Sydney University Lions overcame a slow start to run out 38-22 winners over Macquarie University Warriors in their Round 2 Tertiary Cup competition clash at historic Henson Park on Saturday.
Having had a forfeit in Round 1, the Warriors surprised the Lions for the first 10 minutes before the hosts settled in to a rhythm and turned on a solid attacking performance, to post their first win of the season.
A key focus for the Lions after their first round loss was simplifying the attack and controlling the ruck, and it really showed throughout the first half.
Jade “Tractor” Ferguson, the veteran up front, again led the middle, ending up on top of several tackles that slowed the Warriors’ attack. Captain Myles Fowler led the tackle count with his usual dose of body-cutting blows that regularly bring cheers from the bench.
In attack, recent recruit Murray Spear was particularly shifty out of hooker with some choice runs that brought both momentum and penalties for the Lions.
It was Spear’s passing game that helped deliver Adam Vrahnos Man of the Match honours with three tries from hard running and good support play off Chadwick Scholar and younger brother Jake.
Adam regularly appears to turn men into boys with his line breaks and determined running that see at least one or two defenders fall off him.
Coen Horwood showcased the speed he displeased in pre-season, scoring a double on the wing, while running down opposing backs when needed to turn and cover.
Even in short stints, the wrecking ball Tevita Loko ran over several Warriors perhaps unprepared for someone of his size when putting their hand up for this competition.
This was certainly an improvement on the opening round, although the slow start and somewhat over-confident finish led to late tries that disappointingly closed the gap. Ultimately, coach Srama and the rest of the coaching staff were pleased with the steps forward, but acknowledged there is still plenty of work to do.
Sydney University Lions will meet the Australian Catholic University at Marrickville Oval – just around the corner from Henson Park – this Saturday. Come down and hear the Lions roar at 3pm, on Saturday, April 29.
NSW Tertiary Cup competition – Round 2
Sydney University 38 (Adam Vrahnos 3, Coen Horwood 2, Jake Vrahnos, Daniel Hicks, Max Linden-Smith tries; Adam Vrahnos 2 goals, Thomas McCarthy goal) defeated Macquarie University Warriors 22.