19.05.2008 – Graham Croker
Sydney University Colts consolidated their hold on the Colts Club Championship and the defence of their three titles with another Saturday of dominance, this time against Eastwood at T.G Milner Field.
First Grade ran out 43-10 winners after leading 19-5 at the break; Seconds ran up a 47-12 scoreline, while Thirds also snared a bonus point with a 22-5 result.
The three Colts grades remain unbeaten in 2008.
Firsts faced some tough opposition and a 17-8 penalty deficit on Saturday, but gradually gained control at the scrum, had parity at the lineout, and when they clicked on occasion in the second half, ran in some entertaining and well-crafted tries.
Inside-centre Michael Hodge opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he shredded the defence off a lineout in red zone. Five-eighth Bernard Foley, who landed 23 conversions from 28 attempts against Penrith the previous week, had no trouble with the conversion.
Flanker James McMahon bagged the first of his three tries in the 10th minute off the back of a rolling maul from a lineout near the host’s line.
But the good work was undone by a perennial University problem area – throughout the grades – the kick-off reception. The high restart landed untouched and Eastwood flanker Alex Nichols was able to toe the loose ball over the line and win a 30-metre race to score. Sloppy receptions created the only dents in the University armour, and they hurt them throughout the afternoon.
McMahon’s second try came on the stroke of half-time when Hodge split the defence from a lineout 40-metres out, off-loaded to flanker James Brown, who found his cohort in support for a try under the posts. It was a telling blow with Foley converting.
McMahon grabbed another off a rolling maul soon after the break and, with a Foley penalty goal, the Students took a 29-5 lead.
With the University scrum taking the first of several tightheads, the Students were able to mount plenty of pressure and a three-phase build-up allowed Foley to wrap around Brown for a very slick try under the posts.
A 20-metre rolling maul, a lineout steal and a big run from winger Drikus Hoffman preceded the final University try.
Operating off a lineout 20 metres from the hosts’ line, Foley fooled the defence with another clever pass to the straight-running Hodge, who went over untouched.
With the University scrum down to seven men after the dismissal of replacement flanker Tom Norval, Eastwood scored a consolation try in the final minute from a loose ball near the University line.
The hosts had some good performers in second-rowers Chris Dan and Mitchell Lees, number eight Mitchell Claridge and centres Tim Bennets and Richard Holden.
Foley was very assured at five-eighth for the Students, number eight Trent Dyer and second-rower Sam Carter made some telling runs and tackles, Adam Campbell was strong at the lineout and halfback Nick Phipps was tidy behind a very well-drilled pack.
Footnote: In the First Grade Colts match against Penrith last week, the disputed scores were 180-nil and 189-nil. Having viewed a video of the match, the club can report that the score was 186-nil from 28 tries (14 in each half) and 23 conversions from 28 attempts by Bernard Foley. The Students led 92-nil at half-time.
First Grade: Sydney University v Eastwood postponed to June 7.
Second Grade: Eastwood 35 (Damien Fitzpatrick, Pat Shanahan, Lachlan McCaffrey, Rowen Keelom, Nathan Brecht tries; Zeb Filise, Nathan Powyer goals, Zeb Filise, Nathan Powyer pen goals) d Sydney University 23 (David Fungalei, Joey Dawson, Richard Finau tries; Dan C Kelly goal, 2 pen goals) at Sydney University No.1.
Third Grade: Eastwood 36 (Dustin Eaton 2, Rhys Allen, Mick Snowden, John Grant tries; Mick Snowden 4 goals, pen goal) d Sydney University 26 (Dane Cole-Clarke 2, James Lee-Warner, Grant Maitara tries, Justin Bosilovski 3 goals).
Fourth Grade: Sydney University 26 (D Amituania 2, Jamie Whelan, Junior Tuitatia tries; Jamie Whelan 3 goals) d Eastwood 21 (Andrew Strong 2, B Paton tries; P Kent 3 goals).
First Grade: Sydney University 43 (6 tries) d Eastwood 10 at T.G. Milner Field.
Second Grade: Sydney University 41 (7 tries) d Eastwood 12.
Third Grade: Sydney University 22 (4 tries) d Eastwood 5.