Brothers Rugby Club, the 2009 Queensland premiers, held off a late charge by 2009 Shute Shield premiers Sydney University to win the Australian Club Rugby Union Championship challenge 36-26 at Crosby Park in Brisbane on Saturday.
Brothers scored five tries to three in a fast, open game. The hosts led 12-9 at halftime and extended the margin to 26-14 before Sydney University scored back-to-back tries to trail 29-26 with five minutes to play.
But a try against the run of play to Brothers centre Nathanuel Gendle sealed the match for the home side.
Although the teams were shadows of the sides that won their respective premier competitions, due to retirements, representative commitments and pre-season rustiness, they displayed skill and speed under the new law interpretations.
“The new interpretations play right into our hands, we want to use the football, we want to play with width,” Brothers coach Zane Hilton said. “The same with University, they played some outstanding footy when they got quick ball.”
After winning the Sydney premierships in 2005 and 2006, Sydney University decided to reinstate the Australian Club Championship, which had been in abeyance for a number of years, by challenging West Brisbane Bulldogs for the 2006 title.
The Sydneysiders duly won that encounter 36-5 in Brisbane and successfully defended the title the following year when they defeated the 2007 Brisbane premiers Sunnybank 24-0. But SUFC’s shot at a third consecutive Australian Club Championship imploded at ANZ Stadium last year when Brisbane’s East Tigers turned in a stunning second half to win 38-31.
The Australian Club Championship matches are sanctioned by the Australian Rugby Union and the NSW and Queensland unions and incorporated as curtain-raisers to Super 14 games.
Brothers 36 (Trent Jones, James Harvey, Damon Murphy, Alistair McLay, Nathanuel Gendle tries; Dallan Murphy 4 cons, pen) d Sydney University 26 (David McDuling 2, Mathew Schwager tries; Justin Bosilkovski 3 pens, con) at Crosby Park, Brisbane.