In 1992, the great Tim Driscoll and Rocket Rod Carter lifted the Mens Premier Division Premiership trophy for The Students, the last time Sydney Uni managed to take that trophy home. Flash forward 28 years to the 2020 AFL Sydney Mens Premier Division Grand Final which took place at Kanebridge Oval on Saturday 10th October- a day that will now go down in history as one of the greatest days for SUANFC as Captain Allister Clarke and Coach Tom Morrison got to lift the coveted Mens Premier Division Premiership Trophy once again for Sydney Uni!
The atmosphere out at Kanebridge Oval was electric as the Students arrived ready to take on UNSW-ES in the Mens Premier Division Grand Final. After three years of narrowly missing out on the Premiership, The Students were ready to get onto that field and give it their absolute all, play their very best football and bring that cup back home.
The first quarter got underway with both teams looking extremely strong. UNSW-ES got the first score up on the board, with a behind and then also managed to get the first goal of the game. With a quick second goal from UNSW-ES, they led 2.1-7 to Uni’s 0.0-0 in the first 5mins of the game. But the Students quickly fought back with two great goals from Tim Cordner and young gun Nicholas Lees, ending the first quarter only two points behind UNSW-ES.
The second quarter saw Sydney Uni come alive kicking four goals and two behinds to take a strong lead over UNSW-ES. Nick Foster provided a highlight in the second quarter, kicking a goal two and half minutes in putting The Students in the lead. Aaron Day also kicked his first goal of the game early in the second quarter putting Sydney Uni into a two goal lead and would then go on to kick two more goals before the quarters end. All players put in their very best game of footy for every second of the 27.38min second quarter to put the students into a three-goal lead heading into second half.
Sydney Uni kicked off the second half with the first goal by William Sierakowski taking the game to a 23 point margin in their favour. The rest of the 3rd quarter however was not going the way of The Students, with UNSW-ES fighting back and Sydney Uni unable to stop them from three goals and five behinds to close the lead to only one point going into three quarter time.
Going into the last quarter, there was only one point in it. The Students had come out strong in the first half, only for UNSW-ES to fight back in the third quarter- this game was exactly what everyone had expected it to be, a nail-biter. Jack Hiscox was the first to put a goal up on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, one that would end up being the only goal for that quarter for both teams. The Students defence in the final quarter was unstoppable with Tim Barton, later named Best on Ground for the match, being an absolute stand out in the defence. After a shorter final quarter with only one goal, the siren sounded at 24.34mins marking the end of the what had been an exhilarating Grand Final match and a Mens Premier Division Grand Final win for The Students!
For so many of the team who had come so close only to see the cup slip out of their fingers in the previous three grand finals, the moment was one of absolute joy and relief! Sydney Uni had done it- after 28 years the Mens Premier Division Premiership Cup was coming back home!
While there were only 22 in the team, the success of this year for the Mens Premier Division team comes down to the much larger number of people involved. The extended team of players, the coaching staff led by Head Coach Tom Morrison, the volunteers who worked tirelessly each game day and behind the scenes, and the always amazing medical support staff from Sports Lab who ensured our players could run onto the field each week in top notch condition.
What a year for The Students- the 2020 Mens Premier Division Grand Final day will go down as one of the greatest days for SUANFC, one that will never be forgotten!