Sydney’s Students Secure Shute Shield

Sydney’s Students Secure Shute Shield

Sydney University have taken out the 2012 Shute Shield after defeating Southern Districts in a 15-14 thriller at Concord Oval.

Despite trailing by 11 points early in the second half, the Students ran in two late tries to close out the match by a single point.

The Shute Shield win capped off a perfect day for the club, who also won second and third grade titles, and marked an impressive personal milestone for captain Tim Davidson, who has now led the first grade side to seven Shute Shield titles in eight years.

‘I think it’s definitely the hardest,’ said Davidson of today’s battle with Southern Districts.

Uni captain Tim Davidson

‘It’s fantastic and a huge relief to know that all the hard work that’s gone in has paid off,’ he added.

‘Full credit to Souths, they were absolutely exceptional. They put us under so much pressure, I think it (the victory) rates up there highly because of what we went through last year.’

The Students opened their account with a penalty goal to fullback Angus Roberts. But Southern Districts hit back straight away after inside centre Apo Latunipulu set up his midfield partner Nick Cummins for the first try of the match.

Dominating the first period, the Rebels’ running rugby mentality helped them pile the pressure on Sydney University, leaving the Students unable to create any opportunities.

Winger Atieli Pakalani was a stand-out in the first half, breaking first-up tackles with ease, while the physicality of big No. 8 Lopeti Timani ensured the Rebels crossed the advantage line with every ball carry.

That attacking pressure was too much for the Students and Rebels’ fullback Ben Volavola made them pay, knocking over two penalties to take his side to an 11-3 half-time lead in the club’s first ever premiership Grand Final.

But after the break, the experience of seasoned finalists and 24-time champions began to show, as they put in a serious fightback.

When hooker Nathan Charles crashed over for a great try on the back of an immense rolling maul the momentum looked to be shifting. Despite missing the conversion, fullback Angus Roberts soon made amends, crossing for a converted try of his own soon after to give the Students the lead for the first time in the match.

With ten minutes to play the Rebels pushed the Students to the brink and almost took back the lead but calling on all their experience, the Students forced the ball deep into the Rebels’ half and held out to seal their 25th Shute Shield title and their seventh victory in eight years.

‘It wasn’t a great half for us,’ admitted Students’ halfback Nic Strirzaker, of the team’s first half performance. ‘But we said if we stick to our structures and stick to our plays, we’ll crack them eventually and fortunately that’s what happened.’

In other grades, Sydney University recorded a 45-28 win over West Harbour to lift the Colin Caird (Second Grade) Shield, with the club’s third grade side also taking the Henderson Shield after dispatching Manly 27-19. The fourth grade Henderson Cup went to Northern Suburbs, who defeated Manly 20-0.

Shute Shield Grand Final: Sydney University 15 (Nathan Charles, Angus Roberts tries; Angus Roberts con, pen) d Southern Districts 14 (Nick Cummins try; Ben Volavola 3 pens)

Southern Districts: 1. Tetera Faulkner, 2. John Ulugia (c), 3. Tim Metcher; 4. Jed Holloway, 5. Andrew Leota; 6. Matt Swann, 7. Jono Hayes, 8. Lopeti Timani; 9. Grayson Hart, 10. Rohan Saifolio; 11. Ben Connolly, 12. Apo Latunipulu, 13. Nic Cummins, 14. Atieli Pakalani; 15. Ben Volalvola.
Sydney University: 1. Jeremy Tilse, 2. Nathan Charles, 3. Paddy Ryan; 4. Liam Winton, 5. Ollie Atkins; 6. Trent Dyer, 7. David Hickey, 8. Tim Davidson (c); 9. Nic Stirzaker, 10. Dan Kelly; 11. Michael Hodge, 12. Tom Carter, 13. Mitch Inman, 14. Tom Kingston; 15. Angus Roberts.

A huge G&GR thanks to Nick Halfhide and Seiser Photography for the words and pics.



Writing and editing for G&GR since 2010.

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