The Sydney Uni Lions defeated the Central Coast Sharks 69-0 at Craik Park on Saturday in a convincing display. The Sharks had started the season strongly, but a mid-season injury to their starting quarterback had grounded their offence and made them easy prey for the undefeated Lions.

Sydney Uni started the game well, showing no ill effects from a week off for the bye. Returner Abdul Kadir (#25) ran the opening kick-off over half way and quarterback, Kiernan Dorney (#11), led the offence down the field for an opening touchdown to Alex Watson (#40) from 4 yards out.

By contrast, the Sharks completely muffed their first chance. On the ensuing kick-off, the Sharks returner fumbled the ball and the ageless Anthony Sinton (#42), playing his 233rd game for the Lions, won the race to the loose ball. The Lions drove down the field and Watson ran the ball into the end zone again for a 14-0 lead.

The Lions then handed over the reins to Joe Thompson (#1) at quarterback, who showed great savvy to draw the Sharks offside and punish them with a 26 yard touchdown pass to Sam Darcy (#84). However, a couple of uncharacteristic handling errors by the varsity spoiled promising drives until Thompson mixed in some strong runs from Kadir with completions to Josh Yerrell (#10) and Harry Granger (#5) to take the Lions over 70 yards on a scoring drive to close out the half at 27-0.

The Lions defence was not really challenged in the first half and it maintained its concentration in the second to secure a shutout. Linebacker Bola Labula (#53) was a constant menace to the Sharks, topping the tackle count with 8 tackles, including 3 tackles for loss and a sack. Linebacker Jacob Gardner (#46) also had a big game substituting in for an injured player at Defensive End. Gardner made 7 tackles, with 1 for a loss, showing his versatility in a different role. But the defensive play of the game was an interception and run back by safety, Stuart Olive (#19), which fell agonisingly short of a touchdown when Olive was brought down at the 3 yard line.

On offence, the Lions shifted into a higher gear in the second half, scoring 42 points to run away with the game. Justin Schnurstein (#61)(pictured) led a Lions’ offensive line which took control of the line of scrimmage. Quarterback Joe Thompson finished with 19 completions from 31 passes for 243 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Dorney was a model of efficiency with 9 completions from 10 attempts for 82 yards and 1 touchdown. Victor Martin (#86) went for over 100 yards receiving yards while Watson ran for 113 yards on 17 carries.

The Lions now look forward to playing their final regular season opponent, the Northern Sydney Rebels, in their game at David Phillips Sporting Complex, Daceyville, at 1pm next Saturday (14 November).