University coach demands ruthless approach

University's Ash Mason takes on the Vikings defence at Vikings Oval on Saturday. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

University's Ash Mason takes on the Vikings defence at Vikings Oval on Saturday. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Wollongong Vikings centre Caleb Rae and dreadlocks in full flight. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Wollongong Vikings centre Caleb Rae and dreadlocks in full flight. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

RUGBY UNION

University coach Shaun McCreedy challenged his side to become more "ruthless" after Saturday's less-than-convincing 31-24 defeat of the Wollongong Vikings.

The Mallee Bulls are destined to finish second and their patchy performance against the Blueys indicated that they might already be thinking about the post-season.

After taking an early 7-0 lead with a pushover try, Uni allowed the home side to hit back with an unconverted try.

The Bulls made it 12-5 with a try five minutes from half-time, only to drop their guard again with unnecessary passes which led to an intercept try for the Blueys.

McCreedy's team responded with three tries in the first 25 minutes of the second half for a commanding 31-12 lead.

Vikings scored two tries in the final five minutes to claim two bonus points.

"We made too many errors," McCreedy said.

"We're getting into situations where we feel that we need to score off every play, and we're forcing things that we don't need to. We have to respect the ball a bit more and be happy to play another two or three or four phases, rather than forcing passes when they're not needed.

"Maybe we need to adjust the mindset a little and be a bit more ruthless and clinical in putting teams away.

"Vikings are basically in a do-or-die situation for that fourth spot with Kiama, so they did well to play 'til the end. We defended well in patches, but we probably felt we had it in the bag and we switched off a bit."

Uni's hot and cold display was not unlike their mistake-riddled performance in the previous week's 27-15 home win over Kiama.

They finish the season with this Saturday's road game against Shoalhaven before meeting minor premiers Avondale in the major semi-final.

"Maybe we're looking forward a little bit," McCreedy said.

"We'd pretty much secured second going into last week's game against Kiama, and maybe we're not concentrating on the job at hand. We know we've got a big one against Avondale and we've got two weeks to address a couple of issues. In saying that, our set piece is still strong and we're getting good ball. We're making the breaks and we just have to respect the ball a bit more to finish off those opportunities we're creating."

Avondale secured top spot with a 36-15 win over Kiama, title holders Camden booked a finals berth with a 63-3 thrashing of Tech Waratahs, while Shoalhaven beat Bowral 14-12.

Ladder: Avondale 68, University 62, Camden 51, Vikings 47, Kiama 45, Shamrocks 39, Tech Waratahs 20, Shoalhaven 10, Bowral 4.


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