CCRU Preview Round 1



The opening round of the 2017 season sees potentially very close matches in all four encounters. It is an excellent opening round with all teams feeling they have a realistic chance of victory. Because of the recent wet weather, trial matches and training had been severely disrupted so anything could happen in these contests. Also, all clubs have kept player movement very close to their chests so it is most difficult to see who is favourite in any match in Round 1.

The Match of the Round sees Avoca Beach at home to Gosford at Heazlett Park.
These two clubs have the same coaches as last year with Matt Parker still at the helm at Avoca Beach while Andrew Ellem and Fred McGlynn will do their duties with Gosford. Avoca Beach finished last season strongly and although defeated in the Grand Final by Terrigal would still be most pleased with their efforts last season. They will be most keen to continue that good form into the start of this season. Neither team has had any effective trial matches this pre-season so basically they are basically starting cold. Gosford have lost a few key players from last year and it will take quite some time before the new combinations are sorted out. Avoca Beach are always so strong at home and their record there is exemplary. Based on what occurred towards the end of last season, one would expect the home side to go into this match as slight favourites. Both teams realise it is so important to get an early good start and those early points on the competition ladder are so important at the end of the season.

Another equally intriguing match will be the game at The Haven Oval where the home side Terrigal takes on Warnervale. This match is also very hard to predict. Terrigal are the current Premiers and because of that will go into this opening fixture as favourites. Terrigal have the same coaching staff this year in Chester Scott, Craig McWilliam and Murray Cox, and their playing roster seems to be quite similar to last year. They appear to be the most settled of all the clubs at this stage of the season. They should be ready to go and the Warnervale team could find things difficult. However from all reports Warnervale have trained well and are hoping for a very good season. Coach Dave Appleby is back again and will be hoping to finish much higher on the competition ladder this season. This is another very interesting fixture to commence the 2016 season.

Kariong will be ready to go in this year’s Central Coast Rugby Union competition when they host Woy Woy at Kariong Oval on Saturday. Kariong were so unfortunates to miss out on the Finals Series last year by the narrowest of margins so will be keen to go that one step better this year. They have kept things very quiet on top of the hill so what occurs on Saturday should be interesting. Woy Woy have appointed two new co-coaches in John Stokie and Chris Schaumkel, so it will be most interesting how they will have their team firing at this early stage of the season. These two coaches were very successful with the club’s Premier 2 team last year when they took out the Premiership in that grade, so quite a few of those players will more than likely make an appearance in the top grade this year. Kariong are always strong at home, and go into this clash as very slight favourites. Kariong’s new coach, Chris Downie, will be most keen to start the season on a high. This will be close. Woy Woy were Finalists last year and would be disappointed how their season ended. They will be keen to amend.

Hornsby will host The Lakes at Warrina Street Oval in Berowra. Due to cricket commitments at Mark Taylor Oval this venue change has occurred. There are so many unknowns about this match. Hornsby have not said too much about their pre-season so it will be most interesting how things pan out early in the season. Tod Wills at back at the helm at Hornsby and he will have the boys prepared for this encounter. The Lakes have apparently had a good off season, with new players coming on board, and with good numbers at training. They also just recently organised another very successful ‘7’s by the Seas’. Chris McCaskie is Coach again, so with a year coaching the club under his belt, he should have the team ready to put in a very good performance on Saturday. This match is impossible to predict and because of all the factors listed above, the result could go either way.

The Entrance are playing only President’s Cup again this year and will meet Ourimbah in the one grade at Ourimbah Rugby Park on Friday night at 7 pm. The Entrance had a very successful year last year and just missed out on the Finals Series. They defeated the Premiers in that grade in their last round match of last season. They will be hoping to continue on from that in this encounter. Ourimbah are back in the President Cup competition this year after a year out, and they probably would be slight favourites in this President’s Cup clash simply because they have the home ground advantage. However this match will be very tight.