There are geographical areas synonymous for particular genres. Hollywood for motion pictures, Seattle for grunge music and a southern Sydney hamlet for Australian reality television. For Sydney University there is no easy game as you enter – The Shire Zone.
But in a defining moment last Saturday, University produced a well played 30-18 victory on the back of some outstanding performances from some colts aged players who stepped up to another level.
The first half was a tight 40 minutes with Souths leading for the majority with a 3-0 lead courtesy of five eighth Saifoloi ‘s penalty. University’s defence and scrum were solid providing the ideal foundations for the Students to back peddle Souths.
University’s only try of the first half came after a lineout on the Souths 22 metre area. James Nonu-Carlings lineout catch was channelled out wide. Some quick hands allowed fullback Jack Macklin to make the extra man in the backline and slice through the Souths defence to score a converted try.
University were stringing good phases of play during the latter period of the first half. At halftime University were pressuring Souths on their tryline. An opportunity beckoned to put Souths into a state of melancholy as University number eight Hugo Dessens just knocked on over the try line delaying the onset of a duodenal ulcer for their coach.
There is no better way to ignore the chilly winds during the halftime break by just taking in those forgettable tunes coming from the eastern hill. Seeing University stalwart Andrew Coorey performing a jig to the techno sounds just shows there’s a bit of funk in everybody!
University came out for the second half strongly and were able to secure a quick penalty kick. Souths edged back with a try from a crash ball over the line. But the best try of the day came soon after scored by the young flying winger Henry Clunies-Ross.
University attacked towards the club house. Dan Kelly ran a diagonal line drawing defenders and timed an inside ball for Clunies-Ross to receive at full pace. Before you could say Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the University winger blessed with blinding speed ripped through the defenders to score an outstanding try.
This was the try that hurt Souths and University continued to attack with venom. The Students were gaining ascendancy in the forwards with the pack rucking and shunting Souths in the scrum. A forward rush saw young prop former Australian schoolboy representative Matt Sandell shred Souths in a bumping run for his run on first grade debut. The lad from Mudgee who looks like he could chew a few of his mother Louise’s lamb roasts, set up the ruck ball which was scooped up by half back Jake Gordon who scampered over for another try.
Not content with one try, the man with the hyphen Clunies-Ross decided to add the final bonus point try. Again his pace was bewildering as he literally turned the Souths defenders inside out with a stepping, weaving and speed alternating run to score.
Souths to their credit still tried to peg back the 27-11 scoreline and ended with another crash ball over the line to change the score to 27-18.
Near the end of the game a welcomed penalty to University was kicked by Kelly for a final score of 30-18. Coach Nobby Malone not getting carried away echoed the words, “you believed in yourselves” to his band of happy but weary players after the game.