth place on the Shute Shield ladder after picking up an impressive bonus point win over Gordon at Chatswood Oval in the ABC TV game of the day. The Two Blues used the width of the field to their advantage, running in four tries in 18 minutes to lay a solid platform for the victory.
Parramatta's intentions were set early as they threw the ball around the park and opened the scoring with a try to centre Tui Fa'asisila, converted by flyhalf Tom Woods.
Two Blues' halfback Kaleb Rech and Woods worked well together to provide great ball for their outside backs, picking another quick try to Isese Leota on the back of some soft Gordon defence.
An injury to No.8 Luke Rissman didn't help the Highlanders' cause at the breakdown, which was highlighted when Two Blues centre Damien Fakafanua dived on a loose ball in the ruck and ran 50m down the sideline for Parramatta's third try of the match, making the scores 17-0.
The bonus point try came in the 18th minute after a huge run by Leota, who broke numerous tackles with ease to set up flanker Matt White under the sticks. Woods converted the bonus point try pushing the early lead out to 24-0.
Gordon capitalised on a Parramatta lapse to grab their first points of the match with their first attacking opportunity of the game, after flyhalf Erik Moss broke the line to set up centre Lukas Simkin for a try.
They added a second through lock Roni Scarano but it was to no avail as Parramatta scored one of the great tries this season as fullback Moses Tavola ran through the Gordon defence picking up 60m with ease before loading to lock Evan Olmstead, who found Leota for his second of the match. Woods converted making the scores 31-19 at the half.
Gordon hit back, crossing through lock Mark Johnson but a try to Two Blues' winger Dan Yakopo pushed the lead out to 36-19, with three points through the boot of Woods after extending the lead to 20 points. Although Simkin added a second try, a huge length-of-the-pitch try, started by Dan Yakopo and finished by Tavola sealed victory. Leota completed his hatrick soon after to put victory beyond doubt and although the Highlanders grabbed a late consolation try through captain Tobius Gukibau, it was Parramatta who took out the impressive 53-33 win at Chatswood Oval.
Warringah 26 (Luke Holmes, Hamish Angus, Elliot Foils, Michael Dalton tries; Hamish Angus 3 cons) d Randwick 13 (Tom Connor try; Toby Browne con, 2 pens)
Warringah have bounced back from last week's defeat to Manly, picking up a victory over bottom of the table Randwick. The Rats secured a bonus point in front of their home crowd at Pittwater Rugby Park and will look to keep the tries flowing when they face Sydney University at University Oval No.1 next week.
Randwick will be disappointed after their seventh loss this season and need a win next week to have any hope of playing finals football. The Wicks will face Eastern Suburbs at Coogee Oval next week and will need a big performance in front of their home crowd to pick up a win.
Sydney University 43 (2 Nathan Trist, James Riches, David Hickey, Trent Dyer, James McMahon tries; Daniel Kelly 5 cons, pen) d Penrith 12 (Mark Murray, Junior Taavili tries; Fokolulu Taumalolo con)
In a great display of running rugby, Sydney University crossed the line six times to pick up a comfortable bonus point win over Penrith at Nepean Rugby Park.
The Students came into round seven after a great win over Northern Suburbs last week but were cautious of a Penrith side who picked up a great win last round over Randwick.
A double from HSBC Waratahs speedster Nathan Trist proved too much for the Emus and helps the Students jump to fifth on the ladder, with a home match against seventh-place Warringah awaiting them in round eight.
Eastwood 55 (Michael McDougall, Ben Batger, Hugh Perrett, Tom Alexander, Sione Piukala, Gareth Palamo, Miles McCaffrey, Mick Snowden tries; Ben Batger 6 cons, pen) d West Harbour 24 (2 Shaun Treweek, Sione Tau tries; Shaun Treweek 3 cons, pen)
Eastwood have taken a comfortable win over West Harbour, running in eight tries in front of their home crowd at T.G. Millner Field to secure maximum points and second spot on the table. Hugh Perrett celebrated his return to Eastwood with a try off the bench, having spent the previous week with the Melbourne Rebels. Eastwood will take the confidence of their point-scoring abilities when they face Manly next week for the ABC TV game of the day.
An impressive sixteen points from West Harbour flyhalf Shaun Treweek wasn't enough to test the Woodies, who always looked like favourites coming into the match. The Pirates will now look to next week to pick up their second win of the season when they face Parramatta at Concord Oval.
SRU Premiership Competition » Shute Shield (1st Grade)
Last Round Played: Round 7 - 26/05/2012
Next Round: Round 8 - 2/06/2012
Sat Mar 19, 7:40PM AEDT
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney