A sideline conversion from David Fong after the final whistle saw Sydney University edge out Gordon 27-25 in their Round 4 Shute Shield rugby clash at Chatswood Oval on Saturday.

Fong, the Second Grade No.9 who replaced skipper Matt Schwager a minute before full-time, scored in the corner in the final seconds to level the scores at 25-all. On instructions from the coach, he then stepped up to the plate to land the match-winning conversion.

The conversion was a cruel blow for the hosts, who looked dangerous throughout with their open brand of football. Though the Students might have felt justice had prevailed – they had been held up over the line twice and had two other ‘tries’ disallowed.

Gordon hit their rhythm early, dominating possession and territory and halfback Terry Preston took advantage with a nice break to send unmarked winger Eric Maroni over for the first try. Centre Tom Hill landed the conversion and two penalties to push the scoreboard out to 11-3 – the Students’ points coming from a Dan Kelly penalty.

A try-saving tackle from University winger Zubayr Abrahams on Hill prevented the hosts adding to their tally. Indeed, as events unfolded, it was to prove a match-winning tackle.

The Students gained some possession late in the first half and tighthead prop Pieter van der Merwe surged over from a rolling maul, before Schwager – playing his 50th first grade game – darted through tight defence to put the Students ahead 15-11 at the break.

Converted tries from centres Hill and Tom Matthews soon after the resumption saw the hosts push out to a 25-15 lead and the Students were left with a tough assignment.

They showed they were up to the task when winger Kan Morgan, a former South Sydney Rabbitoh, grabbed his first try for the club off the back of a great break from number eight Trent Dyer to bring the score to 25-20.

Then, with seconds remaining, Fong darted up a narrow blindside to level the scores. And he’ll never need to exaggerate when relating the tale of his conversion.

“We found a way to win today, even though there were so many reasons not to, so I’m happy with that,” Sydney University coach Todd Louden said. “From my count, we were held up over the line twice and had another two tries disallowed, so we were unlucky as well. 

“Full credit to Gordon, though. Today they showed why they have been in the top half of the table so far this season.”

The win saw Sydney University jump a place to third on the competition ladder behind Eastwood and Manly, while wins in Second and Third grades and the Colts fixtures helped the University maintain their lead in the Club Championship.

The Students face a tough assignment this Saturday with a visit to the Shire to take on free-running Southern Districts at Forshaw Rugby Park.


Sydney Men’s grade competition – Round 4

First Grade – Shute Shield: Sydney University 27 (Pieter van der Merwe, Matt Schwager, Kane Morgan, David Fong tries; Stu Dunbar, David Fong goals, Dan Kelly pen goal) d Gordon 25 ( Eric Moroni, Tom Matthews. Tom Hill tries; Tom Hill 2 goals, 2 pen goals) at Chatswood Oval.

Second Grade – Colin Caird Shield: Sydney University 52 (David Fong 2, David Dillon 2, Harry Marples, Hugo Dessens, Will Du Plessis tries; David Fong 4, David Dillon 3 goals; David Fong pen goal) d Gordon 13 (Henry Broad, Lucas Simkin tries; Will Shirvington pen goal).

Third Grade – Henderson Shield: Sydney University 40 (Geordie McSuella, Ned Mullaney. James Swan, Ollie L’Estrange, Sione Kievalata, Dan Simpson tries; Jack Macklin 5 goals) d Gordon 12 (Michael Balk, Ben Naicegaluvo tries; Nick Geldens goal).

Fourth Grade – Henderson Cup: Gordon 8 (Adam Ashcroft try; Josh Whittaker pen goal) d Sydney University 7 (Cameron Lawrence try; Cameron Lawrence goal).


First Grade: Sydney University 48 (8 tries) d Gordon 20.

Second Grade: Sydney University 100 (16 tries) d Gordon 0.

Third Grade: Sydney University 52 (8 tries) d West Harbour 0.