In the #DewarShield Match of the Round the Melbourne Unicorns, still searching for their first win of the season, got out of the blocks quickly with fly-half Paul McConnochie slotting two difficult penalties in the early stages of the match, the second from right out on the wing.
However, Melbourne Uni comfortably saw off last year’s Preliminary Finalists 36-12, with Wallaby and Rebels winger Dom Shipperley on fire for his Dewar Shield debut and centre Stacey Ili awarded the Musashi Nutrition Player of the Round.
Uni found the tryline through flanker Aaron Kelly not long after the second Unicorns penalty, and then took the lead with their second unconverted try through winger Junior Nu’u.
McConnochie narrowed the gap with his third penalty of the afternoon, but it was the Students in their first home game of the season who led 10-9 at the break, and whatever Head Coach Jason Jones and his coaching team preached during the interval clearly worked.
Although the accurate McConnochie regained the lead for Melbourne with his fourth penalty after the break, four second half tries saw Melbourne Uni not only run away with a comfortable victory, but also qualify for a bonus point in the process.
It was a case of two, two-try heroics, with first Sam Bindon getting a double and then Shipperley being able to take the game away from the Unicorns with two tries to seal a memorable first outing in Victoria’s Premier Club Rugby competition on his return from a broken hand.
It was Uni’s first win against Melbourne in six years, and Jones paid tribute to Ili, Shipperley and back-rower Hugh Forbes especially.
“Dom Shipperley had a great debut for the club scoring a couple of tries, and Stacey Ili had another great game playing out of position at centre,” he said. “Hughie Forbes was outstanding again in the forwards, even though he copped a bit of grief from the boys after the game for dropping a few balls early.”
Next up for Uni, who have a points differential of +110 and a four-try bonus point every week after their opening four matches, is a trip to Henry Turner Oval to face Footscray, who are also undefeated and coming off a bye.
For Melbourne, it’s back home to face Power House, who are also still searching for their first win, in the Direct Connect Dewar Shield Match of the Round for Round Five.
Melbourne Uni 36:
Tries: Sam Bindon (2), Aaron Kelly, Junior Nu’u, Dom Shipperley (2)
Conversions: Pene Llaoa (3)
Penalties: Paul McConnochie (4)
Source: Rebels Media Unit