Sydney University’s winter sport clubs performed with distinction across the grades in 2018, as Graham Croker reports.

Premierships. Minor premierships. Club Championships.

Sydney University clubs shared the spoils this year as a result of multiple finals and grand final appearances across a range of winter sports. Men’s and women’s clubs in Australian football, soccer, rugby union, rugby league, baseball and hockey made 34 finals from a possible 45 grade sides. And that resulted in 18 teams reaching grand finals, with nine coming away with premierships. There were also two Club Championships won. 

“This success didn’t come easy and is a testament to the quality of people committed to our pursuit of excellence,” Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness Executive Director, Rob Smithies said.

Sydney University Australian National Football Club fielded teams in the finals of seven of the nine competitions they contested during the 2018 season.

After finishing third on the NEAFL ladder, Sydney University dipped out of the competition with a 103-94 loss to Canberra in their elimination final. Defender Ryan Hebron capped off a stellar season by being awarded the 2018 Driscoll Medal. He had already been included in his second NEAFL Team of the Year, invited to the AFL State Draft Combine, and been awarded a University Blue.

In the Sydney Premier AFL competition, Sydney University teams made the finals in six of the eight divisions and made it through to grand finals in five divisions. The Premier Division lost their grand final 58-55 to UNSW Eastern Suburbs in a nail-biting affair, where the Students went into the final term with a 10-point lead.

Premier Division captain Allister Clarke capped off a fine season for the Students, winning the Harvey Gordon Medal for the side’s best and fairest player. He also won the award in 2016. Sydney University’s Reserve Division side lost their grand final 60-45 to Pennant Hills, the Division One side lost their season ender 54-46 to Pennant Hills, and the Division Two side lost their grand final 45-27 to UNSW Eastern Suburbs.

It was left to the Division Three side to bring home a flag with a 54-8 win over Camden Cats.

It was a similar story for Sydney University Soccer Football Club’s men’s and women’s teams. Sydney University featured in the finals of six of the seven NPL Men’s 3 NSW and Youth 2 NSW competitions.

The men’s First Division side missed out on finals football, finishing seventh on the ladder. The Under 20 side made it to the grand final where they went down 2-nil to St George City, while the Under 18’s bowed out in the semi-finals after finishing second on the ladder

Sydney University’s Under 16’s won the minor premiership in the NPL 2 NSW Youth competition and went on to claim the 2018 title with a 2-nil win over St George City. The Club’s Under 15’s exited the competition in an elimination,  the Under 14’s made it as far as the preliminary final, and the Under 13’s went down 3-nil to Camden Tigers in the grand final.

Sydney University’s women’s soccer teams made it to the finals in all five divisions in the NPL NSW competition, claiming minor premierships in First and Reserve grades and the Under 17’s. The Club’s Under 15’s and Under

14’s bowed out in elimination finals, while the Reserve Grade made it to the preliminary final.

Macarthur Rams caused an upset in the First Grade grand final with a 4-3 result over Sydney University. The Students had some consolation with the Under 17’s defeating Manly United 3-2 to claim the 2018 title.

Sydney University Football Club made the finals in all seven men’s grades in Sydney’s Premier competition (four senior and three Colts) and were Minor Premiers in First Grade.

While the three lower grades and three Colts sides bowed out in preliminary and semi-finals, First Grade went on to win the Shute Shield with a comprehensive 45-12 result over defending premiers Warringah.

Sydney University’s Women’s Rugby Club won the 2018 title for the Jack Scott Cup with an emphatic 38-17 result over Warringah at Woollahra Oval. Sydney Uni went through the season undefeated, claiming the Minor Premiership with an average winning margin of 40 points. Sydney Uni’s Tasmin Sheppard was named MVP of the match, following a strong performance in the front row.

Sydney University Rugby League Football Club claimed the 2018 Tertiary Championship with an 18-12 win over UTS Tigers at Sydney University Football Ground. SURLFC had already won the Minor Premiership, going through the nine-round competition with six wins and two losses. Sydney University racked up 226 points during the competition proper while conceding 118.

Sydney University Baseball Club won the Second and Third Grade titles in the Sydney Winter Baseball League. Second Grade accounted for Hawkesbury 4-2, with Jarryd Stanley throwing eight phenomenal innings to claim the MVP accolades, while Wade Shipard closed out the game well, pitching the last innings.

Sydney University Thirds made it three titles in a row when they defeated Hawkesbury 2-nil in the season decider. Scott Moran hit a triple to drive in Dean Pousini and Sam Collins at the bottom of the fourth innings, while John Nicoll was impressive on the mound, pitching a shutout.

Sydney University Women’s Hockey Club fielded five teams in the Sydney Women’s Hockey League, reaching the semifinals in four divisions and grand finals in two divisions.

The Metro 3 side won the 2018 title, defeating Moorebank in the decider, while Moorebank won the Metro 5 grand final with a 2-nil win over Sydney University.

In the men’s, the Club fielded seven teams in the Sydney Premier League and Sydney League competitions with the Premier 3 and 4 teams making it to the quarter finals before bowing out.