Marlins facing Super Uni side

By Adam Lucius

 

Seven consecutive wins, rep players as far as the eye can see, home ground advantage, six straight premierships - they are just four reasons Sydney University will start Saturday's match against Manly as the warmest of favourites.

But the Marlins aren't about to lie down for the Shute Shield aristocrats in a match that will decide second spot and a week off in the first week of the finals.

It will also be the day the club championship is decided along with a host of lower grade and Colts semi-final positions.

After stringing together a winning run of their own - five straight - with a side knocked around by injury and rep call-ups, Manly have hit form at the right time of the year.

And in a huge boost ahead of the trip to Uni Oval, the visitors get Melbourne Rebels forwards Eddie Aholelei and Cadeyrn Neville back along with Brumbies centres Andrew Smith and Robbie Coleman.

And they meet a Students side missing a plethora of Wallabies and Australian Barbarians.

Still, the task is enormous.     

Uni will still field a team containing Dean Mumm, Phil Waugh, Daniel Halangahu, Jeremy Tilse and Tom Carter.

"We've had this one circled for a while and we'll need to go in all guns blazing," breakaway Michael Hooper said.

"If you beat Sydney Uni before going into the finals then it obviously gives you an awesome lift.

"We're playing some of our best football of the year.

"We're looking good and really looking forward to Saturday."

Manly beat Uni 25-19 back in round 10 in arguably the game of the season.

The TMO was called into action after the fulltime bell and asked to adjudicate on a possible Uni try next to the sticks.

The verdict went the Marlins' way and the mob on the hill erupted.

Manly coach Tim Lane claims he hasn't dwelled on that result or become fixated with Uni's progress since.    

"I am not too worried about what they have done to other sides," he said matter-of-factly.

"As long as we go over there and have a dig I will be happy.

"To get that extra week off and get a bit more breathing space would be great."

Captain Chris Cottee added: "It's a massive game. We want to win to try and keep second and to keep the winning momentum going."

"If we stay with our structures then that will go along towards winning."

We'd give you Uni coach Todd Louden's thoughts on the game but he's obviously been too busy or too plain important to bother responding.

Despite trying to get him via phone, text or email since Monday, Louden hasn't bothered replying.

Maybe he'll have a bit to talk about come 5pm Saturday.