The pre cursor to the main event saw University’s seconds up against Eastern Suburbs. There have been epic battles between these two sides over the years. On this final occasion for 2019 University ran out 37-18 victors.
Easts actually scored the first try but this failed to quell the fire in the belly of the Students. Molong’s finest and team Captain number eight Jack McCalman set the wheels in motion with a superb first try. Trailing a ruck inside the Easts quarter, McCalman could see there was a dearth in Easts markers. McCalman scooped up the ball and darted like a feral rabbit on his parents farm towards the tryline to score a converted try. Easts later edged back in front with a penalty.
But one try was not enough for McCalman. Leading again from the front McCalman backed up a magnificent break from allround nice guy hooker Ben Carolan. Carolan’s deep incursion was stopped short but McCalman regathered to finish off the movement to score in the corner to the thunderous cheers of his mobile cheer squad led by his mother Claudia and sisters, Issy and Jemima. Another magnificent conversion by five eighth Connor O’Shea saw the Students now ahead 12-8.
This was the catalyst for University to subject Easts to fire and brimstone. University were making huge inroads into Easts territory by spreading the ball wide. Big winger Will Terry’s try after a backline movement and another O’Shea penalty kept the scoreboard ticking over to 20-8 at halftime. University were ahead but it was not enough of a lead to enjoy a gin and tonic and celebrate. Head coach big Ray Hudd was using the break to guide his team towards the holy grail!
The second half saw Will Terry score another sweeping backline try but you could see Easts being hammered with solid tackles. University’s potent recycling were causing Easts to experience enormous problems. Mid way through the second half the call went out for University’s dismantler in the form of inside centre Ofa Manuofetoa to cut loose. Ofa was swatting defenders off with ease. Coupled with his explosive runs Easts were now back pedaling and requiring oxygen. University had a scrum feed inside the quarter and a set move was executed. The ball was quickly spread wide and Ofa exploded onto a crash ball. Defenders were being bounced back towards the Parramatta Leagues Club while the strapping centre scored near the posts. 32-7 and University were now looking firmly in charge.
Things only got worse for Easts when an Easts player was sin binned for taking a University player out. University looked for the field position. A wide ball movement saw O’Shea score the final try with a little dummy to register the final score of 37-18. A fitting finale to end the season.
Ray Hudd could not praise is team enough, “It was a great day with the whole team effort. I’m personally glad to have had the support of my old team from Canterbury junior days with the help of Paul, Ross and Ed.
Sinophile prop Tom Osborne was estatic after fulltime, “ 香港粵語”well said Tom!
Captain Jack McCalman was momentarily lost for words to describe his second premiership in three years,”I could say when the going gets tough….but I really just want to say the team did it today.”
Finally a player to watch next season was enjoying the moment. Young Ofa Manuofetoa arrived late in the season but made an immediate impact. Ofa is looking forward to improving upon his short season with University. “It was a good game and we all played well. I joined the club because I heard so many good things about it and it’s all true. I am going to enjoy continuing here next year.
Congratulations second grade Colin Caird Shield premiers for 2019.