Contenders emerge in epic state championship opening rounds | Photos

Last year, Eastwood and Gordon faced off in a NSW Junior Rugby Union Under 13s State Championship grand final of epic proportions – which the former side won 29-5 at Drummoyne.

The two sides have moved up an age group but are on a crash course to meet again in this year’s under 14s decider at Endeavour Oval on Monday, after remaining undefeated through the opening two days of the carnival.

Mind you, both sides will have to make it through blockbuster semi-final match-ups first.

Based on what the Woodies and Gordon produced on the opening two days they should assume favouritism in their respective final four match-ups against Melbourne and Northern Suburbs, although those two sides remain unbeaten as well.

Incredibly, combined, the four sides have conceded just 38 points across 14 games.

Eastwood played in the tournament’s opening game on Saturday morning, thumping Randwick 55-0 in a clinical performance. 

The well-drilled Woodies starved the Wicks of the ball and piled on the points thanks to sheer weight of possession. 

The Wicks looked likely with ball in hand, but had little of it and couldn’t handle the Woodies’ sterling ball movement.

Led by their mercurial fullback, stunning outside centre and barnstorming No.8, Eastwood also thumped Illawarra (55-0) on day one.

Gordon, a pre-tournament contender which has somewhat flown under the radar, scored wins over Southern Districts (29-0) and the ACT (24-7) on Saturday.

Both sides enjoyed the bye in Sunday’s third round of group games, which was preceded by a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for fallen Warringah Rat Lachlan Ward, who died suddenly while playing at Narrabeen on Saturday.

Eastwood destroyed Illawarra in its quarter-final, winning 71-0 in an absolute rout. 

Gordon had a tougher time of things in the final eight, the Highlanders did end up winning 26-0 but were pushed all the way by the Manly Marlins.

Melbourne, a side which has contended but fallen away come finals time in the past, was dominant too.

The Rebels conceded zero points on their way to second spot in pool B, outclassing Manly 29-0 in a physical game where, incredibly, the best player on the field was easily the Marlins’ hooker despite being in a well-beaten side.

Melbourne accounted for ACT (20-0) and Southern Districts (33-0) as well.

Manly, ACT and Souths can count themselves unlucky after landing in what was easily the toughest of the three pools.

The Rebels trumped hosts Central West 14-7 in a thrilling quarter-final.

Northern Suburbs claimed a spot in the semi-finals despite scoring a draw with Hunter in the final eight.

Both sides went through the pool stages undefeated and battled it out in an epic quarter-final on Sunday afternoon, which finished 12-12, however Northern Suburbs was granted progression.

Eastwood faces Melbourne in the first semi-final at Endeavour Oval’s main field at 9.30am, Gordon’s final four clash with Norths kicks off at the same time on the back field at Orange Emus’ facility.

In the other consolations play-offs on Sunday afternoon Sydney University/West Harbour trumped Central Coast 20-5, Randwick defeated Warringah 33-26 and ACT outlasted Southern Districts 12-5.

In the other play-offs, Central West faces Hunter for fifth place while Illawarra plays Manly in the seventh-place play-off.

Sydney Uni/Wests will play Randwick to determine ninth and 10th while  Warringah and ACT clash for 11th spot and Central Coast plays off against Southern Districts for 13th place.

The grand final will be played early afternoon.

FULL RESULTS – DAY ONE AND TWO

QUARTER-FINALS

Eastwood 71 def Illawarra 0

Gordon 26 def Manly 0 

Hunter 12 drew with Northern Suburbs 12

Melbourne 14 def Central West 7

CONSOLATIONS PLAY-OFFS

Sydney University/West Harbour 20 def Central Coast 5

Randwick 33 def Warringah 26

ACT 12 def Southern Districts 5

PRELIMINARY STAGE

POOL A

Eastwood 55 def Randwick 0

Northern Suburbs 24 def Sydney University/West Harbour 0

Eastwood 53 def Illawarra 0

Northern Suburbs 21 def Randwick 12

Illawarra 17 def Sydney University/West Harbour 15

Northern Suburbs 52 def Illawarra 0

Randwick 12 def Sydney University/West Harbour 5

Eastwood BYE

POOL B

Gordon 29 def Southern Districts 0

Melbourne  29 def Manly 0

Gordon 24 def ACT 7

Manly 22 def Southern Districts 17

Melbourne 20 def ACT 0

Manly 12 drew ACT 12

Melbourne 33 def Southern Districts 0

Gordon BYE

POOL C

Central West 34 def Central Coast 0

Hunter 39 def Warringah 0

Hunter 26 def Central West 10

Central Coast 21 def Warringah 19

Hunter 32 def Central Coast 0

Central West 26 def Warringah 0

This story Contenders emerge in epic state championship opening rounds | Photos first appeared on Central Western Daily.