The biggest weekend of Victorian club rugby is here, with Saturday’s Dewar Shield Grand Final between Melbourne Unicorns and Box Hill looming as a fitting crescendo to a highly competitive season.
Highlighting the quality of both the Unicorn and Box Hill side’s is the prospect of up to 11 Melbourne Rising listed players lining up in the high-pressure environment of Final day. For the Unicorns, William Lewesi, James So’oialo, Reece Fuller, Noa Noa, Matai Nairavu and Esei Ha’angana are all Melbourne Rising listed players who will look to guide their side to back to back titles.
For the Broncos Joseva Tamani, Delai Moto, Nailati Ukalele, Michael Maloney and Lolohea Loco will endeavour to put their hand up for selection in the Risings Round One team whilst helping the Broncos secure their first Dewar Shield title since 2001.
Melbourne Rising Head Coach Pom Simona says Saturday’s decider at Box Hill will be an important fixture for not only Victorian rugby, but also for Rising-listed players who are set to be exposed to NRC-like pressure in the Grand Final.
“I’m really excited to see how the Melbourne Rising listed players go in the Dewar Shield Grand Final,” Simona said.
“Not only is it Rugby Victoria’s most important game of the year, but it’s also a wonderful chance to see how the players we’ve selected perform in a high-pressure environment, as it’s something they’ll more than likely experience if they are to play in the NRC.”
As if winning Victoria’s most prestigious rugby competition wasn’t enough motivation already, Simona also says players have the chance to cement their spot in the Rising’s first match-day twenty-three to face Canberra Vikings next Saturday back at Box Hill.
“Those Rising listed players who will play in the Grand Final have shown all season that they perform when it matters most,” Simona said.
“I’m really excited to see if one of them has a Sione Tui breakout moment, where he was voted best and fairest in 2018’s Grand Final, which then helped him earn a spot in last year’s Rising squad.”
The Dewar Shield Grand Final will take place on Field 1 at Box Hill Rugby Union Club at 2:45pm, with the BLK Premiership and Lindroth Cup Grand Finals to take place at 12:40pm and 10:45am respectively.