Clinical, dominant, powerful and frightening! An amended reprint of Rogets Thesaurus was required to identify further adjectives to describe Sydney University’s 45-12 victory over Warringah in last Saturdays Grand Final at North Sydney Oval.
The opening ten minutes was a cautious phase for both teams to gain some sort of ascendancy. When the first scrum was packed it foretold eighty minutes of misery on the Rats pack. The Warringah forward pack throughout the afternoon was consummately buckled and shunted from the Warringah Expressway back towards the northern beaches.
University points scoring machine winger James Kane commenced the days scoring with a penalty goal. Three points was just the amuse-bouche prior to two entrees crafted by that artful University half back Jake Gordon. Like inside centre Will McDonnell’s pet blue cattle dog Alfie, Gordon drove, barked and followed his marauding pack into the five metre zone. Second rower big Dave McDuling tighthead Paddy Ryan and breakaway Brad Wilkin were making inroads into Warringah territory through their picking and driving. You could sense the Warringah veneer about to fracture any minute. A University ruck was only a metre off the goal line when Gordon speared off the back through a noticeable gap to score under the posts.
Soon after Gordon exploited a sleepy Rats defence with a quick penalty tap to score the easiest of tries beside the posts. It was just over half way through the first half but the main course the plat principal was still to come!
Warringah managed to score a long range try to their fullback Dave Feltscheer after a perplexing decision to allow play to continue despite a back pedalling Warringah scrum. 17-7 was the score at half time. University were looking confident. The forwards were relentless. Lachie Swinton and Nick Champion de Crespigny were aggressive but controlled. There was no Batman fight graphics - KAPOW, BIFF, WHAM, THWACK coming from these two bruise brothers. The next forty minutes was University’s swansong to go out of 2018 on their terms.
University were to kick off for the second half. However the signs were not positive for the Rats. It was if the Rats had injested their own bubonic plague intended for the Students by allowing the ball to bounce into touch near their goal line. It was so dangerous to allow University back into the red zone. A lineout knock on compounded the sequence as it allowed the Students to set another attacking scrum.
With their powerful scrum University inched towards the line. But rather go for the pushover Jake Gordon channelled the ball to winger Harry Potter who from an angle smashed his way over for a try. The perfect start for the second half and the Students were up 24-7 and looking formidable!
But like buying a product from late night television- “there’s more!” came soon after. Again University had camped inside the Warringah quarter. “Oh dear” another dreaded scrum was etched across the faces of the savaged Rats eight. A few pack downs and then University were awarded a penalty try from a splintering Rats pack. The Ken Irvine scoreboard showed 31-7. University supporters were smiling. Warringah not so as they started to shuffle towards the Ridge street exit and being wished good bye from the University choir perched high in the Bob Stand. What was sung to those exiting? The Sound of Music’s So long farewell auf wiedersehen goodbye? It didn’t matter as the action continued on the pitch.
Warringah scored their final points for the day when their outside centre Seb Wileman punched down a loose University blind side to score. But University were focused to continue till fulltime.
University hooker Tolu Latu was the human torpedo when a ruck was formed on the Warringah line. New half back the returning Nick Phipps passed a flat ball towards the open for Latu to run hard in a perfect line to touch down increasing the score to 38-12.
University’s final mauling of the Rats came when a blindside rush was made. The ball was being moved along the backline between Will McDonnell and James Kane outside the Warringah quarter. McDonnell drew defenders and gave a gentle pass to Kane for a try in the northern corner. Kane converted his own try for a 45-12 final score. Fulltime was blown by the referee Mr Houston soon after and the canary shirted University supporters burst through the perimeter fence to praise their club mates. Commiserations Warringah and congratulations to the Students!
Captain Rohan O’Regan was held aloft carrying the Shute Shield amongst the human wave of University supporters. Danger man Jake Gordon could not hide his admiration of his team mates. “After losing 2016 there was unfinished business. To do it with Paddy and new blood such as Tim Clements and Will McDonnell showed we can do it,” said Gordon.
Head coach Rob Taylor drenched in a cocktail of liquid could not hide his admiration. “It’s such a pleasure coaching you guys. People don’t realise how hard Uni players work,” said Taylor.
The 2018 Shute Shield has returned to Camperdown and celebrations will continue through the week. The club could not be successful without the help of the coaches, managers, volunteers, medical staff led by Dr Mo and physiotherapist Danni. The administration of the club is well looked after by Dave Haigh and Kirsty Stevens. Club President Angus Stuart and his committee ensures the club functions like a Fortune 500 enterprise. Luke Mitchell’s staff make the game day a great afternoon experience in the grandstand. Ralph’s Café provides the best pre game fuel up for the players. Most of all the supporters mean a lot to the players. The club applauds you in your support.
Enjoy the offseason. After a six month break you will hear get that urge to watch the blue and gold in 2019.
Up the Students!