We’ve been here before. Back in 2013 I penned an article – two actually – that celebrated the life and times of two of Australian club rugby’s finest exponents as they prepared to take their grand final bow for Sydney University against Eastwood.
Best mates since childhood, Tim Davidson and Tom Carter were pulling up stumps on a playing career that had already seen them inspire the Students to seven Intrust Super Shute Shield Premierships, as well as carving out a respected living in the professional game with the Waratahs, Force and Rebels.
That they then signed off with a memorable 51-6 demolition of Eastwood in the grand final – arguably the finest club performance in many a long year – to lift an eighth title in nine years, meant they had achieved the fairytale ending they could only have dreamed of.
While Davidson threw his boots into the fire and took a 12 month hiatus away from the game that had been his life for some 20-odd years, the only fire Carter dealt with was the one still burning inside his belly for the game that he loves. As a result, his ‘retirement’ lasted approximately four months before he was back in pre-season training, driving himself and his fellow Students to even higher levels of fitness in order to ensure that he, and they, had what it took to sustain Uni at the pinnacle of Sydney club rugby.
But they didn’t.
Having announced a second retirement ahead of the 2014 finals series, that old hunger, rage and desire to be a winner kicked in once again when a long range Ben Volavola penalty booted Southern Districts into the grand final and left Uni out of the last day decider for the first time since 2004.
He duly put his hand up again for 2015, a year that ended with an unheard of nine defeats in total, and a 40pt semi-final humbling at the hands of Manly. Sensing a team – and a club – in relative decline compared to the decade of lofty standards in which he and Davidson had dominated, his focus this season has been on leading, teaching and marshalling the next generation of Students in the hope that they go on to re-establish and drive forward the club culture his generation helped to foster, and be the torch-bearers for another decade of success in the process.
Keep reading! The full article available here…