Melbourne University's Men's Football team are through to the Varsity Challenge Cup Grand Final after a thrilling win on the road at Adelaide University. It was the first win for Melbourne over Adelaide in recent times, with Adelaide having tasted victory on the previous two occasions.
The match started with the ground bathed in sunlight with a breeze clearly favouring the cathedral end, which Melbourne kicked to first. First quarter goals to Sam Allen, Matt Blair and Captain Connor Lappin, with Nick Cottrell the sole goal kicker for Adelaide, saw Melbourne go in to the first change with the lead.
Adelaide had the run of play in the second quarter with goals to Ryder Thomas and Harry Walters on the blast of the siren sent the game in all-square at half time, after a quarter in which Melbourne failed to register a goal.
With competition rules having 16 players on the field it meant the game really opened up in the second half, with Melbourne again able to capitalise on the favourable breeze. Good forward pressure by Melbourne was rewarded with Oscar Dowd able to kick the first of the second half before Eddie Dadds answered straight back for Adelaide with an opportunist snap. Melbourne’s forward persistence paid dividends with Dowd and Allen both able to kick their second goals for the match. Cottrell for Adelaide kept his team in it with a second major, before Nick Ziemkiewicz danced his way around several defenders to kick the goal of the match on the three quarter time siren.
The final quarter was pulsating with both teams having opportunities to swing the game in their favour. Adelaide came charging with goals through Aiden Curyer and Ellias Tsouvallas before Harry Walters had a tough chance after the siren to win the game with a shot on goal from the boundary 40 meters out. The shot faded to the right and Melbourne was able to head back to Victoria with the win by just 4 points.
Amazingly, Melbourne was unable to kick a goal to the Torrens River end all game, with only 3 of the 15 goals for the match registered in that direction. As the winner, Melbourne will take on the victor of the Northern conference semi-final between University of Queensland who travel to the University of Sydney. The Grand Final will be played early in Semester 2.
The Melbourne team after the game. Photo: AU Blacks.
Melbourne: 3.3, 3.4, 8.6, 8.8.56
Adelaide: 1.2, 3.4, 5.5, 7.10.52
Melb: 2 Dowd, Allen, 1 Blair, Lappin, Sack, Ziemkevwitz
Adel: 2 Cottrell, 1 Curyer, Dadds, Thomas, Tsouvallas, Walters