Sydney University vs Northern Suburbs
By Bruce’China’ Lin

Sydney’s Shute Shield rugby competition descended upon the historic hamlet of Bowral 118 kilometres south of Sydney. A town where cricket’s Sir Donald Bradman honed his early batting skills and a sanctuary for Sydneysiders to actually drive their SUV’s in a rural setting!

The grand final rematch between Sydney University and Northern Suburbs once again saw the John Thornett Cup go across the harbour bridge. Norths defeated University 41-24 on Eridge Park soaked by rain throughout the day.

University commenced the game with the right game plan by pinning Norths inside their 22 metre area. A massive scrum surge saw the Students pilfer a tight head feed. Some fast recycling later saw veteran centre Tom Carter make a bust through the middle and link up with his supporting breakaway Jack McCalman on the inside. Young Jack pinned his ears back and hearing the roars of his parents Claudia & Andy dashed under the posts for a converted try.  

Momentarily stunned by this University piercing of their defences, the North’s men commenced to surprisingly spread the ball to the flanks despite the boggy touchlines. Their five eighth Sinclair popped a short ball along the short side for their centre Foley to score an easy try which was unconverted. University were bustling Norths inside their territory but their experience allowed them to regroup and repel any Students attacking raid. Both no.10’s Kagiassis and Sinclair traded penalties for a slender lead to University 10-8, 15 minutes into the first half. However two quick tries, one a cross field kick regathered by their winger Woolf slammed the foot on University’s momentum before halftime. With a score of 22-10 at the break University required to counter the suffocating tactics of North’s.

The bumper crowd had packed the rainbow coloured poplar lined fields. The Eftpos machine of the R.M. Williams outfitter The Countryman along Bong Bong Street had a meltdown with the plethora of moleskins, tartan& tweed on show! There were stalls selling hot food, merchandise and home made Anzac biscuits creating a village atmosphere to see the best of Sydney rugby on display. As this was technically a University home game the local populace were given an early insight to see and hear The Voice. No not the forthcoming channel 9 show but in the form of our Andrew Coorey entertaining as the big city ground announcer.   

The second half started on the worst note for University. A swarming maul by Norths in the five metre precinct was back pedalling the Students. University debutant halfback Banjo Travers attempting to execute a box kick for relief saw the kick charged down for another easy Norths try. Scores were 27-10 to the Shoremen and the Students were facing a long bus trip back along the M5 motorway staring at locations synonymous for vehicle rebirthing.

However with a Norths prop sin binned for scrum infringements momentarily reignited University. University prop Wayne Borsack burrowed his way towards Belanglo State Forest to score a try. However the reciprocal sin binning of Tom Carter for a tackle breach allowed Norths to once again rally to score another try. Later some continuity along the backline saw outside centre Greg Jeloudev smash his way over for a converted try to reduce the deficit to 10 points with 10 minutes remaining.

But with the benefit of field position Norths did not allow University back in.  Another converted try on the bell was scored which somewhat flattered the scoreline.

This trifecta of losses was undoubtedly disappointing for the Students. The character of the team will take place this week before our next battle at home against Gordon.

The SUFC convey our appreciation to the Bowral Rugby Club for promoting and hosting this fixture and to Hume Coal as match day sponsor, hopefully this event can be built upon for future years.