Shute Shield

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Shute Shield
Shute Shield logo 2015.png
Logo introduced for the 2015 season
Sport Rugby union
Founded 1923
Motto Lachlan Ward
No. of teams 12
Country Australia
Most recent
Warringah Rats
TV partner(s) 7Two
Official website

The Shute Shield is a rugby union competition in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is the premier grade club tournament in NSW rugby. The Shute Shield is awarded at the end of the Sydney Club Rugby season to the team that wins the Grand Final. The Shield is contested by the twelve SRU clubs.


The first Sydney club competition was in 1874, contested by Balmain, Newington College, Sydney University Football Club and The King's School. The Shute Shield is seen as the traditional successor.

The Shute Shield was struck in honour of the late Robert Elliott Stewart Shute, who died on 6 June 1922 aged 23,[1] following a match at Manly Oval. Shute served as an infantryman in 30th Battery A.I.F. during World War One. On his return to Australia he took up his studies at the University of Sydney and joined the Sydney University rugby club as a front row forward in the first XV. The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 7 June 1922[2] reported:

As a result of injuries received while playing at Manly in the Rugby football match between the team which toured New Zealand and the Next 15, Robert Elliott Shute, a front row forward in the latter team, died at a private hospital at Manly yesterday morning. The accident occurred during the latter portion of the first spell of the match. Shute secured the ball and when tackled fell heavily. He was removed to a private hospital, where it was ascertained that he was suffering from cerebral hemorrhage. Without recovering consciousness he died at 6am. A former pupil of Sydney Grammar School, Shute, who was 23 years of age, was a third year student at Sydney University and he played for the University first fifteen. He served in the AIF for four years.

The University club had the shield made following his death and donated it in 1923 to the NSWRU to be used as a perpetual trophy for the Sydney first grade competition.[3]


There are currently twelve clubs that compete for the Shute Shield.

Teams in the Shute Shield
Jersey Club Location Home ground Nickname First season
. . Eastern Suburbs Upper Eastern Suburbs (Rose Bay) Woolahra Oval The Beasties 1900
. . Eastwood Northern Suburbs (Eastwood) T G Millner Field The Woodies 1947
. . Gordon Upper North Shore (Chatswood) Chatswood Oval Highlanders 1936
. . Manly Lower Northern Beaches (Manly) Manly Oval The Marlins 1906
. . Northern Suburbs Lower North Shore (North  Sydney) North Sydney Oval The Shoremen, Norths, The Red and Blacks 1900
. . Parramatta Parramatta Granville Park Two Blues 1879 (as Cumberland, 1900 name change)
. . Penrith Penrith Nepean Rugby Park Emus 1965 (Shute Shield admittance 1995)
. . Randwick Lower Eastern Suburbs (Randwick/Coogee) Coogee Oval Galloping Greens, The wicks 1882
. . Southern Districts St George and The Shire Forshaw Park The Rebels 1989, (St George DRC – 1906, Port Hacking RC – 1957)
. . Sydney University Sydney (Camperdown) University Oval No.2 The Students 1863
. . Warringah Upper Northern Beaches (Narabeen) Pittwater Park The Rats, Ratties 1963
. . West Harbour Inner West (Concord) Concord Oval Pirates 1900 (as Western Suburbs DRFC)


In previous seasons clubs from outside of the Sydney metropolitan area, such as the Illawarriors and Central Coast Waves have competed but do not continue to compete.

Competition format[edit]

The competition format currently involves an 18-week round-robin competition which is followed by a four-week play-off series culminating in a grand final. The playoffs are contested by the top eight placed teams following the round-robin. The eight finalists are initially split into two pools comprising the top four finalists and bottom four finalists. The first week of the play-offs sees 1st play 4th, 2nd play 3rd, 5th play 8th and 6th play 7th. The lowest ranked losers are eliminated and the highest ranked winners proceed directly to week 3 of the play-offs. Week 2 sees the highest ranked losers play the lowest ranked winners for the right to proceed to week 3 and play the two highest ranked winners from week 1. The two winners from week 3 proceed to the Grand Final in week 4.

Tooheys New Cup and ARC[edit]

From 2002 through 2007 the Tooheys New Cup was run to fill the void between Grade Rugby and Super Rugby in Australia. This competition was merged into the Shute Shield to become the Tooheys New Shute Shield when an attempt at an Australian wide domestic rugby competition, the Australian Rugby Championship, was started and stopped within one season in 2007. The Shute Shield competition was then extended to a full 22 match home and away round robin competition, culminating in the Grand Final in early October. SRU board decided to shorten the season to 18 rounds beginning in 2014 with a Finals series in July and Grand Final in early August.

Similar competitions[edit]

Other premier rugby competitions in Australia:

Media coverage[edit]

From 1957 until 2014, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation had broadcast the Match of the Day from the Shute Shield competition in NSW/ACT every Saturday afternoon and replayed nationally on Tuesday mornings. The ABC ended its 57-year partnership with the competition at the completion of the 2014 season, following the Australian Government's decision to cut funding to the national broadcaster.

On 17 March 2015, Sydney Rugby formally announced that the Seven Network would become the new free to air Match of the Day broadcasters of the Shute Shield in NSW, commencing on 21 March on 7TWO at 3pm between Eastern Suburbs and Gordon. The Prime Network will broadcast to regional areas of NSW. This agreement has been renewed for the 2017 season.

Beginning in 2017 local radio station Hawkesbury Radio broadcast at least one additional match each week.

Results and Grand Finals[edit]

In the years preceding (and including) 1931, a "Challenge Final" was played only if the runner-up side was two or less points behind the Minor Premiers on the Premiership table. Otherwise, the Minor Premiers were declared Premiers.

dagger From 2002-2006, the Sydney Premiership competition was held as the Tooheys New Cup, and the Shute Shield was played as a First Grade pre-season competition. However, in 2004, the Shute Shield was contested as a Second Grade tournament. Tooheys New Cup winners are marked with a dagger.

In the 2003 pre-season Shute Shield tournament, the table leaders Manly and Eastern Suburbs met by coincidence in the final round, acting as an unofficial Grand Final. The result of that match is listed below, although the tournament itself was run in a Round Robin format.

Shute Shield Era[edit]

Sydney Premiership Era[edit]

Minor Premiers[edit]

Minor Premiers who went on to win the Premiership are marked in bold.

From 1900 until (and including) 1931, a "Challenge Final" was played only if the runner-up side was two or less points behind the Minor Premiers on the Premiership table. Otherwise, the Minor Premiers were declared Premiers. The years where the Minor Premiers were declared Premiers without a Challenge Final played are marked with an asterisk.

In 1977 and 1978, the Sydney Premiership competition was split between an A and B Group. The B Group comprised the lowest finishing sides of the previous year, however, the top ranked sides in each Group played for the overall Premiership at the end of the regular season. Minor Premiers of both Groups are recorded here.

Individual awards[edit]

Ken Catchpole Medal[edit]

Year Player Team
1981 Australia Neale Murphy Western Suburbs
1982 Australia Geoff Richards Eastern Suburbs
1983 Australia Peter Lucas St. George
1984 Wales Richard Moriarty Western Suburbs
1985 Australia Phillip Cox Manly
1986 Australia Peter Lucas St. George
1986 United States David Niu St. George
1986 Tonga Sione Tahaafe Eastwood
1987 Australia Steven Lidbury Warringah
1988 Australia Jim Fewtrell Warringah
1989 Australia Simon Poidevin Randwick
1990 Australia Matt Foldi Warringah
1991 Australia Marty Roebuck Eastwood
1992 Australia Ross Reynolds Gordon
1993 Australia Phil Kearns Randwick
1994 Australia Mark Catchpole Warringah
1995 Australia Nick Harvey Northern Suburbs
1996 Australia Dirk Williams Eastern Suburbs
1997 Australia Adam Leach Eastwood
1998 Australia Mark Catchpole Sydney University
1999 Australia Peter Besseling Penrith
1999 Ireland Keith Gleeson Northern Suburbs
2000 New Zealand Sam Harris Warringah
2001 Samoa Des Tuiavi'i West Harbour
2002 Australia Scott Fava Eastwood
2003 Australia Scott Fava Eastwood
2004 Australia Scott Fava Eastwood
2005 Australia Tim Donnelly Eastwood
2006 Australia Peter Hewat Manly
2007 United States Gavin DeBartolo Eastern Suburbs
2008 Australia Scott Fardy Warringah
2008 Brazil Dave Harvey Gordon
2009 Australia Andrew Smith Northern Suburbs
2010 Australia Brendan McKibbin Eastern Suburbs
2011 Brazil Dave Harvey Northern Suburbs
2012 Australia Hamish Angus Warringah
2013 Australia Hugh Perrett Eastwood
2014 Australia Hamish Angus Warringah
2015 Australia David Horwitz Randwick
2016 Australia Will Miller Northern Suburbs
2017 New Zealand Tayler Adams West Harbour

Fairfax/Herald Cup[edit]

Year Player Team
1949 Australia Bill Barry Manly
1950 Australia Alan Cameron St. George
1951 Australia R. Jacobs Sydney University
1952 Australia Brian Johnson Gordon
1953 Australia Boyd Blackburn Northern Suburbs
1954 Australia Alan Cameron St. George
1955 Australia R. Love Drummoyne
1956 Australia David Emanuel Eastern Suburbs
1957 Australia Don Logan Gordon
1958 Australia Ken Thornett Randwick
1959 Australia Ken Catchpole Randwick
1960 Australia Ken Catchpole Randwick
1961 Australia David Jackson Eastwood
1962 Australia Alan Cameron St. George
1962 Australia Terry Casey St. George
1963 Australia Jim Briggs Randwick
1964 Australia Ivan Mann Parramatta
1965 Australia Jim Briggs Randwick
1966 Australia Bill Harris UNSW
1966 Australia Bruce Battishall St. George
1967 Australia Ken Catchpole Randwick
1968 Australia Peter Crittle Eastern Suburbs
1969 Australia Michael Stynes Randwick
1970 Australia Rex Batterham Gordon
1971 Australia Russell Fairfax Randwick
1976 Australia Ken Bousfield Western Suburbs
1977 Australia Rupert Rosenblum Sydney University
1978 Australia Geoff Richards Eastern Suburbs
1979 Australia Grant Andrews Warringah
1980 Australia Grant Andrews Warringah
1981 Australia Peter Lucas St. George
1982 Australia Geoff Richards Eastern Suburbs
1983 Australia Mick Mathers Eastwood
1984 Wales Richard Moriarty Western Suburbs
1985 Australia Neale Murphy Western Suburbs
1986 Australia Peter Lucas St. George
1987 Tonga Fetaiaki Langi Western Suburbs

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FOOTBALL FATALITY". The Brisbane Courier. Brisbane, Queensland: The Brisbane Courier. 7 June 1922. p. 4. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "FOOTBALLER'S DEATH". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, New South Wales: The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 June 1922. p. 10. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Local History from Manly Library". Manly Library. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 

External links[edit]

Shute Shield seasons
  • 1874
  • 1906-1914
  • 1919-2008