Graham Croker

Sydney University Football Club’s Under 16 side emerged from State Championships, played at the T.G. Milner complex over the June long-weekend, with the State title tag.
The Sydney University-Canterbury side secured the State title with a heart-stopping 21-17 win over Gordon, who caused some nightmares with some dangerous incursions in the closing minutes.
The tournament kicked off in mud and slush on Saturday, with SUFC-Canterbury accounting for a gallant, but out-muscled Central West 37-0.
The team’s second hit-out was against a beefier West Harbour side, with the boys’ superior speed out wide capitalising on some solid work by the forwards around the rucks. The final score of 43-5 gave University a handy cushion for what was to come – the need to win their pool game against Gordon. A loss could have derailed the campaign.
Gordon’s discipline on a sticky pitch won them the game 10-5 and University had to rely on the result of the Norths v West Harbour pool game to earn a semi-final berth. Norths won and University went into the semi-finals against the Hunter Under 16s.
In the stand-out game of the finals, both sides played themselves to a standstill, with the University forwards going head-to-head with their country cousins to emerge with a 17-5 win and an appointment with Gordon in the final.
Monday heralded a sun-drenched T.G. Milner Field in dry conditions and the opportunity to play some expansive football.
Sydney University put on two converted tries in the first half to go to the break with a 14-3 lead, although they had to hold out a rampant Gordon for the final 10 minutes.
They posted another try early in the second half and then put up the barricades as Gordon once again laid siege, posting two tries to get within range of a title. But the University defence held strong and with it came the championship.
The victorious Under 16s were coached by Ray Hudd, James Godfrey, Joel Rivers and Dane Cole-Clark.