Sydney Uni racked up another club double, with both the Cubs (u19) and Lions (Div I) winning their fixtures against the Northern Sydney Rebels at Forrestville Oval last Saturday.
The Cubs got the afternoon started with a strong 36-6 win in the Colts Division. On offence, the Cubs started with a controlled running game, linemen Matt Le Guay (#85), Daniel Liang (#77) and Josh Zucchini (#74) paving the way for Ethan Nalewabau (#26) to run in the opening score. The strong and blustery wind made it tricky for the passing game, but quarterback Kade Dawson (#16) kept his cool and found his receivers. Kristof Bryndum (#82) ran in a long range punt return to open the scoring floodgates and, on defence, after initially having difficulty in covering the Rebels’ running backs in the passing game, the Cubs held the Rebels at bay to see the team home to a strong 36-6 victory.
In the Division I game, the Lions started strongly, shutting the Rebels down and driving in for touchdowns on their opening two possessions to take an early 12-0 lead. However, the Rebels took advantage of good field position gifted by a turnover on downs at midfield to drive in for a score behind a strong running game. The Lions then invited the Rebels back into the game by fumbling away the ensuing kickoff. The Rebels converted on a crucial 4th & 11 play, ex-Cubs player Alex Klaric (now playing for the Rebels) finding his tight end for a clutch reception, and took the lead 16-12 after another running touchdown and 2 point conversion.
With time running out in the half, the Lions mounted a quick fire drive to march the length of the field and go in for a touchdown to retake the lead, 18-16. Fullback Alex Watson (#40) scored on a 10 yard run and would churn out 143 yards on 19 carries and score 4 touchdowns in a powerhouse game.
The second half opened with the Lions driving to the Rebels’ goal line but failing to score. The Lions defence was then hit with a number of 15 yard penalties which helped the Rebels get the ball to the other end of the field and score to move out to a 24-18 lead. Again, the Lions drove down inside the Rebels’ 10 yard line but put no points on the board after failing to convert on 4th down inside the red zone. But a quick three and out series on defence got the ball back for the offence and Alex Watson carted the ball into the end zone from 10 yards out to give the Lions back the lead at 25-24.
The defence was now asserting itself and got the Rebels off the field again without picking up a first down. The Lions offence was clinical and drove the field, this time Halfback Abdul Kadir (#25) running in for the score to push the lead out to 32-24. But the Rebels were not done yet. A long kick-off return (and another big penalty) got the Rebels close and Klaric threw up a good long ball for Mike Hoekeman to come down with a touchdown catch. This time the Lions stuffed the 2 point run attempt to hold the lead at 32-30.
By now, the Lions offence had found its groove and drove in for touchdowns on its next two possessions, Alex Watson running in the first from 16 yards and Conor Foley (#21) taking a reception from quarterback Matt Hilley (#14) 24 yards for the second. At the same time, the Lions defence kept its hold on the game, safety Keenan Mackett (#9) picking off an interception to shut down any hopes of another Rebels revival.
Sydney Uni now has a bye week before resuming with a road trip north to play against the Central Coast Sharks at Budgewoi Soccer Club on 15 October 2016 at 6pm.