Tom Carter’s 200th Grade Game

On behalf of all at Sydney University Football Club, we would like to congratulate Tom again on his incredible milestone of 200 Grade games.

Sam Ryan from RugbyNews provides a lovely insight into Tom leading into the game which we have included just in case you missed it!

Sam Ryan

Whatever you think of Sydney Uni centre Tom Carter, it’s hard to find a player that’s had a bigger impact on the Shute Shield over the past decade.

The 32-year-old from Young in regional NSW will play his 200th match for Sydney Uni on Saturday and is now the club’s eighth most capped played.

“It’s something I’m incredibly proud of. My family have been around the club for more than 20 years, I’ve seen us at our lowest in the mid 90’s and then I’ve been fortunate to have been able to carry on the legacy of my brothers and some other great players, so it means a lot to me,” Carter told Rugby News.

Carter joined the Sydney Uni Colts program in 2001 and made his first grade debut two years later, scoring three tries against Penrith in 2003.

Since then, he’s played in eight first grade Grand Finals, as well as earning 76 caps for the Waratahs. Despite that, he found it difficult to pinpoint a particular highlight from his 15 years at the club.

“To be honest, the whole journey has been the most enjoyable bit, not one moment. That feeling before the game when you look your teammate in the eye in the blue and gold jersey, that means the most to me,” he said.

“Premiership wins are incredibly special. The first one in 2005, then 2009 was a unique experience where we played a very strong Randwick side. And obviously 2013, we had one of the best University sides ever fielded.”

For many, Carter is the figurehead for Sydney Uni’s dominance in recent years, ensuring he receives plenty of attention from rival fans – some of which he admits he brings upon himself – when the Students leave University Oval.

“I’m a totally different person off the field as I am on the field. When I cross that line, I want to do everything I can do to win for Sydney University.”

“I think that’s probably the hardest thing for people to realise, that when I’m off the field, I’m totally different to what I am on it.”

He recalled one afternoon at Nepean Rugby Park, as one of his most difficult:

“Back in 2004, I was playing with my brother out in Penrith and the opposition were sledging me on the far side, telling me I was living in my brothers shadow.

“I ended up swapping wings and went over the other side, but I could still hear them getting stuck into me.”

Whilst Carter said the negative attention used to get under his skin, he said he’d changed a lot as both a player and a person in recent years.

“With Tim Davidson retiring in 2013, I realised I had to grow up a lot, I also became a father and realised my rugby career was coming to an end,” Carter said

Following a changing of the guard after the 2013 premiership, Carter took on far greater responsibility as a leader and began to focus on mentoring the club’s next generation.

The likes of James Dargaville, Henry Clunies-Ross, Jake Gordon and Jim Stewart – just to name a few.

“I’ve been able to give back some lessons that I learnt along the way and have tried to point them in the path to avoid some the mistakes that I made over the years.”

“They are young and they make mistakes from time to time, but to try and help them learn about themselves, about the game and about life, that’s something I really treasure.”

Carter said he hadn’t ruled out playing past this season, admitting he is in better shape now than when he was playing professionally.

But with Chris Malone leaving at the end of the season, he said there’d be no better way to finish his career, than with a premiership.

“I think Manly, Eastwood and Souths are still the teams to beat. They’ve been the teams to beat all year and have all beaten us.”

“We need to improve and get a little more cohesion. If we can have the boys stay on the field in the next few weeks then we’ll be in a good position to give the finals a good crack.”

Considering the Students have won four of their last five matches and welcome back more Super Rugby players this week – it’s hard to rule them out.