For the first time in three years, sporting competitions across Sydney completed their full seasons. With 2020 running shortened formats after a late start and 2021 seasons being abandoned midway through, there was a feeling of fresh starts in the air this year as full schedules were laid out in front of teams and complete seasons could be planned. It was not all smooth sailing - La Niña played havoc with grounds closures and rain-soaked matches, but it was the closest thing to normality that sport has seen in quite a while.
Throughout this season, the determination to take full advantage of the non-Covid affected competitions has been evident across the UNSW sporting clubs. And as winter seasons reached their conclusion on the weekend, there was plenty to celebrate.
UNSW Hockey Club
The last time the UNSW Hockey Club won the Men's Premier League 1 division, Bob Hawke was Prime Minister of Australia, A-ha's Take On Me was dominating the charts and player of the 2022 grand final Dylan Martin was still 13 years away from being born.
In an incredible drought-breaking win, UNSW defeated Ryde 2-1 to take the premiership trophy for the first time since 1985. Australian Kookaburras representative and UNSW Construction Management & Property student Martin was sensational, taking out the player of the match award. Tom Dolby and Sam Wright-Smith were the goal scorers for the mighty Whales.
UNSW-ES Bulldogs AFL Club
It has not been so long between drinks for the Bulldogs, however after an abandoned 2021 season, the determination to take out the 2022 season only increased. In a dominant display, they took down the North Shore Bombers 7.10 (52) to 2.10 (22) to light up their home ground Henson Park on Saturday afternoon.
Kieran Emery was unstoppable up front, scoring four goals, while Jake Brown, Cooper Kilpatrick and Lachlan O'Callaghan contributed one each. Former Sydney Swans players and recent UNSW graduates Dean Towers and Brandon Jack were also instrumental in the premiership win.
The Bulldogs also took out the Men's Division 2 premiership earlier in the day at Henson Park defeating the East Coast Eagles 7.9 (51) to 4.3 (27). Conar Macleod kicked three goals for the Bulldogs and Daniel Constable, Sam Crittenden, Tom Currie and Troy Luff added one each.
UNSW Rugby Club
The UNSW Rugby Club went into grand final day with three teams contesting for the premiership in their respective grades, but it was the fourth grade team who came away with the Richardson Cup, defeating Lindfield 12-5 at T G Millner Field in Marsfield. Outside centre Keiran Stone and fullback Eugene Lee were the try scorers for UNSW, while fly half Tim O'Donnell converted one to seal the victory. It was an incredible defensive effort that restricted Lindfield to just one try for the match.
The first grade Barraclough Cup team put on a valiant display to go down by 5 to Newport, while the second grade Stockdale Cup team had a strong attacking performance, but weren't able to take down Lindfield, finishing 7 points behind.
A final shout out to the UNSW Netball Club who have their C2 Seals team contesting their first ever grand final on Saturday 17 September and the B4 Belugas team also heading into the grand final after winning their semi final on the weekend. Good luck to all the players - the whole UNSW sporting community is behind you!