Full article written by Graham Croker | Sydney University Sport & Fitness
Taking over the presidency of Sydney University Football Club (SUFC) after the 15-year David Mortimer reign was never going to be easy, but Angus Stuart is modestly pleased with the on- and off-field achievements in 2016.
Mr Stuart said the club was grateful to be able to start the 2016 season at the Sydney University Football Ground, a new home after 153 years at No.1 Oval.
“With a purpose-built grandstand, a world-class gymnasium, a function centre and a proper football square, it was wonderful to kick-off with a 46-29 win over Eastwood,” he said.
“The Shute Shield was one of the most closely contested for many years, with the top eight sides all well matched on their day.
“Working with a very young squad, the coaches and players did well to win the minor premiership and make it through to the Shute Shield grand final. But Northern Suburbs were too good on the day, running out 28-15 winners and breaking a 41-year drought to collect the 2016 title. Congratulations Northern Suburbs.”
Sydney University Second Grade dipped out of contention in the semi-finals, but Third Grade collected the Henderson Shield with a 20-12 result over Warringah and Fourth Grade secured the Henderson Cup with a 24-10 win over Eastwood.
In the Colts grand finals played at Forshaw Rugby Park, Sydney University First Grade defeated Northern Suburbs 26-21, Second Grade went down to Randwick 34-27, and Third Grade defeated Eastern Suburbs 25-5.
Sydney University also won the Women’s Premier grade grand final with a 25-24 win over Parramatta at Waverley Oval, making it back-to-back titles.
Mr Stuart said that while the new structures were being established, they hadn’t forgotten the need to provide cutting-edge training programs to maintain the on-field impetus. “It’s important that our infrastructure is stronger than ever at the grassroots,” he said.
General manager Haigh was also happy with the way the club has progressed.
“It was a start-up year for all of us and a chance to re-set the club,” he said.
“We had a strong foundation to work with and capitalise on and we were able to look at the club with fresh eyes and fresh ideas. Despite losing in the Shute Shield grand final, coach Davidson was pleased with the efforts of the club across the board.
On the representative front, SUFC provided 22 players for Australian sides in the Super XV Rugby competition. They included Bernard Foley, Israel Folau, Henry Clunies-Ross, Will Skelton, Paddy Ryan, Nick Phipps, Tolu Latu, Dave Dennis, Dean Mumm, Jeremy Tilse and Brad Wilkin with the NSW Waratahs; Tom English, Mitch Inman, Sam Jeffries, Nik Stirzaker and Laurie Weeks with the Melbourne Rebels; Sam Carter and James Dargaville with the ACT Brumbies; Nathan Charles and Ben McCalman with Western Force; Sam Talakai with the Queensland Reds, and David Duling with the Sharks in South Africa.
SUFC players Pat McCutcheon, Ed Jenkins, Tom Kingston and Greg Jeloudev were members of the Australian Sevens squad which contested the 2015-16 World Rugby Sevens Series. Ed, Pat and Tom also represented Australia in Sevens at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Ed captained the team in both events.
Mr Stuart said it was important to maintain and build on the Club’s strategies to make it possible for players to further their careers. “SUFC has such a great system of volunteers, supporters, sponsors, parents and past players who help keep the club going,” he said.
“With that support you celebrate the wins along the way and keep improving.”
Bring on season 2017.