Uni Dominates Grand Final Day

2014 22 Grand Final Uni 1stsThe University Mallee Bulls capped off what was the club's greatest day in its history, with an engrossing hard fought 20 points to 11 Grand Final victory over the Camden Rams at WIN Stadium on Saturday. With the Bulls Colts and Second Grade sides taking out their respective titles earlier in the day, their top side executed coach Shaun McCreedy’s game plan to perfection to deny the Rams back to back championships.

In a grueling hard fought First Grade Builders Club Premiership Grand Final, the Bulls prevailed over a courageous Rams side that fought to the end in pursuit of their second title in as many years. On the back of an outstanding defensive effort, the Bulls played with great composure throughout the match, after conceding an early eight point lead to the Rams.

 Bulls skipper Leon Mason had a brilliant game for the new premiers, showing all his experience to help keep his side in control for most of the match. With the Rams taking the early lead it was Mason’s kicking game that twice put his side in a position to strike back and take a 12 - 8 halftime lead. Then with seconds remaining in the game it was Mason who put the match to bed for the Bulls with a precision field goal to bring up the final score.

The Rams started the match with gusto and were soon camped in the Bulls territory keeping the students under pressure until the first try came after six minutes. Giant lock Tim Windle took advantage of a favorable bounce after a Ben Leaupepe kick to score the opening try. 2014 23 Grand Final Leon Mason John Carr

With both sides probing away for a weakness in their opponent’s defense, the match covered almost the entire field as play moved at a frenetic pace. Camden lost center Lee Russell with a nasty head gash at the fourteen minute mark, with him leaving the field for some treatment in the Blood Bin for twelve minutes before returning heavily bandaged. In Russell’s absence Ben Greentree added a penalty goal for the Rams to lead 8 – 0 after twenty minutes.

With Mason's kicking game coming to the fore, the Bulls scored two tries in the space of four minutes as Mason continually turned the Rams around with probing kicks into the Camden quarter. The first try came when Rapine Mason finished off a standard backline raid with a pacey charge at the Rams line to score wide out. He missed with the conversion attempt but it wasn’t long before the Bulls were in again.

Another kick from Leon Mason took play into the Rams quarter where they tried a quick line out. Uni flanker, Wayne Ngatai, pilfered the ball and found lock Andrew Lindsay in support who set up Tyler Aitkin for a run to the line to score. Rapine Mason made the conversion this time for Uni to go to a 12 – 8 lead which they held through to half time.

With inspirational captain Gavin Holder and experienced fly half Ben Greentree leading the way, the Rams threw everything at the Bulls defensive line throughout the second half with the match continuing to captivate the big crowd. Lee Russell added a penalty goal to bring the Rams within one point at the forty ninth minute to set up a suspenseful last thirty minutes. The Bulls withstood the pressure forcing the Camden attack into error as several attacking raids broke down through loose handling.

The Bulls front row of Andy Papworth, Hemana Wickliffe and Karl Smith were colossal as they have been all year, laying the foundation for the Uni effort. With back rowers Andy Lindsay, Wayne Ngatai and Jason Hughes also making strong contributions, it wasn’t until the final minutes of the game that the Bulls were able to add points when replacement fullback Donovan Nepia crossed in the left corner. Rapine Mason took on the Rams outside backs drawing several defenders in a strong fifteen meter run to create space for Nepia to carry a couple of Rams over the line to score. With the conversion missed the six point margin meant the match was still in the balance at 17 – 11.

The Bulls went back on the attack as the final couple of minutes ticked down with the Rams out on their feet after their recent heavy workload. With seconds left in the match Bulls captain Leon Mason stood up and slotted a copybook field goal to seal the Bulls Premiership win, marking the start of jubilant celebrations for the Uni boys and their supporters.

The Rams can be proud of their effort in the decider after what has been an enormous last eight weeks of the year with their title defense under extreme pressure with four rounds of the season to go. With all their troops finally back on the field, the Rams started a 6 game winning streak including two wins over the Minor Premiers Avondale to reach the Grand Final. The weeks rest for the Bulls earned by Uni’s win in the Major Semi proved to be a significant factor in the game. The Bulls composure being confident that their stamina would win out in the end was crucial in the outcome as fatigue set in for the Rams toward the end of the match.

Along with Holder and Greentree, Camden was well served by hooker Dave Gleeson, Lock Tim Windle and Flanker Aaron Loxley. Lee Russell was brave playing on with a head gash which had him heading straight for the hospital after the match for treatment. His center partner Junior Mapesone was again a constant threat to the Uni defense with Fullback Mark June also prominent in both attack and defense.

Bulls lock Andrew Lindsay was awarded the Geoff Shaw Medal for Player of the Grand Final, after playing a key role in one of Uni’s tries and working tirelessly all match. Diminutive Captain Leon Mason brought all his experience and guile to the match leading the side in a masterful display. His little brother Rapine and center partner Jade Gardiner stood tall for the winners with fullback come halfback Chris Miller showing his undoubted class once again.

 Grand Final day 2014 will go down as Mallee Bull Day with the Uni boys celebrating titles in First Grade, Second Grade and Colts after Tech Waratahs clinched the First Division title in the first match of the Day.

University 20 (Tyler Aitkin 1 try, Donovan Nepia 1 try, Rapine Mason 1 try, 1 goal, Leon Mason 1 field goa)

Camden 11 (Tim Windle 1 try, Ben Greentree 1 penalty goal, Lee Russell 1 penalty goal)

Geoff Shaw Medal – Andrew Lindsay (University)

Second Grade –

University 17 (Mitch Bell 1 try, Ben Crowely 1 try, Charlie Curry 1 try, 1 goal)

Avondale 14 (Paula Tausala 1 try, Dean Morgan 1 try, Adam Barnes 2 goals)

Player of the Grand Final – Charlie Curry (University)

Colts/U20’s –

University 15 (Ben Cheetham 1 try, Colin Hammond-Tighe 1 try, 1 penalty goal, Harry Ottley 1 goal)

Shamrocks 11 (Tame Grover 1 try, Ryan Sorrell 2 penalty goals)

Player of the Grand Final – Ben Cheetham (University)

First Division

Tech Waratahs 33 (Bradley Sharman 2 tries, Jonah Katiele 1 try, Steve Nisa 1 try, Lee Martin 1 try, 3 goals, Robert Potts 1 goal)

Avondale 10 (New Year Patiole 1 try, Siosifa Tukuafu 1 goal, 1 penalty goal)

Player of the Grand Final – Bradley Sharman (Tech Waratahs)




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