Dukes take Indianna Challenge Trophy in nail biter

The Dukes took home their first piece of silverware this weekend after a tightly fought contest against Rouse Hill 33-31. The preseason match, played for the Indiana Challenge Cup, was contested in considerably tough conditions with the heat and humidity really showing through on the day.

Not deterred by the superior player numbers on show by the opposition, the Dukes rallied together from the get go. While the boys were relatively physically fit (many thanks to Sarah from Pure Performance Coach for helping whip the boys into a shape that didn’t resemble a slob that hadn’t even thought of Rugby for 2019), match fitness can be an entirely new beast to tame, especially on a day where heat is a factor.

After the cobwebs were shaken out, the Dukes started to hit it into gear, showing some great hits, skillful offloads and tricky footwork on the way to bagging 5 tries in the 80 minute hit out. The set pieces for the Dukes looked fantastic with a solid scrum base and some nice work at line out time, giving the halves time and space to work their magic.

The game itself was very back and forth with both teams being able to score tries in reply to the other. With 5 minutes left, the scores even at 26-26, fly half Stefan von Zelewski took matters into his own hands, blasting through the opposition line and stepping the fullback to score under the sticks the converted his own try to top it all off. 33-26 in favour of the Dukes.

From the ensuing kick off, the Dukes lost possession and with the Renegades inside the attacking 22, the Renegades fly half threw a half field pass to their right winger, who despite having debuting lock Jackson Corry wrapped around his waist was (only just) able to dot the ball down in the corner. 33-31 still on the side of the Dukes.

The Renegades missed the conversion attempt and that’s the way the scoreline stayed until the referee blew full time a very short time later. A well deserved win for all the preseason work put in, with the Dukes taking out the Indianna Challenge Cup for 2019.

Also, many thanks must be given to the Renegades for being amazing hosts for the day and (as announced by the Renegades Facebook page) raising over $11k in donations for the Westmead Childrens Hospital.

Mar ’19

Well February came and went quicker than a hiccup and now we’re into the month of March. Preseason is already kicking our asses, our trial games are tentatively set for late March and early April (see below for more details), our first social outing is just around the corner and the rugby season is so close you can almost hear the calls of “get’m onside ref!” on the sidelines of Booralee Park. Yes boys and girls, this is the Dukeman’s Desktop and I’ll run down all things Dukes that’s coming up this month (and part of next…).

As mentioned above, preseason training is well and truly underway, and as usual for all rugby going people, it’s a tiny shock to the system when you realise what sitting down from September to February does to the body. Two nights a week at Booralee Park is a good start to get the body ready for the season ahead. Contact is slowly starting to come back into the fold as we’ve got 2 trial matches just a matter of weeks away.

Trial games this year are set against Rouse Hill Renegades (March 23rd for the Indianna Challenge Trophy) and Hornsby Lions/Sydney Convicts (April 6th). Last year marked our first encounter with the Renegades and immediately it became apparent that these boys were in rugby for the right reasons. Play hard on the field, drink hard off the field, and help those out in need where you can. Naturally both of our clubs hit it off by the time the first beer was drunk post game. Tragically, one of their players suffered a loss no one should ever have to endure where his young daughter passed away unexpectedly. This is where the Indianna Challenge Trophy came to be. As two clubs who believe it is best to give back to charity where possible, the trophy will be defended at each fixture between our clubs. In addition to this, donations will be made to our charities of choice on behalf of each club.

In our second trial, we’ll be facing the Sydney Convicts as well as the Hornsby Lions. Hornsby have been away from Subbies for a few years now having joined the Central Coast competition in 2015. This will be our first home trial game in recent memory.

For the Duchesses among us, registration is required by March 14th. Yes, very early on compared to rugby but different competitions, different rules. If you are at all interested, hit up the Netball tab on the website.

The fees for 2019 are set for both Rugby and Netball as outlined on the website and have various inclusions from apparel to insurance. Dukeman is always out for a bargain and $180 is about as cheap as you will find for a season of rugby or netball in Sydney.

BAREFOOT BOWLS! The day we’ve all been waiting for on the preseason calendar is on the final countdown. April 14th is the date, South Coogee Bowls Club is the place. If you’re up for a roll on the green, a beer and a feed then come on down and say g’day. The event is open to all Dukes and Duchesses – past, present and future. If you’ve been to one of these days before, you’ll know its a top day on the social calendar.

With that all laid out, I’m off for some bicep curls down at the Cook!

Cheers and Beers,