Sydney University Lions faced a tough task against the defending Tertiary Cup premiers at Macquarie University Oval on Saturday but despite starting well in each half they succumbed to a 50-26 loss.
It was only the second time the Lions have faced off against Macquarie University since the season opener and frustratingly the game was a reflection of a continual trend over the season. The Lions have showed potential when disciplined and controlled this season, but highly uneven possession has broken their backs against the top sides.
Sydney University scored off the first set and were quick to start both halves for the first time in a while. However, the tide quickly turned with some unlucky charge downs, errors and piggyback penalties.
Despite the quick start the Lions saw the ball only four times in the first half and suffered in the middle because of it.
Down by 30 points at half-time the Lions showed character to claw their way back in early in the second. Ultimately, the massive defensive effort in the first half made the mountain too hard to conquer and the Tigers put the nail in the coffin late into the second.
Some positive signs emerged from the game. Adam Vrahnos returned from weeks off the field to score a double and prove that the Lions are a different side with the representative lock on the paddock.
Philippine national Odyssey Laderas proved that his recent switch to hooker could be devastating for teams in the lead up to the finals as he was again darting and damaging around the ruck.
Reliable Dan Rowe continues to lead from the back, saving multiple tries in the game. Chadwick scholar and University of Sydney student Jake Vrahnos proved to be decisive in attack and showed his leadership in a tough match against the top-of-the-ladder Tigers.
Voting for Man of the Match was close among the players already mentioned above, but ultimately Daniel Rowe earnt the vote from his teammates.
‘Rowey’ has always been reliable, playing multiple positions throughout the season and excelling in every one of them. He continues to pop up in support play, show his savvy line-running and his efforts saved several tries this weekend. It’s been a long time coming this season.
Coach Luke Srama was frustrated for the boys, but eager to build for more consistency leading into the finals. The Lions get a quick opportunity to exact revenge as they play UTS again next week at Blackmore Oval in Leichhardt. Come out for the battle of the big cats at 3pm, Saturday, August 5.
NSW Tertiary Cup competition – Round 12
University of Technology Sydney 50 defeated Sydney University 26 (Adam Vrahnos 2, Ashley Johnson, Toby Lei, Max Linden-Smith tries; Thomas McCarthy 3 goals).