Sydney University vs Manly
By Bruce ‘China’ Lin

Sun coupled with a stiff breeze and cold conditions failed to curb University’s red hot 2nd Grade performance last Saturday at Rat Park. The 45-14 victory was an exhibition of discipline, power and skills.

From the initial signs of a back pedalling Manly scrum, the hallmarks of a dominant University was apparent. Six minutes had elapsed when a set move was executed following a scrum inside the Manly 22 metre area. As the ball was spread wide the move was from the days of corner milk bars and pin ball machines – the old style run around was displayed!

From five eighth Theo Strang to the centres Will McDonnell and Harry Potter the ball was looped amongst the players. The tactic caused confusion amongst the Manly defenders as Potter ran through a gap untouched to score a converted try.

University were strangling Manly of possession and their go forward was rewarded shortly after with a try scored from a loosely marked ruck by breakaway Captain Jack McCalman.

Manly had a sizeable pack but University were unfazed as the forwards were focused on going forward. Viscount Nick – Marmaduke Champion de Crespigny of Fyshwick led the charge running hard, straight and taking the big tackles as well. He was equally supported by breakaway Declan Moore that bulldog morphed into player who was a constant menace to the opposition.

Another try before the half time break to fullback James Kane saw the blue and gold up 19-0 a handy lead indeed. But with Manly about to enjoy the prodigious breeze for the second half, coach Ray Hudd would impart some words of wisdom to his team at the break.

Despite the breeze which had become noticeably stronger, University started the game on the front foot. In one of the most amazing runs seen this year outside centre Harry Potter set up the next try. The ball was channelled wide and Potter commenced to glide and bounce off a plethora of players. It was if he was an owl in Hogwarts Hall as no one could tackle him! The ball was recycled wide again and winger Henry Clunies-Ross at speed sped down the eastern touch line to score.   

24-0 was the score and Manly’s opening try came after thirteen minutes. University were soon on the attack again trying to work their way inside Manly territory. A ruck was formed and then bizarrely speedy winger Matt Dowsett took off from the base of an invisible ruck and raced downfield to score under the posts for another converted try. 31-7 was the score with ample time left to lay on more points. Manly scored another converted try but University were particularly potent on this day.  

Number eight Mitch Whiteley scored a try through fierce recycling inside the five metre area while the last was reserved for Jack McCalman again. A five metre lineout drive saw another ruck form pressed on the Manly tryline. Again a transparent ruck was formed which McCalman duly ran through for the final try.

The game ended with Theo Strang all 80 kilograms dumping a 125 kilogram Manly forward.  This was not fake news, alternative facts or a senseless debate over dual citizenship. University were dominant today and are going to the Grand Final at North Sydney next week!