Men’s touch team takes a knee after UniSport Nationals win
Justifying its promotion to compete against teams from the top universities in Australia, Avondale Eagles won bronze in men’s touch at UniSport Nationals Div 1.
The result is the Eagles best—in any sport—at the nationals and comes after its silver medal at UniSport Nationals Div 2 in July. It means the team will play again in the top division next year. “This success is purely because of the work ethic of the boys,” says captain Jesse Fua.
The competition, held at the Coomera Sports Park on the Gold Coast, September 30-October 3, saw the Eagles play 10 40-minute games, “which took a huge toll on our bodies and a lot of the boys are still feeling it,” says Fua.
Avondale finished pool play in third position after winning six of eight games. Its only losses: to champions CQUniversity Australia and to QUT. Fua and the boys played the silver medallists in an “intense” semifinal, says Eagles manager Hayden Ward, “each team scoring try after try.” The game remained close until the final minutes, with QUT running away winners 10-7. Avondale played UTS in the bronze medal final where, injuries notwithstanding, it scored nine tries to seven.
The Eagles trained twice a week and played in a local competition as its lead up to the nationals. “The boys were eager to learn and improve their game,” says Fua. The support the players displayed for each other and the trust and confidence that grew from this proved to be a highlight for Ward. Fua’s highlight: when co-captain Ignatius Ah-You, at the end of each game, would take a knee and offer a prayer for the other team. “He would say a small word about the game and commend the team for their efforts, regardless if we won or lost,” says Fua. “He wished the players well for the rest of their tournament and for their studies, too.”