2019 Jack Scott Cup Grand Final: Meet the Teams – Sydney University
All photos by AJF Photography
Reigning champions Sydney University take on newcomers Randwick Magic in the Jack Scott Cup Final at Pittwater Rugby Park tomorrow, for the chance to claim back-to-back Premiership titles. They take us through their matchday 23…
1. TISERA MATAIA VOLKMAN: The Canterbury junior is one of our young guns who continues to grow in confidence. Earlier this year, Tisera debuted for the Super W Waratahs team who went on to win the title for the second consecutive year. She’s a scrum master and is always keen to get her hands on the ball. This cub is not to be messed with.
2. TASMIN SHEPPARD: Taz is the front row that shows up half the team with fitness and in the gym lifting weights. Fun fact: She has the leanest biceps in the squad! An extremely consistent trainer and a girl the team relies on. Whilst juggling a new job (which includes interstate and international travel), training, being named in the Wallaroos Squad for 2019, playing league and hanging with her beloved Lionesses, Taz is set to lead the pack from the hooker position on Saturday. Nothing ever stops her, not even a broken nose!
3. BRITTANY LE’AU’ANAE: The Samoan international continues to grow from strength to strength. As a seasoned front-rower who has a damaging running style, you wouldn’t want to get caught on the other side of her fend. The forward pack will be relying heavily on her for strong go-forward metres and set-piece this weekend.
4. SERA NAIQAMA: #serasituations aka the Queen of Carry On. If you hear her yelling “Can I get a yowza?”, be prepared to answer or feel her wrath. After fighting hard to come back from surgery late last season, ‘Biggy Sez’ has continued to grow in confidence this year. This second rower is vertically gifted, and has been known to stretch her legs on long winding runs up the midfield this season. After a successful debutant season in Super W, this lioness was named in the 2019 Wallaroos Squad, and continues to show what a strong and influential gal she is.
5. NOELLA GREEN: In her second year for the Lionesses, Nelly has teamed up with her fellow second-rowers, Sera and H, making them a dangerous and mobile pack. Known around the traps for her purple work boots, Nelly has had to fit rugby and her gym sessions around travelling around the country to ensure the safety of the tradies on her sites. Luckily her gains haven’t suffered, and Nelly is still good for a bone crunching tackle and is more than ready to get the physical work done.
6. EMILY CHANCELLOR: Wallaroo of the Year in 2018, this versatile backrower’s influence stretches far beyond her own game. Not only will this energiser bunny gleefully bounce around the field at full pace, she’ll cheerlead everyone else at the same time. Don’t let the smile and cheerful persona fool you, she’s not afraid of hard work. ‘Chancey’ puts in the training hours to make sure she can put in the work on the field, and still have enough spare breath to say ‘I’ve got you’ throughout the entire game – AND during the warm-up.
7. FI JONES: If you thought moving to Australia from the UK a few years ago was enough…you’re wrong. When moving to God’s country, and after successful years playing in the UK as a back, ‘Jonesy’ decided to move to the forward pack. But don’t let her pretty face fool you, ‘Jonesy’ has become a ‘Richie McCaw’ on the field, and is a pest at the breakdown. With two outstanding Super W seasons, ‘Jonesy’ was named in the Wallaroos squad in 2018 and 2019.
8. GRACE HAMILTON: Goodness Gracious…have you seen this number 8’s running metres? Captaining the Wallaroos in 2019, ‘Hammo’ leads by example! She is one of the strongest ball-carriers and support line runners, and boy does she love it if you run at her. Gracie knows how to lead the pride on and off the field, and has one of the biggest support crews off the field. You can always count on the Hamilton’s being there cheering on, whatever team Gracie is playing for!
9. ILISEVA BATIBASAGA: The true pound-for-pound champ! Ili’s skills, versatility and game knowledge, mean she could play anywhere on the field. We tend to play her at 9, where she can prey on unsuspecting defence but still get involved in the odd ruck. Ili’s physical strength is only surpassed by her strength of character. She will certainly lead the pride around the park……and with a mantra of ‘look good, feel good, play good’, she’s definitely worth keeping a close eye on.
10. ASHLEIGH HEWSON (c): My captain, oh captain! Despite her ‘heavy’ weight of 58kg, you can find this 10 either chop-tackling the opposition, or stealing balls at the breakdown – it’s like having David Pocock crossed with Beauden Barrett in the backline. ‘Not behd!’ ‘Hewy’ will undoubtedly lead from the front. We are still working at stopping her defending in the forwards’ channel but what can you do, she just loves ‘having a dig’. Bolstering her glittering footy career with a stint at commentary this year, Hewy’s knowledge of the game is second-to-none.
11. JEMIMA McCALMAN: The younger sister of SUFC backrower and 2nd Grade captain Jack McCalman. This McCalman is a finisher! You can either catch her scoring meat pies down the wing on the rugby field, or scoring goals on campus at St Andrew’s College, playing soccer. If you haven’t heard ‘JMac’ calling for the ball from the right wing, you’ve definitely heard her parents, especially her Dad, cheering us on – the McCalman’s never miss a game. Determined and focused, ‘JMac’ dabbles in both XV’s and 7’s, and is always keen to learn.
12. KIRRILY LAWS: Kirrily, aka ‘Little’, is one half of the Laws family dynamic duo. Fearless in attack and defence, she has an extensive representative rugby CV having played for NSW in both the 7’s and XV’s version of the game. Don’t be fooled by her size, this inside centre can slot anywhere in the backline and isn’t scared to put a hit on! She is a menace at the breakdown, and you can bank on her getting a few steals each game.
13. CLAUDIA BELL: Working her way from being a bench player in the final in 2018, to solidifying her position as the starting outside centre, Belly’s passion for rugby has sparkled throughout the year. She’s not only shown commitment to her personal playing, but also to aiding the growth of our Junior Uni Girls, by driving some of their training throughout the season.
14. MADDA WILSON: Madda has made a strong and speedy return from injury this season, and we are delighted to have her back in the starting team for Saturday. Deception and determination come to mind when we talk about Madda, so stay on your toes when she is around the ball.
15. TAMYKA LAWS: Kirrily’s younger and smaller sister aka ‘Tiny’, forms the second half of the Laws family dynamic duo. This slippery fullback has footwork like the famous Kiwi rugby league player, Shaun Johnson. Try to catch her if you can. Tiny by name and by size, but not in heart, attitude or ability. Watch out for this pocket rocket. She won’t be holding back on the weekend… try to stop her.
16. BRIDIE O’GORMAN: In her third season with the Lionesses, this former rower turned rugby player has cemented her spot in the front row. A promising player who loves to make big metres with the ball in hand, and doesn’t mind doing the hard work. Developing her talents as a hooker this season, watch out for some impressive throws from this chick when she comes on!
17. ADIANA TALAKAI: Adi, AKA ‘Junior’, is the younger sibling of Rebels and Waratahs brothers Sam and Chris Talakai. Despite her brother’s success, she’s been working hard to blast her own path. It was a long rehab road for Adi to get back on the field with Uni, but since then she has been hard to stop. She’s added to her versatility this season, and is primed to take the field at prop, hooker or in the backrow. Some may say front row genes are strong amongst the Talakai’s. Don’t argue!
18. GABI PIOLI: You can trust when Gabi takes the field in the second half, she’ll be roaring to put in the work. Gabi isn’t a woman of many words on the field, but you can be sure her relentless effort in defence will become a real nuisance for the opposition.
19. HARUKA TAKAHASHI: ‘H’ is a pillar of the Uni team. She’s been here since before the dinosaurs roamed, but no asteroid is gonna get her. Pound for pound, one of the strongest forwards you’ll ever encounter! ‘H’ is also a potent threat in the lineout. Quiet and unassuming, a florist by day but mini-Godzilla on the field.
20. ANNIE HACK: This speedy winger is one you don’t want to be caught flat-footed around. This lioness has a strong attacking game and has showcased her skillset throughout the season. The type of player that if you give her an inch, she will go the full mile!
21. BARBARA WADDELL: Barbs is the fitness equivalent of “It’s a lifestyle, not a diet”, and her weekly training regime never stops and rarely falters. Known for her love of cheese and confusing background (is she Aussie, French, Canadian or Fijian?), she is yet another player who dabbles in both 7’s and XV’s. Named Vice-captain in Sydney Uni’s inaugural year in the AON 7’s competition, Barbsy’s love and passion for the game always shines through, and her leadership and kind heart make her the Pied Piper of our young guns.
22. KIM DAVEY: This high school science teacher has more ‘fun’ facts stored in her head than on the entire World Wide Web. Did you know that wearing odd socks increases your chances of busting through the defence line? If you’re in doubt, get to Rat Park on Saturday – Ms Davey will be sure to prove you wrong. Outside of footy, you can typically find Kimmy at Clovelly Beach doing eskimo swims throughout the winter. Apparently, cold water is good for recovery – FACT!
23. ISABELLA PARKMAN: One of a few players on the team who is just as comfortable on the rugby league field as she is on the Union pitch. Issy has shrugged off her shoulder injuries and continues to play with no-holds barred. A lethal weapon on the bench, she has footwork, speed, and is never afraid of contact. We can’t wait until this lioness is unleashed from the sideline.
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY: 1. Tisera Mataia Volkman; 2. Tasmin Sheppard; 3. Brittany Le’Au’Anae; 4. Sera Naiqama; 5. Noella Green; 6. Emily Chancellor; 7. Fi Jones; 8. Grace Hamilton; 9. Iliseva Batibasaga; 10. Ash Hewson (c); 11. Jemima McCalman; 12. Kirrily Laws; 13. Claudia Bell; 14. Madda Wilson; 15. Tamyka Laws – Replacements: 16. Bridie O’Gorman; 17. Adiana Talakai; 18. Gabi Pioli; 19. Haruka Takahashi; 20. Annie Hack: 21. Barbera Waddell; 22. Kim Davey; 23. Isabella Parkman
CHECK OUT THEIR OPPONENTS RANDWICK MAGIC HERE