WINGER James Kane had a field day, scoring 24 points, as a slick Sydney University blew the Hunter Wildfires away in a stunning first half on the way to 59-10 rout at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday.
Kane crossed for two tries and landed seven conversions as the Shute Shield premiers showed their class to make it three from three to open the season.
Hooker Patrick O'Doherty crashed over from a driving maul off a lineout close to the Wildfires line to open their account in the third minute.
But it was the backs who caused most of the damage for the Students, crossing for seven of their nine tries.
Feasting on front-foot ball, fly-half Connor O'Shea had three and four runners hitting holes at different angles and simply picked the pass.
The inexperienced Wildfires backline had no answer to their pace and precision.
Everything was done at speed, with the ball out in front.
In a blink, the game was gone.
Sydney University led 19-0 after 12 minutes. Bar kick-offs, the Wildfires had barely touched the ball.
The visitors continued to score at better than a point a minute to stretch the margin to 33-0 approaching the half-hour mark.
Fullback Brendan Holliday hit back for the Wildfires with a try down the short side that started in the their own half.
But the reprieve was only short.
By half-time the scoreline had ballooned to 47-5. A ton looked a real possibility.
But the home side responded to a rev-up at the break and showed grit and determination to hold the Students to 12-5 in the second half.
They slowed down the visitors' ball at the breakdown, aimed up better in defence and managed to get their hands on the pill themselves.
After sustained pressure in the Sydney Uni red zone, breakaway Sitiveni Waqa picked the ball up from the middle of a ruck and powered 20 minutes to touch down.
"It was pleasing how we came back in the second half," Wildfires coach Scott Coleman said. "I gave them a bit of rev-up at half-time. We just had to get in and compete. I thought we did in the second half.
"If you give them front-foot ball and easy recycle, as we saw, their first two-phases are too slick and fast. They had blokes running everywhere and they were picking the right one."
Apart from Kane, fullback Tim Clements scored a brace as did O'Doherty - both from driving mauls.
"Our first focus was the hit and cleaning them out of the way at the breakdown," Sydney University coach Luke Hodge said. "Then have runners in the line so we could play quick on the next phase. I just wanted them to back themselves Keep pushing and pushing. The reason it didn't work as well in the past two weeks was because we didn't have that quick ball. We focused on the accuracy at the breakdown."
Waqa was among the Wildfires' best. Stand-in skipper Adam Edwards carted the ball forward in a wholehearted effort, breakaway Shawn Ingle got through a power of work and the set piece was again much improved.
In second grade, the Wildfires were leval at 21-all with 20 minutes remaining only to fade and go down 45-28.
The colts were thumped 68-5 and the women's team were given a tough introduction to the Jack Scott Cup, suffering a 60-0 defeat after trailing 27-0 at half-time.