When Sydney University’s First XV clocked off with a 65-12 win over Parramatta at a gloomy No.1 Oval on Saturday afternoon, they kept intact a winning streak for all of the club’s teams – Colts and grade – for three competition rounds.
The Club inflicted a clean-sweep against Eastwood in Round 11, backed that up with a clean-sweep against Penrith in Round 12, and continued the run on Saturday. Sydney University’s women’s First XV also helped the clean sheet with a 47-12 win over Parramatta.
For the second week in a row in the Shute Shield, the University ran in 11 tries, but in drier conditions, the backs were able to display their wares – and they didn’t hold back.
The match featured many sweeping backline movements – at considerable pace – as the Students controlled possession and position for long periods. And with referee Andrew Lees keeping the game moving, there were plenty of tired bodies when the final whistle sounded.
Perhaps the two most tired might have been University fullback Nathan Trist, who was involved in almost every attacking raid and was rewarded with two tries, and Parramatta’s Steve Mafi, who covered outside centre, number eight and anywhere else he could help out. He was also rewarded with two tries.
With the University pack dominant for 60 minutes, until uncontested scrums were called, and at the lineout, the hosts dominated possession.
And with Dan Kelly back at five-eighth while Daniel Halangahu had a well-earned rest, the ball stayed in hand and resulted in the backs snaring 10 of the University tries.
Indeed, the two wingers were the first beneficiaries of some wonderful attacking play, with Alfred Mafi scoring under the posts in the 5th minute and Nick Edwards finishing off an 80-metre foray in the 12th minute.
Parramatta hit back from the restart, with Mafi dragging down the short kick-off and sprinting away to score under the posts.
But the Students hit back immediately with Trist executing a great palm and a good turn of speed to score in the corner.
Second-rower Ben McCalman backed up another Trist burst grab a try; the custodian scored a second off a Tom Carter break; Mafi grabbed a second off a Trist grubber; and Kelly jinked his way over from close range to give the Students a 39-7 lead at the break.
With rain threatening but never delivering, the lights came on early in the second half.
Edwards opened the scoring after halfback Scott Stumbles sniped off the back of a scrum 30 metres out and sent his winger over under the posts.
He bagged his third soon after with an 80m run down the left touchline after breaking tackles in his own quarter.
Kelly eluded a number of tacklers in another short burst at the 60-minute stage and outside-centre Mitch Inman grabbed the Students’ final try backing up a great break from replacement winger Peter Betham.
Fresh back from the Under-20 World Cup, Betham delivered a great one-handed pass to Inman, who is enjoying a solid, injury-free season outside Carter.
But if the Students thought their day was over, they were decidedly wrong. Despite tackling their hearts out for 70 minutes, the Two Blues found a second wind and attacked the University line for most of the final 10 minutes. The defence held strong until the 79th minute when Mafi grabbed his second on the back of a six-phase build-up. Just reward for a sterling effort.
The visitors had other strong triers in second-rower Ryan Aniseko, fullback Ben Borg and backrower Winney Paulo, while the hosts were strong across the park. The committed pack recycled plenty of good possession and Stumbles and Kelly made sure they didn’t waste it.
When the Students meet West Harbour at No.1 Oval next Saturday expect to see Tim Davidson – captain of the past four premierships – back in the ranks after a stint in England.
Shute Shield – Round 13
First Grade: Sydney University 65 (Nick Edwards 3, Dan Kelly 2, Alfi Mafi 2, Nathan Trist 2, Ben McCalman, Mitch Inman tries; Nathan Trist 5 goals) d Parramatta 12 (Steve Mafi 2 tries; Aaron Mattin goal) at Sydney University No.1 Oval.
Second Grade: Sydney University 98 (Robert O’Reilly 3, Matthew Hodeg 3, Jono Bowman 3, Richard Finau 2, Anthony Pohlen, Sam Carter, Justin Bosilkovski, Julian James, Peter Betham tries; Jacob Taylor 9 goals) d Parramatta 0.
Third Grade: Sydney University 76 (Hayden Bushell 3, Tom Tombleson 2, Josh Dillan 2, Michael Woodward, Tim Broomham, Toby L’Estrange, O Atkins, Dane Cole-Clarke tries; Hayden Bushell 8 goals) d Parramatta 0.
Fourth Grade: Sydney University won on forfeit
First Grade: Sydney University won on forfeit.
Second Grade: Sydney University 57 (9 tries) d Parramatta 12.
Third Grade: Sydney University 47 (7 tries) d Parramatta 5.
Sydney Women’s Championship
Sydney University 47 d Parramatta 12.