Sydney University Football Club’s clean sweep in seven grade and Colts matches against West Harbour on Saturday secured the Sydney premier rugby union Club Championship for a 13th consecutive season and the Colts Club Championship for a 12th year in a row.
As the retiring club president David Mortimer said in his 2015 annual report, “the ability for all SUFC teams to dig deep and lift again to higher levels at the end of a long season is why I remain so proud of our club.
“Another reason I applaud the players and coaches is that every player and coach in the club gained finals experience. That has been one of the hallmarks of the club’s extended stay at the helm of the competition,” he said.
Those words rang true in recent weeks when First Grade came from behind to draw with Warringah and again to claim the points against Eastern Suburbs, and Third Grade Colts snatched the points in a close run affair against the Rats. They were valuable contributions towards securing both championships.
First Grade’s trepidations against Warringah and Easts looked like continuing against West Harbour at Concord Oval on Saturday when the hosts started with intent, controlled proceedings for the first 10 minutes and established a 7-nil lead when outside-centre William Wardlaw scooted through a defensive hole and streaked away to score and five-eighth Tayler Adams converted.
But from that point, it was all Sydney University. Two snipes from halfback Jake Gordon resulted in tries, the first to hooker Folau Fainga’a down the right flank and the second to winger Christian Kagiassis, who rewarded the straight running of five-eighth Stuart Dunbar and inside-centre Tom Carter to score down the left flank.
When blindside flanker Hugh Frazer handled twice to score soon after the restart and Kagiassis landed his third conversion, the Students led 21-7 in as many minutes.
They stretched that to 26-7 five minutes before the break with an ensemble try featuring Dunbar, prop Alexander Batho, fullback Angus Roberts, Frazer and Carter, who finished off the draw-and-pass assault. The try was a result of a great defensive read from openside flanker Hamish Dunbar, whose tackle helped to secure a turnover and the counter-attack.
With a bonus point in the bag, the Students continued their ball-in-hand style to post another five tries in the second half, with Kagiassis grabbing another two and outside-centre Jim Stewart, and replacements Fred Burdon and Jack Redden securing five-pointers. Kagiassis also turned on a goal-kicking class to land six conversions, including three from the sideline, to finish with 27 points.
West Harbour scored a late try through tighthead prop Faaope Junior Satiu which Adams converted.
The win leapfrogged Sydney University to the top of the table on 64 points, with Northern Suburbs (63), Southern Districts (63), Randwick (61), Warringah (58) and Manly (57) making up the top six. In a very tight competition, Eastwood are on 56 and Eastern Suburbs on 52 with one round to be played.
Sydney University can wrap up the minor premiership with a win over Parramatta at the campus Football Ground this Saturday before the preliminary finals begin the following weekend. Before then, First Graders might work on kick-off receptions which were embarrassing at times on Saturday.
Sydney Men’s Premier Grade rugby competition – Round 17
First Grade – Shute Shield: Sydney University 57 (Christian Kagiassis 3, Folau Faingaa, Hugh Frazer, Jim Stewart, Tom Carter, Fred Burdon, Jack Redden tries; Christian Kagiassis 6 goals) defeated West Harbour 14 (Faaope Junior Satiu, William Wardlaw tries, Tayler Adams 2 goals) at Concord Oval on Saturday.
Second Grade – Colin Caird Shield: Sydney University 68 (Christian Yassmin 3, Jack Blair 2, Sione Talanoa, Sam Quinn, Matthew Hood, Fred Burdon, Saia Tanginoa tries; Byron Hodge 8 goals, Thomas Koerstz goal) defeated West Harbour 31 () at Concord Oval on Saturday.
Third Grade – Henderson Shield: Sydney University 55 (Benjamin Carolan 2, Ben Cannon 2, Blake Harrison 2, Jack Jones, Ed L’Estrange, Sam Vaoga tries, Ben Cannon 5 goals) defeated West Harbour 14 (Adam Barrington, Carlin Simon tries; Carlin Simon 2 goals) at Concord Oval on Saturday.
Fourth Grade – Henderson Cup: Sydney University 26 (Alastair Ryan, Sam Harris, Nicholas Burden, Malachy Mullin tries; Tom Wilson 3 goals) defeat West Harbour 5 (Todd Liubinuskas) at Concord Oval on Saturday.
First Grade: Sydney University 62 (Banjo Travers 2, Patrick O’Doherty, Lincoln Whiteley, Samuel Renton, Eddy King, Will McDonnell, Tim Clements, James Kane, Daniel Calavassy; Samuel Renton 4 goals, James Kane 2 goals) defeated West Harbour 14 (Jake Donaghy, Raymond Taetuli; Matthew Thomas 2 goals) at St Paul’s College Oval on Saturday.
Second Grade: Sydney University 38 (James Widders-Leece 2, Ahmad Elbatoory 2 Jaydon Faavae-Eli) defeated West Harbour 10 (Junior Lasalo Tuilagi, Hakaraia) at St Paul’s College Oval on Saturday.
Third Grade: Sydney University 52 (Sydney Malifa 2, Unalota Teisina 2, Tom Farrell 2, Chris Dagger, Micah Lomu tries; Daniel Poletto 6 goals) defeated West Harbour 5 (Lawrence Failla try) at St Paul’s College Oval on Saturday.