Sydney’s glorious winter weather turned full circle last Saturday. In conditions resembling Captain Robert Scott’s trek to the Antarctic, wind, rain, bitterly cold conditions and a heavy ground failed to stifle the Students unbeaten run. Sydney University defeated 2020 Premiers, Gordon in a tradesman like 26-5 victory before a bumper crowd.
The first ten minutes University were monopolising territory inside the Gordon quarter. A brutal sequence of mauling and rucking saw University applying immense pressure on the Gordon goal line. Halfback Robertson later decided to spread the ball wide. New five eighth Daniel Poletto saw a slight fracture in the Gordon defensive line and decided he better pin his ears back otherwise he would not receive sherry trifle as a dessert treat tonight. Poletto like the equines he treats as a soon to be veterinary surgeon ploughed through the mud with high knee lift and cantered over for a self-converted try. University were ahead 7-0 and body temperatures had risen.
As per their style, University proceeded to place their opposition in a vice like grip once play was restarted. Iron forged defence did not allow Gordon to accrue any meaningful field position. Again, the blue and gold hoops were camped inside the Highlanders quarter. This time halfback Waratah Henry Robertson enveloped his opposition halfback like a cheap suit causing a charge down of a kick. The ball was regathered and patted back again to that international man of mystery Poletto. Poletto again darted over to the rapturous applause of his proud parents John and Luisa perched in the stand to record his double. University were ahead 14-0 and looking very confident in difficult conditions.
The confidence was on full show during the latter stages of the first half when a penalty touch finder saw University set an attacking line out twenty metres from Gordon’s goal line. The ball was brought down and an audacious spectacle was then witnessed by all. Once the maul was set the roll was applied. The moving mass was inching its way towards Parramatta Road, Two metres, five metres, ten metres. The maul was then near the five-metre zone and halfback Roberston beckoned a number of outside backs to partake in the feeding frenzy. The added impetus caused probably by the combined weight of breakaway Will Cocker and centre Ofa Manuofetoa’s luxuriant follicles caused the maul to be within millimetres from the Gordon line. When the mass was over it was none other than try scoring freak, Hooker Declan Moore once again scoring to increase the score line to 21-0. Soon after the halftime bell sounded and both teams dashed back into the dressing rooms to avoid hyperthermia.
The thermometer showed 13 degrees but it felt like 3 degrees. The wind chill factor was so prominent that an exasperated Gordon supporter could not even perform a sialoquent * dialogue as ones breath would be converted into ice cubes.
The second half playing against the prodigious wind was not a problem for the Students, they continued their vice like control of the proceedings. Dour it may have been but the defence of University has been a hallmark this season. Gordon did manage a try late in the second half with a long cut out pass to their winger. But five points was all that the tartan army could record.
University’s pack had the upper hand all game and the final try came from a succession of scrum penalty repacks. After a series of scrums, the ball was passed wide for twinkle toed winger Matt Hood to dive over. 26-5 and University played out the remainder of the game to a valuable bonus point victory.
Two try recipient, Daniel Poletto was almost humble after the game. “Persistence paid off in that game. We were consistent in execution. The team allowed me to score those two tries.”
New head coach Phil Blake was also satisfied with the days result. “The boys worked hard all week and put the effort in. We got a good result today.
Next Saturday at home University play the Rebels of Southern Districts.
*sialoquent – the action of spitting when you speak. An extreme example is comic Barry Humphries alter ego Sir Les Patterson.