Randwick’s four-point Shute Shield win over Sydney University in the inaugural game at the new Sydney University Football Ground was a tale of missed opportunities, solid defence and scrum savvy.
The visitor’s 13-6 half-time lead might have been bigger had centre Brogan Roods 30th minute inside pass to winger Jack Pennington not been ruled forward with the line open.
The hosts also had a try disallowed when hooker Folau Faingaa dived over next to the uprights, only to be recalled for the Students to take a penalty. The Students’ pack also advanced the leather over the line on the end of a pick and drive assault – only to come up empty.
And then there were the scrums. Randwick took four tightheads in the course of the match, the most important being at the death when veteran hooker Adam Freier had come on as a replacement with Sydney University going for a five-metre pushover.
Despite the tighthead count, the Students had already been denied three possible pushover tries in a tense second half and might have been unlucky not to snare a penalty try when the Randwick pack twice capitulated. Scrum dominance ebbed and flowed, particularly when replacements were introduced.
With strong defence from both sides, tries were at a premium. Randwick blindside flanker Nicholas Kellaway scored the first in the 16th minute when defence was taken out of the equation. Fullback Andre Kellaway had chipped to the corner where a difficult bounce eluded University winger Saia Tanginoa. Kellaway managed to regather his kick and flick a pass to Nicholas who scored near the uprights. Having already landed an early penalty goal, five-eighth Andrew Deegan added the conversion for a 10-3 lead, the University points coming from a penalty goal to fullback Angus Roberts.
The kickers traded further penalty goals in the 26th and 36th minutes as the game moved between ends. Along with the first half tighthead, the Randwick pack also snared several crucial turnovers at the breakdown, allowing Deegan’s prodigious right boot to control territory in the first 40 minutes.
The Students upped the ante in the second half and spent a fair chunk of time inside the Randwick quarter. The visitors lost number eight Sam Croke and second-rower Ned Hadigan to yellow cards in their efforts to keep the Students at bay.
Deegan and Roberts traded further penalty goals before Randwick scored their second try when prop Sonny Satuala barged over from a five-phase assault on the end of a Deegan kick to the corner. The No.10 added the extras and at 23-9 the Wicks might have felt comfortable.
But they were anything but as the University eight gained dominance at the set piece. A scrum penalty near the line saw halfback Jake Gordon take a quick tap to send outside-centre Jim Stewart over with defenders hanging on for the ride.
Roberts missed the conversion, but he kept the scoreboard ticking from the restart when his telling clearance kick found touch 30m from the Randwick line. Randwick hooker Peter Nau’s throw was a shade too long and Gordon caught the ball on the full and streaked away to score wide out. Roberts’ conversion attempt went astray leaving the score at a tantalising 23-19.
Sydney University dominated the closing stages with a series of five-metre scrums failing to deliver the telling blow. And the one that really counted, with seconds remaining, saw Randwick hold their own and snare a tighthead. It was a game of missed opportunities. Randwick took theirs and now lead the competition after three rounds, while the Students dropped from competition leaders to fourth place.
The action moves to Manly Oval this Saturday.
Sydney Men’s premier competition – Round 3
First Grade: Randwick 23 (Sonny Satuala, Nicholas Kellaway tries; Andrew Deegan 2 cons, 3 pen goals) defeated Sydney University 19 (Jake Gordon, Jim Stewart tries; Angus Roberts 3 pen goals) at Sydney University Football Ground on Saturday.
Second Grade: Sydney University 40 (no details supplied) defeated Randwick 36 (Tom Coupland 2, Brad Houlihan, Nic Andrews, Christopher Taripo tries; Tom Coupland 4 cons, pen goal) at Sydney University Football Ground on Saturday.
Third Grade: Sydney University 36 (no details supplied) defeated Randwick 28 (David Parsons, Samuel Connor, Will Lalafo, Apakuki Maafu tries; Thomas Hiddleston con, 2 pen goals) Sydney University Football Ground on Saturday.
Fourth Grade: Randwick 22 (no details supplied) defeated Sydney University 10 (no details supplied) at Sydney University Football Ground on Saturday.
First Grade: Sydney University 38 (incorrect details supplied) defeated Randwick 28 (no details supplied) at Coogee Oval on Saturday.
Second Grade: Sydney University 39 (Jay Spencer 2, Conor O’Doherty 2, Lewis Oswald, Callum Styles, Aidan Brown tries; Callum Styles 2 cons) defeated Randwick 10 (no details supplied) at Coogee Oval on Saturday.
Third Grade: Sydney University 27 (Angus Chapman, Thomas McFayden, Daniel Poletto, Tom Farnell tries; Daniel Poletto 2 cons, pen goal) defeated Randwick 24 (no details supplied) at Coogee Oval on Saturday.
Sydney Women’s premier competition – Round 1
First Grade: Parramatta 22 (no details supplied) defeated Sydney University 5 (no details supplied) at H.V. Evatt Park on Saturday.