The Sydney Uni Lions crushed the Newcastle Cobras 85-0 in the opening round of the Gridiron NSW competition on Sunday, September 6.
With a strong pre-season behind them, the Lions got off to a fast start, scoring 35 points in the first quarter.
Slotback Justin Klein (#36) had the honour of scoring the season’s first touchdown on the Lions’ first offensive play from scrimmage and ended the game with 5 receptions for 72 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Klein was certainly not alone among the receivers in having a big game, with Victor Martin making his debut (3 TDs), Josh Yerrell (2 TDs), Sam Darcy (TD) and Abdul Kadir (TD) all catching touchdowns. Naturally, with all these touchdowns being thrown, the Lions quarterback, Kiernan Dorney (#11), had a big day, completing 15 passes from 18 attempts for 243 yards with 9 touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Lions running game also played its role, with Alex Watson (#40) running for 82 yards on 8 carries and Andrew Smart (#29) gaining 56 yards on 10 carries. All of this offence was generated behind an offensive line featuring Brad McManus (#77), Justin Schnurstein (#61), Alex Davies (#55), Luke Dickson (#78), Tsuyoshi Kittaka (#62) and Elliot Mills-Connolly (#75).
The defence was no less impressive, containing the Cobras offence to minus 49 total yards. This was only just shy of the club record set by the 1987 team which held the Blacktown Vikings to minus 80 total yards.
#44 Devin Lagorio (7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks) and #74 Martin Balada (5 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack) led the way on the defensive line, with #53 Bola Labulo (5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 sacks and a fumble recovery), #8 Nicolai Hansen (4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks) and #99 Sean Jones (1 tackle, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception and 1 PBU) making strong contributions from linebacker.
Defensive captain, #9 Keenan Mackett, led the tackle count with 6 tackles, while #30 John Tamanivalu and #4 Kevin Trinh both held interceptions in the secondary.
The special teams were impressive as well, with #86 Victor Martin slotting 11 of 12 conversions and freshman, #25 Abdul Kadir, taking a punt return back 75 yards for a touchdown.
With a comprehensive win behind them, the Lions now look forward to playing the Nepean Ducks at 12pm on Saturday the September 12 at Craik Park, Twelfth Avenue, Austral.