How Manly helped Sydney Uni prepare to beat Warringah in Saturday’s decider
Sydney Uni’s road to this weekend’s decider has been pretty close to perfect.
Since getting their best team on the park just after the halfway point of the regular season, the Students have been the form team of the competition by quite some way, winning their last five regular season matches to steal the minor premiership.
Things were looking good. Almost too good in fact, according to coach Rob Taylor.
“You do want to be tested and fortunately we got that in our first final against Manly.
“They went outside of the box and threw some things at us in the first week of the finals and that’s what you want.
“You want teams trying things against you so you can learn how to respond to it and Manly did that.”
Taylor highlighed the Marlins and Norths, the two sides they’ve beaten in the past fortnight, as teams that always throw plenty at you.
Manly stunned Uni early in their qualifying final clash earlier this month and led 28-14 before the defending premiers fought back.
“If you look at that Manly game, our guys were able to problem solve on the run and in the second half of that match, they only scored three points even though they had a big breeze behind them,” Taylor explained.
“We’re pretty pleased with the last few weeks because we’ve had tight play, wide play, mauls, all sorts of things thrown at us and we’ve been able to respond and find a way to win.”
While the Students will start as favourites on Saturday, they’ll likely be without lock Nick Champion de Crespigny who was suspended for three weeks at last night’s NSW Rugby judiciary hearing.
While Uni are appealing the decision, Mitch Whiteley is expected to replace Champion de Crespigny in the Students’ grand final starting side.