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Lions fall in final game of regular season

by Grant Sciberras | August 13, 2017
Lions fall in final game of regular season

The final game of the regular season was symbolic of the many trends the Lions faced throughout the year. With injuries plaguing the team before and during the game, errors and some questionable penalties the boys saw very little ball for large portions of the game against the bigger, more experienced Polecats side.

The Lions opened the first half with a great deal of control, which kept the score deadlocked for the first 15 minutes. In recent weeks the boys have done a much better job of keeping their line together and with an emphasis on getting numbers in the tackle, controlling the ruck. Aristoteli Taktikos and Adam Vrahnos were key in slowing the Polecats to only be up 12-0 at half time, despite a mountain of possession against the Lions.

However, with Sydney University alumni Kurt Lewis, 'Tractor' Ferguson and Phillipino International Odyssey Laderas all out, the lack of depth in the middle wore heavily on the boys in the second half. The lack of ball and inexperience on the bench meant fatigue and size weighed on the Lions as the Polecats top players became too hard to handle in critical moments. The halves pairing of Dave Turner and Elite Athlete scholar Jake Vrahnos, alongside SU alumni Kazuki Fukushige and Murray Spear each stepped up to handle the bigger men of the Polecats. Ultimately this left the key controllers of the ball with less energy and opportunity to build momentum and turn around the less mobile Polecats pack. With more ball and better field position the Lions have proven hard to handle with short passes in the middle and weapons on the edge with the damaging James Vanisi in centre and Elite Athlete scholar Marcus Pappas running over players. The Lion's halves will need to remember to get the ball to these strike players early going into the finals to take advantage of the strengths they pose out wide and to take pressure off the currently shallow depth present in the forward pack.

The players voted 'Teli' Taktikos as Man of the Match this week. Teli has been an important part of leading the forwards in controlling the ruck, especially in recent weeks. Teli stepped up on several occasions against an intimidating pack, lifting the players around him.

Coach Srama was disappointed by the continued trend of errors and piggy-back penalties heading into the finals. The Lions will face either the Cumberland Beavers or the Polecats again next Saturday, 19th of August, pending on results this weekend. Venue and time is also is still to be determined pending results, but the Lions may see a home final on Oval 2 at 7pm if results end in our favour!

Scoreboard

NSW Tertiary Cup competition – Round 14

Sydney University 6 (Try: Ashley Johnson. Goal: Max Linden-Smith) defeated by Norwest Polecats 36.

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