Sydney University Lions came up trumps in both divisions for the second time this season, when Division One took on University Western Sydney Ducks at Bankstown Campus and Division Two played across town at Blackmore Oval against Australian Catholic University in Round 9 NSW Tertiary Rugby League clash on Saturday.

The Lions ran in six tries to win the Division One match 30-18, while the Division Two side ran in four tries on the way to a 22-20 result.

Jake Vrahnos picked up the Kobe Jones man-of-the-match points in Division One, while Suma Nona collected the Division Two award.

Newcomers Greg Ale and Daniel Lambert had strong games and will only get better as they grow more comfortable with their combinations.

It was a lively start to the Division One clash with aggressive defence by the Lions forwards led by Scott Bunch and Myles Fowler setting the tone for a torrid afternoon of footy for the Ducks.

The Lions took full advantage of the early onslaught when Ryan Barton broke the defensive line to score the opening try in the fifth minute, setting up a 4-0 lead.

The Lions struck again in the 9th minute when Fowler cut through and found Joe Andrews in support. He was brought down 20m from the line and from the play the ball Jake Vrahnos scooted across field and found Steve Tziotis with a great cut-out pass to score in the corner. Andrews converted for a 10-0 scoreline.

The Lions were dominating in both attack and defence in the early exchanges and were rewarded with their third try at the 15-minute mark when Kingi Ngatai threw a magical 20m pass to find Lambert running on the ball at speed to streak away and score a great try in the corner. The Lions were in full control leading 14-0.

Having made 10 completions from 10 sets in the first 20 minutes the Lions dropped their intensity in back end of the first half and only managed to complete one set out of six, allowing the UWS Ducks to build some confidence and hit back just before halftime to go into the break at 14-6.

The Ducks having finished the first half full of confidence struck early in second half and then again in the 50th minute. The two converted tries gave them an 18-14 lead and the momentum shift was with the home team.

The Lions had to recompose and regain control of the game which they did on the back of excellent defensive work by Bunch, Tziotis, Barton and William Grooms which resulted in turnovers from the Ducks and the Lions gaining possession with some repeat sets in great attacking positions.

The constant pressure from the Lions finally paid off and in the 52nd minute when Adam Vranhos broke the defensive line with a strong run and found his brother Jake in support to score close to the posts. The conversion gave the Lions a 20-18 lead.

Jake Vrahnos showed his class again three minutes later when he scored a great individual try turning a Ducks defender inside out and swerving around two players to score close to the posts and take the lead to 26-18 with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Jake was at it again when he broke the defensive line in the 65th minute to find a rampaging Barton to score his second of the match and extend the lead and take the two points against a determined UWS Ducks outfit looking to make it back-to-back wins after defeating UC Grizzlies last week.

Coach Steve Freeborn praised Jake Vrahnos, Steve Tziotis and Ryan Barton for their great games and wants his team to focus on improving their concentration in the back end of the first half in both attack and defence, goal line attacking ruck play and general attacking set plays.

In Division Sydney University Lions faced Australian Catholic University in a crunch match for both teams.

The game was transferred to Blackmore Oval due to Marrickville being closed.

The Lions were down on numbers due injuries so it required a massive effort by the division two team against a young and enthusiastic ACU team primed to take the two points after their bye last week.

A dropped ball from the kick-off allowed ACU to capitalise by scoring an early try to take the lead 6-0.

The Lions fired back to level 6-6. Some great scrambling defence by the Lions showed they were in for the fight and prepared to work for each other to grind out a win. The Lions had to dig deep against a lively ACU team and being down on troops and suffering some injuries during the first half meant all the players had to lift their game to another level.

The combatants went into sheds at the half-time break with the scores locked at 12-12.

The Lions started well in the second period with strong runs from Andrew Kaleopa, Suma Nona, Sione Fifita and dashing outside backs Nick Woon and Kazuki Fukushige.

The Lions scored twice to lead 22-12 with 18 minutes left on the clock. ACU stormed back with a try but failed to kick the goal and the score was 22-16 with five minutes to go.

In a dramatic last few minutes of the game ACU scored under the posts and the game looked like ending in a draw. Coach Tony Farr couldn’t bear to watch but the ACU goalkicker hit the cross bar from in front and the Lions were still leading by two.

In what seemed like the longest four minutes of the game the match ended with ACU making a break and looking certain to snatch the game from the Lions but the ACU winger stepped into touch before scoring and THE LIONS HAD WON!

Coach Farr had to recompose himself after the match but was delighted with the fantastic effort by his players. He was happy with the commitment and attitude considering his team was down on troops and there were some positive signs we can build on going forward.

Round 10, on July 7, will see Sydney University Lions take on Norwest Polecats at North Sydney Oval, with First Division kicking off at 1pm and Second Division starting at 11.45am.


NSW Tertiary Cup competition – Round 9

Division 1: Sydney University 30 (Ryan Barton 2, Jake Vrahnos 2, Steve Tziotis, Daniel Lambert tries; Joe Andrews 3 goals) defeated University Western Sydney Ducks 18.

Division 2: Sydney University 22 (Nick Woon, David Turner, Matthew Colgrave, Mohamad Sharawy tries; David Turner 3 goals) defeated Australia Catholic University 20.