Local derby gives Shoals a shot at redemption

GOOD CHANCE: Shoals’ Mitch Hardy is expected to put in a good effort against Kiama this week.

GOOD CHANCE: Shoals’ Mitch Hardy is expected to put in a good effort against Kiama this week.

“AVONDALITIS” is what Shoalhaven Rugby Club’s first grade coach Phil Duncan jokingly described as one of the reasons behind his team’s 103-5 shellacking last Saturday.

That and the fact that the competition heavyweights Avondale sit on top of the Illawarra District Rugby Union table, 16 points ahead of their closest rivals, University.

But despite the scoreline and severely depleted player stocks, Duncan said his whole team left everything out on the field.

“They gave as much effort as they possibly could, and despite the scoreline suggests, never looked like they gave up,” he said.

“It was disappointing compared to the positive performances we put in the week before against Shamrocks, where we were in the game right up until the last 10 minutes, or the week before that against Vikings, where we were competitive for three quarters of the game,” he said.

This weekend Shoals will face a local derby against traditional rivals Kiama at Shoalhaven Rugby Park.

The last time the teams met in round four Kiama were too strong, taking the win 39-17.

“We were competitive again for half the game, but they are going really well this year. They have had a few troubles the past couple of years as a club, like we are doing now, but it always comes around in cycles for clubs,” Duncan said.

Shoals will welcome the return of star prop James Smith, who will play his last game with the club this weekend before he flies to Canada to further his rugby union career.

“He has had a good history with the club for seven or eight years so he will want to go out with a bang,” Duncan said.

“And Mitch Hardy will be playing, so those two should add a bit of difference to last week’s team and hopefully we can build on the positive performances from a couple of weeks ago.”

First grade kick-off at 3pm, with reserves at 1.30pm.