The Belrose Eagles Sydney Shield side, headed by former NRL player Jamie Buhrer are hot on the heels of 2019 premiers Ryde Eastwood Hawks as they vie for top spot on the competition ladder, with only one point the difference.
Ryde triumphed 34-24 over the Moorebanks Rams in a back-and-forth affair last week, while Belrose piled on the points against the Cronulla Caringbah Sharks in a 50-12 victory at home, led by their captain Buhrer at lock and Ron Massey Cup mainstay Zach Nicholls at halfback.
“Jamie brings a lot of experience to the team and all the young ones they feed off that, there’s huge respect for him and he’s really good with the boys,” Belrose coach John Ahkam said.
“Just the calibre that he brings to the team everyone benefits from it and it makes it easier for the boys to play well.
“Steve Tavita is our prop, he’s our main go forward - he’s played Canterbury Cup NSW for Mounties the last few years, Zach Nicholls guides the team around and William Kelly runs off the back of that, Jake Pickering is at the back with speed and we have Christian Bate - players like these just bring that bit extra to the squad.”
The Eagles will be hunting their third win in a row when they face the Wentworthville Magpies at home on Sunday and Ahkam believes the positive attitude around the club, as well as the support from his staff, especially in assistant coach Adam Saunders, has been the key to their success this season.
“The boys have just been putting in the effort at training and then preseason, it’s all just come together and we’ve all gelled quite well so it makes it easier for the boys when they’re all on the same page,” Ahkam said.
“All those little things before the game and after the game count.
“Everyone listens to everyone and there’s a high level of respect within the team which is good, it brings that culture to the club, especially for the young ones that are coming through the club, they can learn a bit about what we’re building.
“Obviously with a big win last week we’ve got a new task ahead now so we’ve just to focus on this week and everyone is keen to try and make it three in a row.”
Meanwhile, Cronulla will be looking to bounce back from their heavy loss through former NRL hooker Michael Lichaa but it won’t be an easy task against heavyweights the Hawks.
Newcomers the Helensburgh Tigers come off a bye and will be searching for their first win of the season against Moorebank at Rex Jackson Oval on Saturday.
Sydney University enjoyed their maiden win against Wentworthville in Round Three so they will look to back that up tomorrow against Hills District, who are looking to string three consecutive wins together, at Crestwood Reserve.
For all the latest information on the Sydney Shield draw and results click here.