Students send message to rivals by toppling Southern

Sydney University signalled a warning to their Shute Shield rivals after inflicting Southern Districts’ first loss of the season in a thrilling game at Forshaw Park on Saturday.
Nanjing Night Net

In a rematch of last season’s grand final, University’s dogged defence proved the difference, limiting the Rebels with a brutal lesson in tackling and determined forward play.

The line-ups differed significantly from those which contested last season’s decider with Southern Districts fielding nine from that game and Sydney University five players in the highly anticipated match.

The quality was plain to see as Waratahs stars Ben Volavola, Lopeti Timani, Jed Holloway and Grayson Hart started for Southern with Tom Carter, Michael Hodge and Tom Kingston on the field for University.

The first half was characterised by University’s defence, which was able to contain the dangerous Southern back line by slowing the ball down at the breakdown. By containing the pace at which Southern spread the ball, their back line was able to set itself and deal with their rivals’ use of the ball.

University crossed the line first with some typical forward play. The Students’ rolling maul laid the platform for a try by prop Sam Talakai.

Both teams lost key players in University second-rower Sam Jefferies and Southern’s inside-centre Apo Latunipulu, both leaving the field with knee injuries.

But Southern were able to enter the sheds trailing 8-10 after Alex Gibbon crossed the line in the corner following good hands from Volavola and Rohan Saifoloi.

The Students continued to dominate after the break, through their disciplined defence. They then caught the tiring Rebels defence off-guard as winger Greg Jeloudev streaked away to score, opening up a 10-point margin.

The Students let Southern back into the match in the final 10 minutes after captain Tim Davidson was yellow-carded for committing a professional foul.

But despite conceding a brilliant second try to Gibbon in the final moments, University showed more defensive grit to see off the table-topping Rebels by five points.

Both teams had several chances to win the match but it was the defensive qualities of Uni which proved decisive in the end.

In other matches, Warringah succumbed to West Harbour 46-40, Manly accounted for Penrith 44-29, Randwick overcame Norths 39-20, Easts outlasted Parramatta 40-31 and Eastwood outscored Gordon 49-22 in what was a very high-scoring day all round.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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