Historic Marrickville Oval, home ground to Sydney University Rugby League Football Club in 1935, was the venue for the Round 6 NSW Tertiary Championship clash with UTS Tigers.

The Lions were primed for a big game and out to make amends after dropping their first game of the season to UTS Tigers in both Division 1 and 2.

The game was always going to be a huge challenge for the Lions up against the undefeated premiers boasting City and State representatives but the Lions forward pack were not going settle for second best showing early signs that they were up for the challenge.

It was a blistering start to the Division 1 match, trading set for set with some physical early exchanges and aggressive defending by both sides which had all the signs of a great afternoon of footy.

Morrison Mong got the Lions off to a good start, kicking a 40/20, which lifted the spirits of the team and showed their intent. Junior Taupo came off the bench and was impressive getting over the advantage line with every carry and causing the Tigers plenty of headaches in defence.

The Lions opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a swift backline move with Brandan Lee finding Myles Fowler running a good line to score out wide. Fowler was impressive all game in both attack and defence and showed why he was selected for representative honours.

Unfortunately a few handling errors crept into the Lions game and allowed UTS to build pressure but some outstanding goal line defending by Adam Harber and two plays later by Joe Andrews and Caine Trindall stopped certain UTS tries.  However, the constant pressure resulted in the Tigers scoring a converted try to lead 6-4. The Tigers scored again just before the half time break to lead 12-4.

The second half started like the first with both packs of forwards trying to lay a solid platform for their teams. It was the Lions that took first advantage with a smart dummy half run by Jake Vrahnos to score close to the posts. Joe Andrews’ conversion reduced the deficit by two.

The momentum started to shift towards the Lions as they grew in confidence and forced turnovers. The pressure took its toll on the Tigers when Morrison Mong drifted across field and found Jay Parker with a great pass hitting the line at speed and scoring in the corner to take that lead 14-12 with 20 minutes to play.

The lead didn’t last long when Daniel Harrison and Jake Vrahnos were sin-binned in two separate incidents which allowed UTS to take control of the game. Having the extra man was too much of an advantage and the Tigers capitalised with scoring two more converted tries which secured the match for the UTS Tigers.

It was a fantastic effort by the Lions who muscled up against a much bigger UTS forward pack. And the silky skills of the Lions backs will give them confidence to go on with the job the next time they meet the Tigers.

In Division 2 the Lions faced an undefeated UTS Tigers team and there were good signs at training that suggested the boys were up for the challenge.

The Lions got off to a good start and were dominating in the early exchanges and surging runs from Kent Straker and Daniel Betham were a highlight as was the clever dummy half play of Mathew Colgrave.

After conceding an early try against the run of play the Lions got back into their groove and Betham got the ball rolling with a great run and offload to Colgrave who had to beat a defender to score a try.

The Lions conceded a try midway through the first half and were down 12-4. However, the spirits were not damped and the Lions hit back with a great run from Krypton Tatupu who offloaded to Dean Reid and a clever pass to Earl Yandall to score in the corner. Steve Tziotis’s conversion closed the scoreline to 12-10.

Moments later David Turner kicked a 40/20 and the Lions smelt blood with a great team try from the ensuing set to Jordan Sio. David Turner converted and the Lions led 16-12 at the break.

The second half started slowly with the Lions conceding an early try and the score levelled at 16-all. Some costly turnovers resulted in two further tries to the Tigers to take their lead to 24-16 with 15 minutes left on the clock.  The power running of Moh Sharawy, Daniel Betham and Krypton Tatupu all game was a constant threat to the Tigers defence and resulted in a great try to Sio, his second of the match. Turner’s conversion set up a nail-biting last five minutes with the scores at 24-22 in favour of UTS Tigers.

Unfortunately some poor options and dropped ball at crucial moments allowed the Tigers to close down the game and hang for the two points.  A great effort by the boys and a win is just around the corner.

No games will be played on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend so Round 7 will be played on Saturday, June 13. Sydney University Lions will take on Cumberland Beavers at Ollie Webb Reserve with Division Two kicking off at 1.15pm and Division One starting at 3pm.


NSW Tertiary Championship – Round 6

Division One: UTS Tigers 24 d Sydney University 14 (Myles Fowler, Jay Parker, Jake Vrahnos tries; Joe Andrews 1 goal) at Marrickville Park.

Division One Kobe Jones Man of the Match: Myles Fowler.

Division Two: UTS Tigers 24 d Sydney University 22 (Jordan Sio 2, Earl Yandall, Mathew Colgrave tries; Steve Tziotis goal, David Turner 2 goals).

Division Two Kobe Jones Man of the Match: Mathew Colgrave.