Sydney Uni plots return to top flight
More than 40 years since they last featured in a New South Wales Rugby League competition Sydney University are endeavouring to return to the game's top tiers by offering two $30,000 scholarships for the 2017 season.
Having played and coached in all corners of the globe Luke Srama has been appointed captain/coach for Sydney University and he is looking to recruit players on the fringe of the NRL to bolster his squad for the upcoming tertiary competition.
The greatest lure at Srama's disposal are two Business degrees at Sydney University which he hopes will appeal to either a player nearing the end of their career or former under-20s players who have been unable to secure contracts with NRL clubs.
Former Sea Eagles front-rower George Rose is already a student at Sydney Uni and is in Srama's sights in what he hopes will be an attractive option for those who wish to both study and maintain contact with leading rugby league clubs.
"The union side is obviously very strong and they get scholarships for Wallabies who play for them and we've got two scholarships now and hopefully it just keeps building and building every year," Srama told NRL.com.
"We have seen it so many times with NRL players when they retire or they are on the brink, often they are left with pretty much nothing. At least this is a pathway for them for life after football with a business degree.
"Uni starts in a couple of weeks and the season starts not long after that so if we can't find someone as soon as possible for this season obviously we'll be starting to build for next season."
Sydney University were first introduced into the NSWRL first grade competition and had 18 seasons in the top grade before withdrawing from the premiership at the end of the 1937 season.
Between Round 2, 1934 and Round 14, 1936 Uni lost a record 42 games in succession but there is now a renewed enthusiasm to make rugby league an integral part of the organisation's sporting endeavours.
"They played in a grand final against the Rabbitohs in 1926 and there's a big plan in place to try and get back into the higher grades in Sydney," Srama said.
"The plan is to move up into Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield next year and that's why we're trying to get some quality players studying and help build the exposure of the club and the professionalism within the club.
"They've got an existing affiliation with the Newtown Jets where they play games before them at Henson Park and there's a lot of history at both clubs.
"It's really a great opportunity for a couple of players to not only work towards something for their futures after football but to leave a legacy at Sydney University that will hopefully carry through into Ron Massey Cup and one day the Intrust Super Premiership."
For more information on the Sydney University rugby league scholarships e-mail Chris Kintis at firstname.lastname@example.org.