Norths break 41-year Shute Shield drought

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Northern Suburbs have broken a 41-year premiership drought, clinching the Shute Shield grand final 28-15.

In a see-sawing second half, Norths found themselves trailing with 15 minutes to go, before a penalty and a scintillating Richard Woolf try put them in the box seat for the title.

The sides traded penalties in the opening stages, in a tight early tussle before Norths’ scrum pressure paid off in the 25th minute when the home side earned a penalty try.

Norths captain Will Miller was once again crucial for his side after a season in which he was crowned the best player in the Shute Shield.

Miller added to his decorated week, claiming the man of the series award after a superb finals campaign finished with a title in front of his home crowd.

Simon Cron and Will Miller hold up the Shute Shield. Photo: Karen Watson“I’ve got to pinch myself, can’t believe it,” he said after the match.

“It (the home crowd) definitely got us over the line.”

A 56th minute penalty goal gave Norths a handy 10-point buffer, but that didn't last long. 

Uni captain Tom Carter didn’t let the game slip away without a fight, scoring in the 58th minute, finishing off a deft attacking move from scrumhalf Jake Gordon.

Tolu Latu, who switched from loosehead to hooker in the match, put the students in front for the first time in the match with 15 minutes to go.

Angus Sinclair edged Norths in front with just over eight minutes to go, as the clock wound down in the nailbiting season conclusion.

Sinclair and brother, Hugh, combined to set up Woolf for the ultimate match winner, with the right winger streaking away and Angus Sinclair converting.

That assist from Hugh Sinclair capped a man-of-the-match performance for the number eight, in what was a dominant backrow performance for Norths.

A try in the final minute sealed the drought-breaker for Norths, with the side unable to attempt the conversion as their supporters flooded North Sydney Oval.

"This year’s been pretty special and what a way to finish it,” Hugh Sinclair said after the match.

Norths broke their Shute Shield drought on Saturday. Photo: Karen WatsonUni captain Tom Carter gave all the credit to his opponents post-match, after his final game for the students..

“It’s been [41] years since they won a premiership and they were brilliantly led by Will MIller they were too good.

“Some people might think it will be just rewards for me to finish a loser but the game’s given me so much and I’m really fortunate.”

The win gave Northern Suburbs their 13th win in a row and their first crown since 1975, in their first final appearance in 18 years.

Sydney Uni 15

(Tries: Carter, Latu Pens: Kagiassis  Cons: Kagiassis )

Norths 28

(Tries: Penalty, Woolf,  Pens: A Sinclair 2  Cons: A Sinclair 2