There are things in life that are certain – death, taxes, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump going to the same barber and University peaking at the right time of the year. In the Students most powerful display for 2019 they defeated Northern Suburbs 66-17 last Saturday at Camperdown.
University started in fourth gear pounding Norths inside their quarter with runs and heavy defence. Barely three minutes had been played when young prop Angus Bell decided to mimic Bam Bam Flintstone by smashing over under the posts for a converted try. A later chip and chase with a bobbing ball inside the in goal area saw University quickly ahead at 14-0 after only fourteen minutes.
The Shoremen eventually settled down and commenced to build continuity. This delivered dividends when an attack inside the University quarter was spread wide. With a noticeable deficit in markers Norths scored an easy try in the southern corner.
University were controlling play repelling Norths raids with some bone crunching defence. Norths were being relentlessly pinned down inside their half for long periods.
Half way through the half once again the man who has more mysterious powers than yesteryears comic character Mandrake the Magician injected himself after a line out ball was brought down. Winger Harry Potter ran towards the defence and bizarrely the opposition fell off him to run and score an easy try beneath the posts. How does Harry Potter do this week in week out? Only a Four Corners investigation will reveal his mystical powers!
21-5 was a handy buffer going into the second half. However this time the call was out to keep the foot on the accelerator for the next forty minutes.
University had the perfect start to the second half. The forwards were once again rucking hard, pinning Norths inside their five metre zone. The exhausting process finally culminated in returning hooker Tom Horton to dart over for a bonus point try increasing the score line to 28-5.
The accelerator was well and truly flat to the boards with the fifth try orchestrated by the foresight of fullback Tim Clements. Receiving a Norths clearing kick the baby faced fullback decided to run the ball through the heart of the Norths defence. Clements split the defence and offloaded to his support inside centre Will McDonnell. McDonnell immediately linked up with halfback Jake Gordon who applied some finishing speed to score a try converted by winger James Kane. 35-5 and the Students had an almost sense of puissance* in their play today which was unstoppable.
It was almost like an all night party as the Students continued to high five each other. A series of loop around balls to the open saw replacement prop Chris Talakai transform himself into a dashing inside back. Talakai gave a final pass to Horton who again scored under the posts. 42-5 was soon showing 49 -5 on the scoreboard with a penalty try awarded following scrum infringements.
Potter was feeling a little lonely out on the wing and beckoned five eighth Ben Hughes to give him another try. It came by a diagonal kick to the flanks allowing Potter to regather and score in the corner to increase the score to 54-5. Banjo Travers replacement halfback got in the act supporting another Clements bust for a try. 61-5 and Norths were hurting. Their hurt was allayed somewhat with two tries scored late elevating their total to reflect 61-17. But the damage had been done and with less than five minutes left the prospects of reversing the score line were virtually nil.
Norths were throwing a final raid towards the Students line but were heartbroken after Ben Hughes anticipated a ball for an intercept. Hughes had virtually the entire field to sprint down. Trailed by red and black jerseys, Hughes raced downfield for a try. 66-17 and University had pounded Norths today.
Head Coach Robert Taylor was under no illusions of the job ahead. “We play Norths again in two weeks’ time hopefully back here. Enjoy the feeling today as it all starts here again for training.” Rohan O’Regan had a sense of achievement after the game. “We faced the best lineout in the competition and got two-three turnovers which is pretty good,” said the exhausted number eight.
In the final round to the regular season University go down the road to Concord Oval to confront the unpredictable West Harbour.
*a competitive test of a horse's ability to jump large obstacles in show jumping.