Over the weekend UNSW’s sporting partner Randwick Rugby Club (better known as the Galloping Greens) won 3 from 3 grand finals including the Shute Shield, as well as the 3rd & 4th grade premierships. After a two-decade long wait, the Galloping Greens finally regained the Shute Shield. The showdown unfolded as Randwick managed to withstand the relentless assault from the formidable Northern Suburbs team, securing a hard-fought victory that showcased their unyielding defence.

The first half of the game saw Randwick taking a commanding 17-3 lead, setting the stage for a nail-biting second half. Northern Suburbs mounted an impressive comeback effort, ignited by a brilliant try from Junior Wallabies centre, Harry O'Donnell. As the clock ticked down, Northern Suburbs inched closer to closing the gap, putting immense pressure on Randwick. Yet, it was Randwick's tenacious defence in the 2023 season that ultimately played a pivotal role in their success. This formidable defence, combined with the remarkable performance of reserve forward Christian Poidevin (UNSW Engineering student), son of Randwick legend and UNSW Sport Hall of Famer Simon Poidevin, came off the bench and made a significant impact in the final quarter of the game by disrupting Northern Suburbs' attempts at the breakdown. 

Simon Poidevin with his 3 sons - Gabe, Christian & Jean-Luc

A crucial moment in the game came as the final whistle loomed, with Northern Suburbs pressing for an opportunity to score in Randwick's half. They needed a penalty kick within reachable range to potentially turn the tide in their favour. However, a decisive steal by Irish lock Cormac Daly, who had showcased outstanding form throughout the year and earlier scored one of Randwick's two tries, reclaimed the ball for Randwick and ultimately the Shute Shield.

The First-grade team included current Randwick Rugby/St Hillier’s scholarship holder and Commerce student, Matias Jensen along with Indigenous Elite Athlete Scholarship holder and Construction Management and Property student, Ky Willoughby coming off the bench. In addition, elite athlete alumni, Andrew Deegan (Commerce) also playing their part in the victory. 

Ben Houston clutching the Shute Shield
Waiting 20 years to hug the Shute Shield

The historic win carried immense significance for Randwick, with their coach, Stephen Hoiles, becoming the tenth figure associated with the club to secure a first-grade premiership both as a player and a coach. Hoiles had been a part of Randwick's last Shute Shield-winning team back in 2004. The victory celebrations were further amplified by Randwick's successes in the fourth and third-grade premierships, underscoring the club's overall dominance in the competition. Captain Ben Houston's embrace of the Shute Shield trophy encapsulated the culmination of Randwick's efforts and the immense pride he felt in leading his team to victory. The defensive resilience displayed by Randwick in the second half of the game was emblematic of their season-long dedication to a renewed tactical approach.

The significance of the win reverberated across Randwick's history, as it marked the end of a two-decade hiatus since their last Shute Shield victory in 2004. In retrospect, the 2023 Shute Shield final will undoubtedly be remembered as a momentous chapter in Randwick's storied history. UNSW Sport congratulates the Galloping Greens on a very impressive 2023 season. Bring on 24’!