The sunny but cold conditions were ideal for University to express themselves against Gordon last Saturday at University Oval. The Students 44-26 victory was played on the annual Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Day. Lifehouse Day recognises the visions of the pioneering cancer surgeon the late Professor Chris O’Brien a stalwart of the club.
The game was barely thirty seconds old and if you walked down to The Grandstand bar to order two Long Island iced teas, you probably missed the first try. A regathered ball from the kick off was spread by University to the scoreboard flank. The quick fire passing was finally received by newly promoted winger Matt Narracott. Possessing incredible speed, Narracott scorched down the sideline to touch down in the corner.
University were on a mission to reverse the first round defeat at Chatswood Oval. With a number of representative players returning, there was some extra sting in the tackles.
The ball was being recycled rapidly by University and any loose play was capitalised by the University backs. Tom Kingston today playing at fullback punished Gordon with any wayward kicks. Kingston received a Gordon clearing kick and somehow weaved right through the Gordon defence. Kingston saw a set of flashing pink, blue and white boots to his left and set up a try under the posts for his captain inside centre Tom Carter. Score line was now 12-0 and the University momentum was established.
University were cutting swathes through Gordon. Outside centre Jim Stewart scored the third try in a solo effort. Stewart received the ball along the backline and used his strength and formidable fend to shrug off some daggy defence to glide downfield for an easy try.
The Students were focused on running at every opportunity. There was also a University defence more dour than Jack Palance’s face thwarting Gordon’s attempts to cross the line. University’s next try was a virtual Picasso and the highlight of the day devised by up and coming tactician Luke Campton that man blessed with the Channing Tatum looks! The lead up saw breakaway Tom Shaw punch hard down the blindside from a ruck. Shaw set play down the sideline and passed inside to another Tom in Carter. Carter straightened play and passed outside again to the speedster Mark O’Dare. The big winger clapped on the pace against his former club and scored a welcome bonus point try under the posts. Score was 24-0 to University and there was less than 3 minutes remaining in the first half.
Gordon finally registered their first points with a crash ball move inside the 22 metre area for a half time score line of 24-7.
The second half saw Gordon mount a mini renaissance. Gordon scored the first try through a driving maul from a five metre lineout. But the score continued to fluctuate more than a Shanghai stockmarket with University kicking penalties, Narracott’s second try and a Gordon try from a rolling maul. The score line still favoured University 37-19 mid way through the second half.
Gordon’s breakaway Dempsey scored a try by regathering a loose University ball for their bonus point. However the final points belonged to the home side. Once again Carter came to the fore when he followed through a Stuart Dunbar break for a final score of 44-26.
The solid victory was put in perspective by coach Malone after the game. “Eliminate three things to be a good football team”, said Malone. With a countdown to make the semi finals, University cannot cruise at all.