The Sydney Uni Lions continue to set the standard for the rest of the league with a dominating 49-6 win over arch rivals the UNSW Raiders.

The Lions travelled to Wollongong on Saturday to face their longtime rivals in the annual contest for the Foundation Shovel – a trophy held by the victor of the game between the last remaining foundation clubs of the NSW league. And the Lions did not waste any time in showing that they intended to hold onto the Shovel, driving 55 yards on their opening possession after running back Alex Watson (#40) showed remarkable agility for a big man to vault over a would-be tackler and run for a 25 yard touchdown.

Not to be outdone, the Lions’ defence was quickly into the action, driving the Raiders back from their 20 yard line, with linebacker Steve Dabin (#45) claiming the quarterback in the end zone for a safety. On the ensuing free kick, Lions freshman Abdul Kadir (#25) continued his strong showing on special teams this season to return the ball for a touchdown and push the score out to 16-0. The Lions finished the first quarter in control of the game at 23-0 after mounting a 65 yard drive for another score, with quarterback Kiernan Dorney (#11) having to throw for the touchdown twice after a catch to receiver Brandon Ausley (#20) in the endzone was ruled out of bounds. This proved to be no problem for the Lions, with Dorney firing the touchdown strike to Victor Martin (#86) on the next play.

This was the start of a big day for Martin, who finished with 8 catches for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns for the game. He scored the Lions’ next touchdown too, with a one-handed circus catch on a 29 yard reception, to push the score out to 29-0.

The only real blemish on the performance of the Lions happened on the next play, with the kick-off coverage team falling for the old three card trick and allowing a length of the field touchdown run by the returner.

Thankfully, the Lions buckled down to play sound football the rest of the way and grind out a good win. The defensive front of Chady Aoun (#54), Devin Lagorio (#44), Scott Thompson (#38), Martin Balada (#74), Nicolai Hansen (#8), Steve Dabin (#45) and Lachlan Kadrian (#48) was particularly strong, dominating against the run and pressuring the Raiders’ quarterback into error. The intense pressure held the Raiders offence to a net total of minus 25 yards on 39 plays for the game.

The offence continued to rack up the points, with Justin Klein (#36), Abdul Kadir (#25) and Harry Granger (#5) scoring touchdowns in the second half to push the final score out to 49-6. It was particularly gratifying to see Harry Granger leap high to haul in a contested catch for the final touchdown in his first game back after a long rehabilitation from knee surgery.

Sydney University faces its other collegiate foe – the UTS Gators – next Saturday, 17 October, at Neptune Park, Revesby, kickoff at 6pm.