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Defending NSW Tertiary Cup rugby league premiers UTS started the 2017 season on a positive note with a 38-4 disposal of Sydney University in their Round 1 clash at Blackmore Oval on Saturday.

Sydney University Lions faced a tough task in the season opener, fielding  number of new recruits, including new head coach and player Luke Srama (older brother of former Gold Coast Titans hooker Matt Srama).

The game was a test for a Lions team still gelling and with limited preparation given the torrents of rain that closed several grounds in recent weeks.

Srama, along with new recruit Jade Ferguson and captain Myles Fowler, led in defence with some devastating hits.

However, with poor handling and too many piggy-back penalties it was the fancy footwork of the Tigers hooker and backs that found space with the good field position.

The first recipient of the recently inducted Dave Chadwick scholarship, Jake Vrahnos, set up the lone Sydney University try for new recruit Leon Fifita.

Fifita’s pummelling palm put former Lions player Adam Hanson hard on his back, showing glimpses of what could be a devastating combination in future given more opportunities.

Vrahnos continued to look composed in attack and solid defensively on the edges. Fellow Elite Athlete scholar Marcus Pappas, a Bachelor of Applied Science (Diagnostic Radiography) student and new recruit showed particular power up front in attack.

Despite the lopsided score line, there were positives to take away. There were no injuries for starting players coming back from various niggles.

Srama noted after the game that this was very much “a trial match for the boys”.

“The areas of weakness were what I expected given the new players and limited preseason,” he said. This calm and positive demeanour was infectious in the sheds and there was a sense of maturity among the team that this is just one hurdle in a long race.

Sydney University have the Easter break to rest up and re-evaluate until they face the newly arrived Macquarie University Warriors in Round 2 at historic Henson Park for the Lions first home game at 1pm on Saturday, April 22. 

Scoreboard

NSW Tertiary Cup competition – Round 1

University of Technology Sydney 38 defeated Sydney University 4 (Leon Fifita try).

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