Provided by Eddie Dadds, UofA IV Team Captian
Adelaide University came home with a wet sail, and had a shot after the final siren to win the game, but was ultimately beaten to a spot in the first Varsity Challenge Cup final by Melbourne University.
Melbourne began the day kicking with a two-goal breeze and skipped out to a handy lead at quarter-time. Adelaide was dominating the stoppages but some missed chances in front of goal were costly. Melbourne’s quick ball-movement and silky skills were proving difficult to combat, as it successfully turned defence into attack on several occasions.
The second stanza saw a much more polished Adelaide outfit, some strong tap work from Liam Duhne and clearances from Ben Adams leading the way. Ryder Thomas looked like a constant threat at full-forward, however, his failure to return to the field after a hamstring injury late in the second quarter was perhaps the turning point in the match. The score at halftime was an accurate reflection of the quality of the contest; dead level.
The third quarter was an arm wrestle. Again, Adelaide missed some chances in front of goal, which were punished by Melbourne down the other end of the ground. Nick Cottrell was thrown into defence to stem the flow; his ability to follow up when the ball was on the ground a highlight. However, kicking with the breeze, Melbourne was able to blow the game wide open with two quick goals in the last two minutes of the quarter.
Adelaide entered the final change trailing by three goals, but with the knowledge that the wind was firmly in its favour. An early goal by Harry Walters, followed by another by Elias Tsouvallas left Adelaide trailing by less than a goal and set the scene for the frantic final minutes of the game. Melbourne had a series of golden opportunities to put the match beyond reach, and had the ball locked in their forward 50 for long periods of time but were unable to convert in front of goal.
With the clock running down, a series of free kicks to Ben Watson and Toby Maughan down the outer wing of University Oval led to a brilliant, juggling mark by Harry Walters about 45 metres out from the Adelaide goal, on the tightest of angles. Before he was given the chance to centre the ball, the siren sounded.
Unfortunately for Adelaide, the kick proved too harsh a task, just squeezing in for a point and denying the Blacks the chance to advance to the national final. Melbourne University was undeniably the better team for long periods of the game and thoroughly deserved to win what was an absorbing contest.
Adelaide University 7.10 52 defeated by Melbourne University 8.8.56
Best Players: N Cottrell, T Maughan, S Penniment, B Adams, E Dadds, M Craig, H Walters.
Goal Kickers: N Cottrell 2. A Curyer, E Tsouvallas, H Walters, R Thomas, E Dadds 1.
Thanks to James Hanley (AU student) for capturing all the action. Click here to see the photos