Shammies drop to third spot after points docked

Tech Waratahs will meet Shamrocks today: (left to right) Tim Olsen, Aaron Kelly, Trevor Longbottom, Rory Waterfall and James Bartlett. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERThe Woonona Shamrocks’ top-three plans have nosedived after this week’s loss of valuable competition points.

Illawarra Rugby Union officials docked four points from the Rocks after the club unwittingly fielded two ineligible players in a recent game against Camden.

Third-placed Shammies are now on 43 points, just a single point ahead of Shoalhaven and University.

Camden picked up a maximum five points for Shamrocks’ indiscretion but still remain out of finals contention.

The Rocks have copped the ruling on the chin and hope it doesn’t impact on their top three prospects.

But they have a tough ask against Tech Waratahs today and finish the season with next weekend’s game against Vikings.

“We can actually get pushed right out if we’re not careful, but we’ve spoken to the playing group and the boys are all cool with it. They just want to get on with it,” Shamrocks co-coach Dion Miller said.

“We had a paperwork error with the registration and we thought the transfer was done. We thought we’d covered everything but we hadn’t.

“We just have to push on. We’re a bit disappointed, but we’re not going to chase it up or appeal it. It’s given us a bit more pride in our pocket and a little more incentive.”

The Rocks are coming off last week’s 40-36 home loss to Avondale, a highly entertaining game which will probably go down as the best of the season.

Despite watching their side let a 24-5 half-time lead slip, Miller and co-coach Richard Thompson were full of praise for referee Craig Conway.

“Richard and I really wanted to commend the refereeing of Craig Conway, because that was a really good game,” Miller said.

“High quality, high scoring … the wind was a factor but in the end it was two teams allowed to play. It was the first time I’ve watched a game of rugby down here where everyone’s watching the rugby.

“Craig Conway had the best game. He really made the game what it was and let it flow. It was top-notch reffing for that type of game.”

Tech Waratahs suffered a rare loss last week, going down by a point to Shoalhaven.

“This is our last game and you want to start building toward the semi-finals. Hopefully we’ll play well and win,” Tahs coach Sean Filan said.

“We were up 30-0 by half-time the last time we played Shamrocks. They’ve got some different players in there from then. They’ve got their Country five-eighth back, they picked up Chris Miller.

“Realistically, I’m expecting similar things, but obviously a few new players might add something different.”

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