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Champion incumbent, Kiama Downs SLSC has its work cut out to keep pace with the runaway leaders from the Hunter as the penultimate round of the Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership heads south for the June long weekend.

Broulee will be the site of Round 4 of the hotly contested series with as many as 18 surf clubs from across the state making the trip to the Far South Coast.

Excellent conditions at Bulli a fortnight ago resulted in the first full schedule race weekend, and clubs will be looking to build on the momentum generated in the Illawarra.

None more so than Caves Beach SLSC, who leads by 42 points after the first three rounds of competition.

The margin is not insignificant – no team has won a round by more than 31 points to date, so it stands to reason that should the Hunter club hit the water on Saturday in form even only somewhat reminiscent of the weekend’s past, they should leave the Eurobodalla Shire with their lead intact.

It’s a game of strength in numbers for Caves Beach, who leant on its Over 45 Mixed Mass Rescue squad, the Open Male Rescue Tube squad and the U23 Female Teams crew for wins last time round.

For their part, Kiama Downs showed its Mass Rescue chops in several categories and picked up other wins with their O35 Male and Female crews to keep within sight of the leaders.

Newport SLSC and Terrigal SLSC remain in a ding-dong battle for the final podium place, with just nine points separating the pair heading into Round 4. That margin hasn’t moved for nearly a month after both registered the same total – 99 points – in Round 3.

It’s been the same top four in varying orders all through the Premiership to date, but South Maroubra SLSC made a push to break the trend in Bulli and fell just short. While it wasn’t enough to upset the established order, it did extend the lead the club holds over Thirroul SLSC and North Cronulla SLSC.

Among the other stories to watch will be the performances of the O35 Male Mass Rescue and the U23 Male Teams crews from Mona Vale SLSC who, in Bulli, picked up the clubs first points of the series after a hiatus from the sport.

Wednesday 7 June 2023