A day of ups and downs for the Dukes

The Dukes had been on both the good and bad side of rugby on Saturday, and again had some more “firsts” for the club.

The day began with a massive amount of players – both new, current and old – taking the field early at Woollahra against Colleagues. The initial match was the game the Dukes wanted to win to earn point in the Halligan Cup (3rd Grade) standings. With a strong team across the field, the boys came together well with captain Neil Ilett and vice captain Josh Wilson taking the team from a bunch of blokes unknown to each other and bringing them into one unit. Tries for the game were earned by the wrecking ball that is Jay Faamausili who blasted his way through the Colleagues line before dotting the ball down, and Myles Taueli using his rare combination of speed, power, footwork and rugby smarts to score in his first game in club colours.

Other notable mentions for must go to;
David Tui who laid big claims to be moved up the grades with his insane footwork
Luke Thompson who lasted 30 seconds into the game before ending up with a badly swollen eye
Ted Ramea, Anthony Te Arri, Wysley Tuimauga and George Hicks (plus a few cans of New…) who all made their returns to the club

The amount of players that opted to play on Saturday meant only one thing for the club, the inaugural 4th grade game! While the game itself was extremely hard on the players as some were backing up almost immediately (thanks to the referee misunderstanding!), the Dukes put out a great showing and the club thanks all players who took the field on Saturday to make this possible.

The boys then rolled their way through the eastern suburbs and were on their way down to Maroubra as 2nds were gearing up to take on Sydney Irish. The boys jumped out to a quick lead and didn’t look back, heading into half time up 24-0 after tries from Keli Legutua, Saupo Aigamaua, Seli Pasi and senior member John Segi. From the kickoff, things started to go down hill. With the rain starting to come down, coupled with a broken tackle and a lazy attempt at a tackle, the Dukes had their first red card shown to them in the last 5 years as Daniel Mati-Leifi was sent from the field. Soon after, Ite Salima was held back at a ruck and was caught retaliating by the referee and was shown a red card as well.

Only then did the solid Dukes defense crack, giving up their first try with 13 men on the field. Again, a Dukes player was seeing red as Semi Aviata was sent from the field following one of his tackles. The Irish broke the Dukes line again, putting another try on the board, quickly followed by a penalty try. The 2nds held on to finish out the game with a bonus point win after the solid foundations laid by their strong first half. Best on field for 2nds was Martin Faita who’s strong defense and hard running helped the team immensely.

Moving on to a disjointed 1st grade side who was left reeling after some late pull outs. With the back up off the strong showing by 2nds, 1sts were bolstered by some of the young guns still looking for a game. The team, lead by Stefan von Zelewski did their absolute best in very trying conditions but were unable to crack the win column, going down 27-7. While the scoreline indicated a 20 point difference between the two squads, there is no doubt in the club’s mind that on another Saturday, the Dukes song would have been sung after 80 minutes of a hard game of rugby.

Puna Fotu played a very well rounded game with great open field runs at fullback and Saupo Aigamaua backing up for his 2nd straight game (both 1sts and 2nds) in 2 weeks! The big man playing tighthead prop played out of his skin in both games, earning coaches points for his efforts in both games. Special mention as well has to go to Keli Legutua who (to this point) is the only Duke to have played all FOUR grades.

This week the Dukes take on the Northern Saints (1st and 2nd grade) and UNSW (3rd grade) with all games at home, starting at 1.00 pm. Team lists and game times to follow shortly.

Solid Dukes showing in all grades for season opener

The Dukes fielded 3 official grades for the first time in club history and, while not all grades were able to get a win, it was a raving success with all 3 grades fielding extremely strong sides across the park.

3rds started the day off in Canterbury and looked hot from the get go. Lead by captain Neil Ilett, the Dukes forwards held their own against a seasoned Canterbury pack and got some good go forward being directed by the little general at halfback Josh Wilson to allow the backs room to move the ball around. The first try for the season almost came from a barnstorming run by Jay Faamusili only top be cut down meters short of the line. It did however come minutes later from old boy Aaron Nunn hanging on his familiar left wing, darting for the corner and “diving” to put the ball down. Some great broken field running from Michael Smith in the backs allowed Daniel Keogh to make good on a line break and put the ball down under the posts. Solomon Tomokino settled into the fly half spot beautifully with some timely kicks, attacking runs and big hits.

The tired 3rds let their guard down slightly, allowing Canterbury to get back into the game and tying it at 12-all. 35 meters out from the line and the clock ticking away, the Dukes earned a penalty right in front of the sticks. With captain Neil Ilett off the field, acting captain Josh Wilson opted for the kick at goal to attempt to win the game. Josh nailed the kick and split the uprights, 3rds winning 15-12 in the buzzer.

Following on from the 3rds win, 2nds took the field back in Botany against the Convicts. The boys were fired up from the get go with captain John Segi leading from the front on the way to a 14 try trouncing of the opposition. A 3 try haul to fly half Hosea Leura making his return to Dukes colours, as well as a double each to Jacob Tatupu, Jermaine Mati-Leifi, Puna Fotu and 2nds man of the match Silipa Mu. Final score 85-0 by way of the Dukes, with a big statement made to the rest of the Grose Cup teams.

1sts were stuck in an arm wrestle for their match, both with the Convicts and with the laws of the game. Early in the match, the Convicts used a rolling maul to get on top of the Dukes, a lead they would not give up for the duration of the 80 minutes. A poor disciplinary record with more than a scant few penalties for the day saw the Dukes 1sts down to 14 men for a quarter of the match as well as giving up a penalty try. A big game from Shondre De Silva at fullback (who earned MOTM honours), coupled with the bustling forward runs of Saupo Aigamaua and Pelili Tito kept the Dukes in the game despite the issues noted.

In the final minute, the Dukes had the chance to make good on the comeback however fell just short, turning the ball over on a penalty and the Convicts 10 put the ball into touch, granting them the win.

In all, a great day for the Dukes with solid games from all 60 plus players who pulled on the black and white and something for the club to grow on for the rest of 2020 and into the future seasons. Next week (25/07) 3rds take on Colleagues at Woollahra Oval #2 in Rose Bay at 11am while 2nds and 1sts look to take away the competition points from Sydney Irish at Latham Park in Maroubra from 2pm.

Rugby is back, and it’s FREE!

The news we’ve all been waiting for has finally come as Subbies have been given the go ahead to set a start date for rugby to commence. The Dukes will first look to take the field in 2 preseason games (4th and 11th of July) and into a 7 round competition with 1 wet weather week (18th of July through 5th of September). The finals have been shortened from the 3 week format to a 2 week format with 1st vs 4th and 2nd vs 3rd and winners of those games playing off in the Grand Final for 2020.

Also the Dukes will be having a FREE season. We understand a lot of members have had a rough go of it in the last few months so the Dukes committee has decided that all rugby this year will be free of charge. The only requirement we have is that all players register on the FuseSport app ASAP and purchase Dukes shorts or socks as needed.

At this stage it is hard to say who the Dukes opposition will be as there are approximately 20 teams floating around the same amount of players (i.e. 1-2 grades). However we can say that we will be taking on Rouse Hill Renegades either in the preseason, during the season or after the season for the annual Indianna Challenge Cup.

Currently training is taking place on Monday and Wednesday nights at Booralee Park from 6.30pm in groups of 20 (maximum) until restrictions on contact sport are lifted on 1st of July where we can move to full contact and sport without restrictions.

The Dukes are strictly enforcing COVID-19 guidelines as advised by NSW Subbies, NSW Sport, Bayside Council and the NSW Government whereby if you are showing any signs of COVID-19 you must not attend training or games and immediately seek medical advice as well as advising the club’s committee urgently so we can check for any possible contact between yourself and other members.

Playing members and coaches must also minimise the time spent at training, meaning that players should arrive ready for training as close to the 6.30pm mark as possible and leave straight after. It should also be noted that water bottles cannot and will not be shared amongst players at any time. You must provide your own water. The Dukes and Subbies strongly suggest downloading the COVIDSafe app for your phone as well.

The club would also like to extend it’s thanks to our sponsors during a very trying 2020 campaign. Your support is very much appreciated and we look forward to supporting your businesses when restrictions lift and life is back to normal! Our sponsors for 2020 are the Captain Cook Hotel, Robson & Robson Property, South Coogee Bowling Club, TLH Group, Peg Leg Tavern and Fortitude Financial Group.

When we have more information to hand regarding any club news, we will communicate it via the website and social media channels.

Exciting times for the Dukes and Duchesses

The 2020 season is already into full swing with preseason training well underway and tentative trials set for next month as well. Golden Oldies may get off the ground for our older blokes still wanting to pull on the boots and we also have new sponsors to welcome on board as well as welcoming back all our 2019 sponsors.

Preseason training is being hammered out by our boys every Wednesday night down at our home ground, Booralee Park. Each session so far has been met with tremendous support from the playing group and solid numbers each and every week. Coupled with this, touch football will still be occurring on Monday nights for anyone who can’t get enough of their rugby!

Planned for the next few weeks is a “BBQ Beers and Beach” session, our annual season opening bowls day and some rugby trials (plus a chance we may have a Golden Oldies game!) so it’s coming into the busy season for everyone at the Dukes. Keep an eye on our EVENTS page to stay up to date with all club happenings on and off the field.

In 2020 we’d also like to thank the following SPONSORS for our supporting our club;

Captain Cook Hotel, Botanycaptaincookhotel.com.au
Robson & Robson Propertyrobsonandrobson.com.au
South Coogee Bowling Clubsouthcoogeebowls.com.au
TLH Group Recruitmenttlhgroups.com.au
Peg Leg Tavern, Pyrmontpeglegpyrmont.com.au
Fortitude Financial Groupcharbel.abouraad@fortitudefg.com.au

A look forward into 2020

With the festive season upon us, the Dukes and Duchesses would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas/New Year period.

Adding to the busyness of this time of year, our AGM has taken place and a new committee for season 2020 has been formed. We would like to thank the outgoing committee members; general members Andrew Johnson and Jonothan Row and Vice President James Schulz, who all contributed to the club over their time both on and off the committee. We look forward to seeing their faces around the club going forward. The Dukes also welcome our new members; Charlotte Bryant and Laura McLaughlin who are representing the Duchesses, as well as Anthony Rip, Chris Ford, Jackson Corry, James Manderson and Reece Milne who join Corey Mangan the general committee.

The club would also like to congratulate Alex Schulz on his appointment to club Vice President. He will be working with returning executive members Vlad Yershov (secretary), Phil Hughes (treasurer) and Iain Meiklejohn (president). For the president’s report for season 2019, please follow this link.

The Dukes would also like to welcome new head coach Andrew Bernardini who joins the club after stints at Burraneer and Menai. Andrew will be looking to build on the solid foundations set towards the back end of last year by outgoing coach Andrew Meiklejohn. We thank Andrew Meiklejohn for his efforts in the 2019 season to help set the club up for the future.

Also the club was able to raise over $650 for the Rural Fire Service. The money raised is going to a good cause and we hope that this bush fire catastrophe that has hit NSW in the last few months comes to an end soon. The Dukes thank the RFS for all their efforts.

Keep returning to the website, facebook pages and looking in your emails to stay tuned for upcoming information for the 2020 season including training sessions, social events and more!

Dukes fall just short against Lions

While the scoreboard may not have shown a Dukes win, the boys put together one of their better performances of the year on a windy and chilly Saturday afternoon, going down narrowly to Engadine 29-21.

The long trip south to Engadine to take on the Lions was always going to be a tough affair on the pitch yet true to Dukes form, the boys showed up ready to play from the get go. The forwards were evenly matched in the scrums with neither team giving an inch, however on a windy day, lineout play was always going to be difficult. Despite this, James Schulz was clinical, stealing at least 3 of the opposition’s throws. In general play both teams, again, were evenly matched. The Lions had their Fijian flair out wide, but was not to be outdone by captain and fullback Stefan von Zelewski’s hard running lines and swerving runs as well as scrumhalf Reece Milne’s darting, precise plays around the ruck and from quick taps.

The match started very evenly, Engadine able to break the Dukes line after a charged down kick landed directly into the hands of their loose forward who quickly found their winger to dot it over in the corner. 5-0 on a tough day for kicking. From the kick off the Dukes wrestled the ball back and were able to win possession and a penalty from 25m out and opted for the penalty shot. The ball taking a coat of paint off the post and an unlucky miss on a gusty day that even the most experienced and high level kickers would have had trouble.

After the drop out, Engadine capitalised on a mistake from the Dukes, placing in a chip behind the line that saw them going over the line, followed up by another quick fire try saw the Lions up 17-0. With the Dukes on the back foot, flyhalf Luke Cleary slammed the ball down over the try line to bring the Dukes back within 10. On the stroke of half time with the Dukes pressing the Lions line, No. 8 Andrew Meiklejohn blasted his way over the line but was held up shy of being able to ground the ball. Half time blown by the referee, score at 17-7 to the Lions.

At half time the boys were fired up and keen to get it on again in the second half, knowing that the performance for the first 40 minutes was one to be proud of and that they wanted to build on. Coming out of the half the Lions struck against the run of play, their fullback able to make good on the break extending the Lions lead to 22-7.

A penalty to the Dukes saw the boys with ball in hand ready to attack inside the Lions half. From the lineout, another penalty for collapsing the maul coupled with the advantage from an offside call saw Reece Milne take a quick tap and dart through the opposition. Dragged down a metre short and attempting the recycle the ball, the Lions loose forward was seen to have used his hands in the ruck. The referee blew a penalty try and handed out a yellow business card to the eager Lion. 22-14 to the home side. Reece’s involvement in the game was not to end there however, a streaking run from the Lions outside centre saw him away for a 60m try, or so it would have seemed. In the far corner, Reece Milne timed his dive perfectly to knock the ball out of the players hands. Easily the play of the day defensively.

20 minutes to go in the game and the Lions and Dukes locked in a tight tussle at half way before a penalty against the Dukes saw the Lions able to attack the line. Keeping the ball in tight in the forwards they gained a penalty and took the quick tap. The Lions 9 linked with the nifty flyhalf who went over to push out the score to 29-14. The Dukes weren’t done yet, Reece Milne again having a say in the way the match was being played out, darting down the blind side to score his 6th try of the season.

Sadly, Dukes original Kevin Addison in his yearly cameo got caught in the wrong position in a tackle. What was initially thought to be a broken arm was found to be a very painful dislocated elbow. We wish Kev nothing but the best moving forward and unreservedly thank him for his efforts to help out the club where he can.

After the 10 minute break in play, the Dukes still had another 5 minutes to try drag out a win or at the very least a bonus point or two. Unfortunately, the boys were unable to crack the line and the Lions booted the ball into touch. Game over and the Dukes falling at the final few hurdles to lose out 29-21. The effort put in on the day was second-to-none. Only 16 players available on the day with various injuries and commitments outside of rugby saw the boys who were there out on their feet by the end of the 80 minutes. On another day, it may have been a reversed scoreline.

Looking at the rest of the competition – Burraneer were too much for the Sea Lice, putting on early tries and running out winners 28-19. In the other game, Maccabi pulled out a win over the Convicts 27-10.

Moving into this week’s match up, the Dukes will be taking on the Convicts. There will be 2 grades of action on the day with the first game kicking off at 2pm for Mango’s 100th game celebration. Straight afterwards, our 1st XV will be looking to avenge the previous 2 games against the Convicts and keep that glimmer of hope for finals football alive!

10 tries put past opposition for Dukes win

The Dukes put on 10 tries in a 56-28 victory over local rivals Maccabi in a game that was much the opposite to the round 4 encounter between the 2 clubs. Strong games from all players across the paddock saw the boys take out maximum points to keep the season alive with the final slate of games still to play.

Things started off with a bang, a try to centre Israel Seufale coupled with some smashmouth defence from him and centres partner Liam Pakau, followed by another try to fullback Andrew Johnston put the Dukes out to a 12-0 lead within the first 15 minutes. Maccabi struck back after a 5m lineout move which saw their hooker score untouched in the corner. 12-7 to the Dukes.

The ball found it’s way into the capable hands of scrumhalf Manny Grundy who was able to make good on the broken field play to extend the lead out to 19-7. Yet again the determined Maccabi outfit put one past the Dukes defence with a chip and chase, closing the gap to just 5 points. However once again the experience and chemistry in the centres saw Liam Pakau put winger Nick Serafin away in the corner on half time, the score 22-14.

Soon after half time, the dominant Dukes scrum put Maccabi on the backfoot with Reece Milne able to capitalise, breaking through 3 defenders to dot the ball over the line to extend the lead out to 27-14. Maccabi were able to break through again, bringing the score to 27-21 yet that was as close as they were to come on the day.

An additional 5 tries were put on through Benni Seufale, 2 to Fraser Lamont and another each to the halves combination of Reece Milne and Manny Grundy. These points would not have been possible if not for the bustling forward runs from Jarrod Ferreira, Chris Stephenson, a returning Andrew Meiklejohn and AJ Wright off the bench coupled with the skillful and powerful outside backs lead by Israel Seufale showing the way forward to Tyron Ahmat and Brodie Bailey.

Special mention must go to Liam Pakau who played selflessly all day with the ball in hand, assisting in at least 3 tries directly as well as hard hitting defence saw him take out the referee’s Man of the Match honours.

On another note, if anyone sees a kicking tee around or even better yet, a goal kicker, send them our way! 3 conversions of 10 attempts kicking on the weekend saw the Dukes miss out on 14 points in the match. Shocking!

The netball ladies have had the week off for the school holiday period (as is the case this week as well) so the girls have been resting up the knees and ankles getting ready to attack the final half of their season, hoping for a big finals push.

Other games in the competition saw Burraneer too strong at home over the Convicts 51-0 and an early Sea Lice onslaught was too much for Engadine to fight back from , going down 28-19.

This weekend the Dukes travel far south to Engadine to start off the final round of matches to take on the Lions on their Ladies Day. Please invite your better half for a great afternoon of rugby action on and off the field as Engadine is known for a great brand of rugby on field and tremendous hospitality off the field. Kick off is at 3.15pm at Old Bush Road Oval in Yarrawarrah.

Penalty try in dying minutes deals KO blow to Dukes

A 78th minute penalty try was all that could separate the Dukes and Burraneer this last weekend in a tense 31-24 loss for the boys.

The Burraneer side were clearly shocked and not prepared for the Dukes to put up the level of fight that they did to the 2018 Grand Finalists. After an early 12-0 lead, the Dukes came roaring back with a 2 fleet footed tries to fullback Andrew Johnson and centre Israel Seufale to draw even by half time.

Moving into the second stanza, the Dukes had their tails up and looking to play attacking football as much as possible. Lead by scrumhalf Manuel Grundy creating opportunities for others around him, winger Vlad Yershov cashed in and dotted the ball over the line for the Dukes to take the lead for the first time in the contest, 19-12.

Burraneer hit back with another two tries through the power of their scrum to retake the lead 24-19. Some skillful rugby saw Liam Pakau link up with Israel Seufale to streak away for another try. Unconverted though and the scores level at 24 a piece.

With 5 minutes to go on the clock, Burraneer camped themselves in the Dukes 5m and hammered away with multiple scrums before the referee had to cave in and award a penalty try with 2 minutes left on the clock, 31-24 to Burraneer and that’s the way the scores would have to stay. The Dukes coming away with 2 bonus points for their efforts on the day and providing a massive scare to the table topping Burraneer side.

Coaches point went to;
3 – Israel Seufale (Centre)
2 – Manuel Grundy (Scrumhalf)
1 – Chris Stephenson (Second Row)

* After this week, coaches points will be kept off the website as the end of season awards will be based off these.

Over on the Duchesses’ side of the ledger, the girls continue to notch up wins, pushing forward to a 44-16 win over UNSW White and into equal 3rd spot on the ladder. Well done to all the ladies who show up and play their hardest week in and week out for the team. Special mention this past week to Jen Marsden who put up her first goal for the Duchesses, fingers crossed there’s more where that came from!

On a club related note, a thanks must go to Clay and his team at One Drop Brewing in Botany for his support towards the club. Here’s to a few brews and a growing relationship between the Dukes and One Drop!

Unable to go on with it, the Dukes fall after solid start

Yet another week where the scoreline doesn’t indicate the close nature of the game for the Dukes as the boys went down 53-17 at the hands of Burraneer. The Dukes were right in the contest for the opening half and into the opening 10 minutes of the second stanza, keeping the score close before the floodgates opened up and Burraneer poured on 5 tries in the final 25 minutes to close out the game.

Great games from newcomer Bryn Grantham, Andrew Meiklejohn and captain Luke Cleary solidly backed up by James Schulz, Michael Malone and Reece Milne helped the Dukes stay in the contest deep into the match before Burraneer pulled away.

It was a tough lesson after letting their guard down for the final 20 minutes, but things are looking up. Solid performances across the park against Burraneer as well as some key returns from the injury list see the Dukes looking good going into their second match up with Engadine this season, this time at home.

A big thanks to the new boys who came along this weekend – Bryn Grantham, Christian Williams and Matt Williams. We hope to see you around for the rest of the season.

Coaches points went to;
3 – Bryn Grantham (Fullback)
2 – James Schulz (Reserve – Flanker)
1 – Luke Cleary (Fly Half)

In other games, North Cronulla were too strong at home for the Convicts, winning 40-19 and Maccabi were able to make good of their home field advantage to knock off Engadine 29-7.

As mentioned above the Dukes are turning their attention to Engadine for this weekend’s match up and the Old Boys & Sponsors Day which is taking place. This is the day for all ex Dukes to come down and have a laugh and a beer while watching the current boys have a run around. Booralee Park, Botany, 3pm. Be there with a beer for a great arvo of rugby with mates from years gone by!