CSU Yellow got their New Era Cup title defence off to an ideal start on Saturday, dominating against clubmates CSU Blue to win 52-14 at Diggings Oval.
As is always the case with the university club, both Blue and Yellow had a host of new faces in their line-up and went into the match off a limited pre-season build up.
But Yellow do have a number of their premiership players returning for 2015 and those familiar combinations were telling.
Hooker Tom McDevitt was the standout, dominating around the ruck as he picked up yards with ease and put his team-mates into gaps. It was a good start for the number nine after he was the club’s best and fairest last year.
“The result was quite a surprise to be honest because this year we actually really did try to make Yellow and Blue as even as possible, in previous years there has been a large gap between them,” president and Yellow player Dean Hodges said.
“But the combinations had a lot to do with Yellow’s success, a fair few players in the side played together last year, whereas for Blue, this was their first game together.
“In Yellow a lot of the guys know how to play together, whereas Blue were a little clunky in attack and are obviously still working on their combinations.”
At the New Era Cup pre-season knockout CSU fielded just one combination side, so Saturday was a chance for the Mungoes to show what they will offer their respective teams this season.
Given Blue had former Bathurst Panthers’ half Blake Dean in their line up and Yellow had just 15 men for the match, Hodges admitted there were some nerves among the Yellow camp prior to kick-off.
But Yellow rose to the challenge, the effort of prop Jody Bryan to play a full 80 minutes typifying the effort of the side.
“Prior to kick-off our team talk was all about putting in for one another and the boys did that. Because we only had 15 players we had to really keep the talk up and stick to our game plan and we managed to do that,” Hodges said.
“Yellow has lost a lot of forwards from last year, so we have got a lot of new players in those positions, but they stood up. We’ve also had a lot of former Mungoes, guys who played four or five years ago, come back for one last shot and that experience really helped.”
While the season opener was certainly a one-sided affair, Hodges expects Blue to improve with more match practice and time together on the training paddock.
It should give CSU two competitive outfits for the 2015 season.
“I think as the season progresses Blue will be very strong, I think the next time that Blue plays Yellow it will be a lot closer,” the president said.
“But for Yellow, it was still good to get points on the board and get our for and against off to a good start.”
This Saturday both CSU teams will be on the road, Blue to face the Orange Barbarians at Max Stewart Park while Yellow will square off with the Lithgow Bears at Wallerawang.
CSU YELLOW 52 defeated CSU BLUE 14