Week 4 saw UTS matched up against the winless Nepean Ducks. In their first season of competition in Gridiron NSW, the Ducks have struggled to find their identity but despite lacking experienced talent at key positions on both sides of […]
The UTS Gators knew that this week’s matchup against the undefeated West Sydney Pirates would prove to be a monster challenge and one that could solidify their place at the top of the ladder. “We win tonight and every team […]
Heavy rains continued all week leading up to the Gators’ round 2 matchup against the 0-1 Newcastle Cobras but that did not dampen the Gators’ intensity as they stormed to a 62 – 6 victory amid the mud and muck […]
On what started out as a rainy Saturday morning, the sun and the Gators shone bright at Caringbah this week in the opening match of the 2014 campaign against the Wollongong Mustangs. Winning 52 – 16, UTS have proven themselves […]
With the 2014 GNSW season looming, the UTS Division 1 Mens Team has been hard at work putting a full preseason together in preperation to improve on their 8-4 record from last year. Boasting a roster filled with seasoned veterans […]
Week 4 saw UTS matched up against the winless Nepean Ducks. In their first season of competition in Gridiron NSW, the Ducks have struggled to find their identity but despite lacking experienced talent at key positions on both sides of the ball, they have shown that they can play with heart and speed, so the Gators did not take this game lightly. After a sluggish start on offense, the Gators found themselves trailing 0-8 early but quickly snapped back and dominated the Ducks, cruising to a 50-8 victory.
Difficulties getting out of the gate led to an early interception thrown by veteran quarterback Peter Tos, which was returned by the Ducks 44 yards for a touchdown. A successful 2-point conversion put UTS behind 0-8 early in the 1st quarter. Coach Bosco wasted no time in lighting a fire under his players and they responded impressively. The Gator offense put together solid drives, scoring touchdowns on each of their next three possessions and the UTS defense completely shut down the Ducks, not allowing a single first-down the entire first half.
Scoring drives of 48, 36 and 70 yards with Tos rushing 2 yards for a touchdown and passing for two more TDs to slot backs Matthew Schwarz (3 yards) and Clayton Idato (14 yards) along with two 2-point conversion runs by running back Marco Soriano, put the Gators ahead at half-time, 22-8 and in complete control of the game.
The Gator defense continued to confound the Duck offense in the second half, allowing only one first-down the entire game when a Nepean running back snuck outside and broke free for a 31 yard gain as time ran out in the 3rd quarter. The defense didn’t give up a single yard after that, meeting the Ducks ball-carriers in the backfield from there on out. Heading into this week, Defensive Coordinator, Antonio Piscioneri is pleased with how the defense is gelling together this year, “I’m definitely happy with our unity. Our defense looks out for each other and plays on the same page, so to speak. We don’t have players that just do their own thing, we all work together.”
Not to be outdone by his counterpart, UTS quarterback Brad Leech started the second half with a highlight-reel, 61 yard bomb to Thomas Granger for a touchdown on a free play after the Nepean defensive line jumped off-sides. Leech continued the lead the Gators to pay-dirt after corner back Jamie Weeks recovered a fumbled punt return on the Ducks 8 yard line. UTS capitalized on the great field position, sending newly returned running back, Freddy Prince, into the endzone on the very next play.
UTS engineered impressive scoring drives to close out the game, first with a 9 play, 65 yard drive capped off by a 14 yard pass into the endzone from Leech to Schwarz and then a 10 play, 69 yard drive with a 16 yard touchdown pass from Leech to Idato in the game’s dying seconds, for each receiver’s second touchdown of the game.
Come down and cheer on the Gators next Saturday night as they take on the Northern Sydney Rebels at 7:00pm in Kyeemagh (St. George).
Statistical Leaders (Game)
|Freddy Prince||13||34||1 (8)||1|
|Peter Tos||5||22||1 (2)|
|Clayton Idato||4||86||2 (14, 16)|
|Matthew Schwarz||7||68||2 (3, 14)|
|Thomas Granger||1||61||1 (61)|
|Player||Tackles (For Loss)||Other|
|Marcos Delana||9 (2)||1 Forced Fumble|
|Gabriel Marambio||8 (2)|
|Tim Clulow||5 (2)||Sack, Fumble Recovery|
|Ryan King||4 (2)||3 Sacks|
|Matthew Power||3 (1)|
|Jamie Weeks||1||Fumble Recovery|
The UTS Gators knew that this week’s matchup against the undefeated West Sydney Pirates would prove to be a monster challenge and one that could solidify their place at the top of the ladder. “We win tonight and every team will be chasing us the rest of the season.” – Coach Rocco Bosco broke down the importance of the game to his players prior to kickoff.
The Pirates, coming off of their historic Round 2 victory over the Sydney University Lions, ending an 8 year, 99 game win-streak, looked to continue their own streak as the league leaders. The Pirates, however, ran into a stone wall as The Gators showed they are the cream of the crop, defeating West Sydney 13-6 in a game that lived up to expectations as a physical, high-intensity, close-fought contest.
West Sydney took the ball on their own 22 yard line following the opening kickoff from UTS and put together an impressive 11 play, 56 yard drive deep into UTS territory but were eventually stopped by the Gators tenacious defense on a 4th and 9 conversion attempt at the Gators 25 yard line.
Very few yards were gained by either team as the game became a very tough defensive struggle until West Sydney broke a screen pass open late in the first quarter for a 54 yard touchdown despite a fantastic effort by Andre Perko-Marshall, chasing the runner from the opposite sideline and bringing him down one yard into the endzone. The ensuing point-after kick was blocked by UTS defensive end Hugh Delaney and recovered by linebacker Andrew Asher, leaving the score 0-6.
Both defenses continued to hold tough and force four-and-outs. Midway through the second quarter, it was UTS’ turn to break a big play as quarterback Brad Leech found wide receiver Thomas Granger down the sideline for an 85 yard touchdown bomb, leveling the score at 6-6.
Nearing half-time, Leech and Granger teamed up again, this time to pin the Pirates deep in their own territory as Leech’s quick kick on 4th down was downed by Granger on the West Sydney 2 yard line. West Sydney, despite the very poor field position began marching the ball out with several first downs until a sack by defensive end Tim Clulow stalled the drive and sent both teams into half-time locked at 6-6.
On the Pirates’ first play from scrimmage in the second half, West Sydney’s running back suffered a devastating ankle injury and the resulting 1 hour and 45 minute ambulance delay left both teams struggling to stay warm and focused. Once play resumed, the game retained its hard-nosed feel with both defenses keeping the opposing offenses to very few positive yards.
Most of the second half was played in the West Sydney end of the field but UTS was unable to capitalize offensively on the good field position. With about 3 minutes remaining, UTS once again pinned West Sydney deep in their own territory after downing a punt on the Pirates 14 yard line. West Sydney called a pass play and UTS linebacker, Marcos Delana put a brutal hit on the Pirates quarterback, David Ward, in the back-field, jarring the football loose for a sack. Rookie defensive tackle, Ryan King pounced on the ball in the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown. Following Jamie Weeks’ successful point-after kick, UTS led West Sydney 13-6 nearing the 2-minute warning.
West Sydney’s next possession saw them move down the field with a long pass completion followed by a 14 yard touchdown run that was called back for a face-masking penalty. This put West Sydney at 1st and 25 on the UTS 29 yard line. A sack for a loss of 4 yards by defensive end Tim Clulow and stifling tackling by the rest of the UTS front seven forced the Pirates to turn the ball over on downs and give the ball back to our offense on the 26 yard line.
UTS moved the ball to midfield on the back of Marco Soriano before punting to the Pirates with less than a minute remaining. West Sydney took to the air in a last-ditch effort to tie the game. After 2 completions for first downs, time ran out leaving UTS to celebrate their victory and stamp their claim to the top spot in the league standings along with the Sutherland Seahawks and Northwestern Predators as the only other undefeated teams.
Statistical Leaders (Game)
|Brad Leech||8/28||108||1 (85)|
|Thomas Granger||2||87||1 (85)|
|Player||Tackles (For Loss)||Other|
|Marcos Delana||10 (3)||1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble|
|Jamie McGrory||8 (1)|
|Andrew Asher||8 (1)||1 Sack, 1 Fumble Recovery|
|Tim Clulow||7 (2)||3 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovery|
|Gabriel Marambio||7 (1)|
|Ryan King||3 (1)||2 Fumbles Recovered, 1 for TD|
Heavy rains continued all week leading up to the Gators’ round 2 matchup against the 0-1 Newcastle Cobras but that did not dampen the Gators’ intensity as they stormed to a 62 – 6 victory amid the mud and muck of Forestville Oval.
Following the opening Newcastle kickoff that went out of bounds, UTS began their first drive near midfield. QB Brad Leech immediately took to the air with completions to Wide Receiver Nicolas Giovanangeli for 9 yards and Slotback Jim Close for 25 yards. Dodging a bullet, UTS kept possession of the ball after an apparent fumble by Close that was recovered by Newcastle but was ruled down by the officials. UTS then kept the ball on the ground with good runs by Running Back Aleks Todorovic including an 11 yard blast for a key 3rd down conversion and a 10 yard touchdown run by Leech to complete the opening drive.
The muddy field proved to be a major factor for the rest of the first quarter with neither team able to gain much ground on offense. Ironically, a fumbled punt return by UTS which put Newcastle in great scoring position at the UTS 10 yard line was just the spark we needed to gain traction and set the tone for the rest of the game. The Gator defense stuffed Newcastle’s run game and got the ball back for the offense following a fumble forced by Linebacker Jamie McGrory and recovered by Safety Erhron Noakes.
The offense began making sustained drives and punched in three more touchdowns before half. Newcastle briefly showed some life by scoring on a 75 yard trick pass play as the first half came to a close with the score 26 – 6.
The second half proved to be more of the same high intensity football by the UTS Gators with the defense pushing Newcastle back and pressuring their quarterback into an intentional grounding penalty inside their own endzone which resulted in a safety and 2 points for UTS. The offense followed suit and on the very next play from scrimmage, Justin Fatu-Leota took a Wide Receiver reverse 44 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. Newcastle almost had Fatu-Leota stopped near the 10 yard line but great downfield blocking by Offensive Linemen, Tim Clulow, Ryan King, Will Newnham and Slotback Jim Close popped open just enough of a hole to secure the score.
With the rain beginning to pour down, Coach Bosco made the decision to bring in wiley veteran QB, Peter Tos, who led the Gators down the field with a 38 yard pass completion to WR Lachlan Jenson and several solid runs by RB Tommy Benson which included a 3 yard touchdown for 6 more points.
The Gator defense continued to stifle the Cobra’s attack and prevent them from establishing any kind of momentum. Thomas Granger’s 46 and 52 yard punt returns gave the Gators great field position and led to 2 more scores, both by Tos; a 10 yard touchdown run followed by the 2 point conversion where Tos leveled Newcastle’s middle linebacker, C.J. Bondin, and a 29 yard touchdown pass to Lachlan Jenson.
With less than 2 minutes remaining and a scoreline of 56 – 6, nobody could have criticized the defense for easing up but they didn’t. Late sacks by linebacker Andrew Asher, an interception by cornerback Stephen Marshall and great pressure by the defensive line helped DE Tim Clulow put the final nail in the coffin, ending the game with a fumble recovery returned 56 yards for the game’s final touchdown.
Statistical Leaders (Game)
|Brad Leech||7/13||99||2 (2-pt conv)|
|Tommy Benson||7||66||2 (38, 3)|
|Justin Fatu-Leota||2||39||1 (44)|
|Peter Tos||5||19||1 (10)|
|Brad Leech||7||18||2 (10, 1)|
|Lachlan Jenson||2||67||1 (29)|
|Jim Close||2||27||1 (2-pt conv)|
|Matthew Schwarz||1||2||1 (2-pt conv)|
|Player||Tackles (For Loss)||Other|
|Jamie McGrory||5 (3)||1 Forced Fumble|
|Andrew Asher||6 (5)||3 Sacks|
|Marcos Delana||4 (2)|
|Tristan Sugden||4 (1)||1 Forced Fumble|
|Erhron Noakes||2 (1)||1 Fumble Recovery|
|Tim Clulow||1 (1)||Fumble returned 56yards for TD|
On what started out as a rainy Saturday morning, the sun and the Gators shone bright at Caringbah this week in the opening match of the 2014 campaign against the Wollongong Mustangs. Winning 52 – 16, UTS have proven themselves to be a team to watch this year and putting themselves into 2nd place on the ladder behind rivals Sydney Uni.
Before the game commenced, Coach Rocco Bosco announced his captains for the season with Defensive/Offensive Lineman Tim Clulow and Linebacker Andrew Asher given the full time responsibilities. Coach Bosco also deciding that the other two captain spots were to be given to different players throughout the season for milestones or as reward for performance on and off the field. This week the honours went to Slot Receiver Jim Close for his 100% training attendance during preseason and Linebacker Marcos Delana for his impressive efforts at training. The game opened with the Gators kicking off and put on a solid opening defensive series holding the Mustangs to a 4 and out and giving the offence great field position to work on. This position on the field resulted in a touchdown on the opening series led by new quarterback Brad Leech. With big shoes to fill after the departure of Jean Prill, both Brad and Peter Tos stepped up and combined with their receivers for some big gains, with both taking the run game into their own hands when necessary resulting in crucial yards.
Up 16 – 6 at the half, Coach Bosco encouraged his team to not let up and to keep scoring points. The ensuing kick return answered the challenge with Justin Fatu-Leota running through a huge hole created by fantastic blocks in the middle of the field, he raced through untouched to score his first after having similar impact in games for the Colts team back in 2013. The receivers and backs also kept the points flowing with touchdowns from Matt Schwarz, Brad Leech, Lachlan Jenson and Ben Loudon, another former Colts player scoring his first in Division 1. Also putting up points was Gabriel Marambio taking an impressive intercept from beyond halfway to the house.
The unsung heroes of the huge scoreline from the offense was the offensive line. Allowing no sacks through the whole game on either quarterback (almost spoiled by the banana peel on the field that found the boot of Peter Tos in the 4th quarter) and putting some dominant blocks on Wollongong’s defense in the run game, they have made steps forward from last year and could potentially be the difference this season when it comes to the big games.
The defensive performance of the Gators resulted in passing attempts finding the hands of the UTS secondary more often than their intended targets, even defensive tackle Matt Wilson snatching a pick after he managed to position himself between the running back and quarterback on an attempted shovel pass. The highlight of the day however, belonged to Erhron Noakes who bagged himself 4 intercepts which became the new club record for intercepts in a game by a single player. In what will be in contention for one of the defensive performances of the year, the safety shrugged off the accolades onto his teammates “I don’t know if it was my best game, but I wasn’t the only one out there getting the ball and doing the hard work. It’s easy to make those plays when you have such a strong front 7 putting pressure on the pocket every play. I think we’re in for a great year”. When asked if he was planning on breaking the intercept record for the season (which currently stands at 11) “I don’t specifically plan on breaking but it would be nice. I’m just going to keep doing my best to create turnovers.”
A good all round performance from the Gators gives the team a much needed victory on opening day; however Coach Bosco made it clear to the team after the game that they need to keep building. “Winning is great at highlighting our best, but it is also great at covering the cracks.”
Get down and support the Gators next Saturday as they take on the Newcastle Cobras at 1 o’clock in Forrestville.
With the 2014 GNSW season looming, the UTS Division 1 Mens Team has been hard at work putting a full preseason together in preperation to improve on their 8-4 record from last year. Boasting a roster filled with seasoned veterans and athletic rookies, the team looks to take out it’s first Waratah Bowl this year after coming agonisingly close in recent years.
Returning Head Coach Rocco Bosco has held the top job of the UTS team for the last few seasons and has spoken of the teams work in building on foundations laid out in previous seasons “Our strengths are threefold: 1. The systems we have in place are continuing to improve and embed themselves in the fabric of the team. This will allow us to compete with every team. 2. Our veteran leadership is primed after a solid preseason. 3. We have a very good crop of rookies who will make an immediate impact”. When asked of the impact on the team with the loss of Jean Prill, Coach Bosco had this to say “The loss of Jean has been monumental, not just that he was the starting QB, but the universal respect he had from his peers and coaches and the way he lead from the front. It has forced several changes, with greater emphasis placed on the rest of the offence to get it right. In the past we could have been accused of relying on Jean too much, now we can’t and have worked harder on the individual offensive positions to improve, to ensure a successful transition for our new QB. So it’s not a case of replacing a Team MVP, but driving the player group to each want to make their mark.”
Coach Antonio Piscioneri also returns to his familiar role at Defensive Coordinator, he has highlighted the different levels of experience as a strength of the defence “I think we have a good mix of experience and youth. This year our experienced players are healthy and should get through the season. Our younger players are picking up the playbook and settling into the team well. So if we can stay healthy and maintain our focus we should have a great defence.” He also mentioned that the key to winning will start with their preperation “We need to understand what our opponent is trying to do, match them and definitley not miss tackles!”
Taking a quick look at each positional group for the Gators:
Quarterbacks: After enjoying the play of Jean Prill at the helm over the last few seasons, his departure from the team last year leaves it open to contention from rookies and veterans alike.
Running Backs: UTS has always had fantastic speed behind the offensive line, this year is no exception.
Receivers: A lot of solid veterans pick up the gloves again this year and show a lot of promise to improve the air attack. They are supported by a hungry group of rookies.
Offensive Line: After a few years of struggling to maintain consistency on the line, the engine room of the team looks at it’s best this year with a mix of experience and youth giving the group a very good outlook to pave the way in 2014.
Defensive Line: They have found a good balance of strength and speed this preseason with some new additions to the group. Probably the most hotly contested spot on the team with great depth through to even 3rd string.
Linebackers: Another group with returning players being selected to national and state teams over the offseason. The linebacking corps looks to improve again on a good 2013 season.
Defensive Backs: The group with the most fresh faces will be looking forward to a great season behind the front 7. Expect to see returning veterans and rookies battling for the spots right through the season.
With the influx of new players this preseason in every position, rookie Dexter Escuardo has given some insight into what it’s like for a first year player at the Gators “I’ve found the transition to gridiron quite overwhelming, being the first contact sport I’ve played. It’s easy to underestimate the position I’ve been playing (Offensive Line), I’d assumed that I would need to be bulky and huge but I’ve found that other attributes contribute to the position as much as size.” After attending every training session and helping the club when needed, it was no surprise what Dexter’s goal for the season was, “Ideally my main goal to this season is contribution. I just want to contribute wherever I can, whether it be fundraisers, training or games. I have come to admire the club and look forward to continuing my football career here.”
Returning veteran and NSW Wolfpack player Andrew Asher has praised the efforts of the rookies and how difficult it will be for players to keep a starting position from them “They’re forcing us to work harder than previous seasons but most of all they’re creating good depth for us at key positions.” When asked about the game he was most looking forward to it was a pretty simple answer “Lions, it’s always a tough game but I’m also keen to suit up against the Ducks, it’ll be the first time I’ve played against my old club.”
The Gators will open the season at 5Sports against the Wollongong Mustangs on the 23rd of August at 1pm in what should be a good test for the team after arguably one of their best wins of the season last year down at Wollongong.
Get down and support your UTS Gators in their run to the 2014 Waratah Bowl!