Vic Uni aim to lift for “Massive Occasion” against Hallam at AAMI Park
By Tate Spiteri
Vic Uni coach Tony Adam has dubbed Friday’s GIO Cup match with Hallam Senior College as a “Massive Occasion” for his fledgling side.
The school are in their first season of Australia’s premier High School Rugby League competition and will meet Hallam in a history-making match at AAMI Park on Friday.
“For us to be in the pinnacle schoolboy competition means a lot to us”
“We’ll have at least 100 Vic Uni supporters there watching us, at the centre piece of Melbourne for Rugby League”
“Hopefully we can live up to the occasion” The former Melbourne Storm development coach said.
The landmark match will mark the first occasion two Victorian teams have played each other in the GIO Cup, so while it is a massive game for both schools it also holds significance for Rugby League in Victoria.
Hallam Senior College have lead the way for Rugby League in Victoria having been the first school to start up a Rugby League academy and first entering the GIO Cup three years ago.
Having started their campaign with a convincing 46-12 win over Illawarra at Casey Fields and holding superior GIO Cup experience, Hallam will certainly go in favourites to Friday’s match.
And despite having beat Vic Uni in their past 6 encounters, Hallam coach Jamie Fardell remained weary of the competitions newcomers.
“They will be pumped up to play us. They’ve gone quite well the past two years in the trophy and are really well coached”
“There boys come through the same rep program as ours and there’s a really good healthy rivalry there,” Fardell said.
Fardell noted Hallam will look to use their experience in the competition as an advantage against Vic Uni given they now boast a playing group with “a lot of year 12s who are now really experienced”.
Hallam know first-hand how hard it can be starting out in an elite competition having not won a game in their first GIO season.
Vic Uni’s campaign started with a baptism of fire being on the receiving end of a 44-10 hiding from the competitions reigning champions Westfields Sports H.S.
And coach Tony Adam noted the “eye opener” as a significant learning curve that his side will have to bounce back from quickly.
“We’re playing against quality opposition which means you’ve got to get quality preparation and make it a genuinely high performance environment if we want to compete at this level”
“As much as you can talk about it, they just don’t know what they don’t know. In terms of the standard of the competition” he explained.
Adam spent eight years at Melbourne Storm in a development capacity and having started teaching saw the move to take on the Vic Uni team as a “natural fit”.
And the level of professionalism he brings to the GIO Cup side is an appendage to the hard work done before him.
“Josh Miller did a lot of good things here, like the players and recruitment, Dale Marshall as well, they set it all up. Now I come along with that little bit of expertise with the players and that skill acquisition side of things”
“To now be in this competition vindicates and legitimises your program and what you’re trying to achieve” he said.
But for 60 minutes on Friday, the bigger picture will mean nothing to Vic Uni as they look to make their first mark on the competition.
"Hallam will be another tall order, they bat really deep with a lot of NRL VIC Rep players"
"If we're at our very best who knows what can happen, we'll certainly put a lot of pressure on them" he said.
Vic Uni will have to tighten up defensively having conceeded 44 points in their debut GIO Cup match but if they can get their tale up early and remain disciplined in defence an upset could be on the cards.
The match will kick off tomorrow at 2.30pm at AAMI Park and will be replayed in full on Fox Sports at a later date.