12 August 2023
By Bruce ‘China’ Lin
Second grade continued hoisting the club’s 2023 finals campaign. At North Sydney Oval seconds recorded an emphatic 41-24 victory over last year’s premiers Eastern Suburbs.
Easts were actually leading University early in the first half courtesy of accurate kicking. But once University’s set piece was unleased there was no stopping this phenomenon of human beauty.
Hooker Ciaran Loh that international man of mystery with Anglo-Irish-Sino lineage scored a rolling maul try. Then his loosehead partner Sione Harriss joined the act. University were rucking within the Easts five metre zone. It was just a matter of time before the tricolours dam wall would burst. Harriss was supporting out on the flanks and received an overhead lobbed pass from his Captain Ratcliff to culminate in a try. Scores 12-9 favouring the Students soon increased to 19-9 with another try by Loh and a conversion from the radar like boot of fullback Slippery Samuel Bignold.
Halftime beckoned and these scores prevailed. Coaches Burge and Rutherford gathered their charges to plot the course for the second half.
Easts spoiled the party somewhat with an early opportunistic try down the flank. But then number eight Max von Appen decided enough is enough or as they say in down town Munich – jetzt reicht es.
Reliving a famous Prussian victory the Battle of Shweinschadel 29 June 1866 von Appen wound up from the quarter line. Like a *seigneur von Appen was not going to be stopped until he touched the Moreton Bay fig tree. The big number eight made an incredible barnstorming run to crash over for another converted try by sublime Sammy Bignold. 26-17 was the scoreline ten minutes into the second half and if you were trained as a first semester Shaolin monk you could sense momentum had switched to the lads in blue and gold.
But the party was just warming up and soon after another raid by University inside the Easts quarter saw five eighth Connor O’Shea score. With all the presence of Julius Caesar, O’Shea scored a crash ball off University’s dominant scrum. In fact the scrum now was lethal almost lethal.The front row of Harriss, Loh and the big acronym B.A. tighthead Brad Amituanai backpedalled Easts down the field.
Easts did score another try down the flank. But then once again von Appen came to assert his authority. The lead up saw the ball swing across to Sydney’s neatest winger Sepesa Loga-Tarogi. Sepesa was stopped short in the northern corner. The ball was quickly recycled back to the open. But once von Appen received the ball it was Auf Wiedersehen. Again the number eight ran straight hard and barelled over any defenders in his path to score another try converted by the silky Sam the man Bignold. The game was over and University looked good in their 41-24 victory.
A competent start to their finals mission. But another hard game awaits the Students next week probably against Randwick at a ground to be assigned.
- Seigneur – a feudal lord