Sydney University Lions were up against it on several fronts when they ventured to Kellyville Oval to take on Norwest Polecats in their Round 5 NSW Tertiary Cup match on Saturday.
The Polecats won 24-22 but not before the Students turned on a late surge to almost grasp at win.
For the second week in a row the Lions took on a much bigger forward pack and the fatigue from the previous week took its toll.
And a lopsided penalty count saw them on the defensive for most of the first half.
Despite the setbacks the Lions showed great determination to stay in the contest.
The huge defensive effort was led by captain Myles Fowler, along with Adam Vrahnos and Elite Athlete scholar Marcus Pappas.
The Polecats forwards proved to be more skilled than their size let on and Chadwick scholar Jake Vrahnos and halves partner David Turner faced some difficult decision-making in defence on the edges.
The Lions were dangerous on nearly every possession when given the opportunity and the four tries they posted might have been more but for handling lapses.
Some sneaky dummy half play from Sydney University alumni Kazuki Fukushige brought them within two points with only minutes to go and at the end it was a case of lost opportunities.
This week the players were split in their voting for Man of the Match between James Vanisi, Odyssey Laderas and team captain Fowler. Each player brought inspiration with Vanisi pumping up the boys as he ran over defenders, while Odyssey and Fowler were deadly in defence.
The Sydney University players wore black arm-bands for team-mate Christian Maini, whose grandmother passed away close to game day. The team’s support and condolences go out to the Maini family in this difficult time.
Coach Luke Srama remains positive that the team is improving week-to-week in what continues to be one hurdle in a long race. Next up, the Sydney University Lions return to Henson Park against the TAFE NSW Polecats (A).
Come down and help the Lions bounce back at 1.00pm on Saturday, May 27.
NSW Tertiary Cup competition – Round 5
Norwest Polecats (B) 24 defeated Sydney University 22 (Kazuki Fukushige, Jade Ferguson, Jake Vrahnos, Daniel Rowe tries; Max Linden-Smith 3 goals).