Sydney University Rugby League Club’s dream of securing a brace of grand finals in their return season in the NSW Tertiary Cup competition ended at Henson Park on Saturday with losses in the First and Second Division grand finals.
The University of Technology, Sydney took the Division One crown for 2014 with a 28-18 win over Sydney University, while the University of Western Sydney claimed the Division Two title with a 36-10 win over Sydney University.
Having dipped out of the NSW Tertiary competition after the 2011 season, Sydney University re-emerged for the 2014 competition and went from strength to strength as the season unfolded.
The Division One side finished second on the competition ladder behind Sydney Trains and earned a grand final berth with an extra-time 26-20 win over the minor premiers in the major semi-final
The Trains went down 31-30 to UTS in another close encounter in the final. Having lost the 2012 and 2013 two grand finals, UTS turned up the heat on Sydney University this year and their hunger for a premiership was pivotal in the outcome.
They scored six tries to four, with tries just before and just after half-time stretching their lead to a tantalising margin.
Sydney University’s Division Two side came home with a wet sail to finish third on the competition ladder behind UWS Ducks and ANU Grizzlies.
They defeated Sydney Trains 30-20 in the minor semi-final and accounted for ANU Grizzlies 26-20 in the final to earn a berth in the season decider.
But the Ducks weren’t minor premiers on privilege and proved too strong in the grand final, running out worthy 36-10 winners on the back of eight tries.
The President of the resurrected Sydney University Rugby League Football Club, Chris Kintis, while disappointed not to pick up a title, was nonetheless very happy with the club’s efforts in 2014.
“For two teams that only got together at the start of the season, it a great effort on the part of the players, coaches and support staff to reach both grand finals,” he said.
“The efforts of the boys on the field has resulted in getting the rugby league community together again and we had ex-players from the 1960s supporting us at Henson Park on Saturday. There were also many children of former players in attendance. It was a great atmosphere and augers well for the future.
“I was also thrilled to see the daughter of a former player wearing his 1978 blazer, the last time we reached the grand finals in First and Second Divisions.”
Mr Kintis said the efforts of the players and coaches had also lifted the profile of the sport on the campus, in the local community and in schools.
“Having resurrected the club from scratch, we can now prepare for a proper recruitment program and pre-season in 2015,” he said.
NSW Tertiary Cup – Grand Finals
First Division: UTS 28 (Lee Johnson 2, Jae Cho, Chris Glover, Michael Zappia, Tommy Sarangaya tries; Lee Johnson 2 goals) d Sydney University 18 (Adam Sarkis 2, Steve Tziotis, Jay Parker tries; Tom McCarthy goal).
Second Division: UWS Ducks 36 (Saleh Jaidi 2, Mohammad Chokr 2, Helal Said, Jayden Sawtell, Aahmad Arabi, Conor Dimmock tries; Helal Said 2 goals) d Sydney University 10 (Kingi Ngati, Matt Makk tries; Adam Irvine goal).