Sydney Uni were the best team this season and deserved to win Saturday’s GF
By Sam Ryan; Photo – Karen Watson
Those on the northern tip of Sydney might not be ready to read this yet, but Sydney Uni deserved to win Saturday’s grand final and claim back to back Shute Shield premierships.
The Students played brilliant grand final rugby at Bankwest Stadium.
In the first half, Warringah were fantastic and turned pressure into points after dominating possession and territory.
But Uni weathered the storm and limited the damage.
Despite being completely outplayed in the first half, they went to the sheds down by just 16.
They were in with a sniff and they knew they had the depth and the fitness to outlast Warringah, who simply couldn’t play at 110% for the entire 80 minutes.
The high energy approach that worked wonders for the Rats in the first half cost them in the final 20 minutes.
As replacements entered the game, Uni took control and then pounced scoring three times in 10 minutes against a tiring Warringah defence.
Momentum had swung completely and unfortunately for the busloads of brilliant Warringah fans at Bankwest on Saturday, there wasn’t time for a third swing.
Sure, Uni had a handful of Super Rugby players that bolstered their squad at the back end of the season.
But Rob Taylor and his young, mostly non contracted players deserve credit where credit is due.
A number of them, still in their very early 20s, have risen to the occasion when it matters two years running now.
They are genuine stars who deserve to go on and play at higher honours and their coach, Kiwi born Taylor, is equally impressive.
They’ll likely take a lot of beating again in 2020.
As for Grand Final day, while there’s no doubting Bankwest is a tremendous facility, corporate suites and shiny dressing sheds are not what club rugby is all about.
Fantastic crowds, good banter, kids playing on the field at half time are.
The atmosphere and the event put on by the SRU at North Sydney Oval in recent years was exceptional, even if it was tough to get a beer.
If I was trying to sell our game to new or old fans, I know where I’d be playing next year’s decider.
Let’s just hope we get another game as good as Saturday’s.