The University Cup competition first kicked off in 1970 when the then NSWRL Second Division club, Sydney University, paired with Macquarie University (North Sydney) and University of NSW (South Sydney) to form a tertiary level Rugby League competition for Metropolitan Sydney.
The concept grew rapidly with Tertiary institutes all around Sydney creating teams for the competition in its first few years. North-West Sydney was no different with the then titled Catholic College of Education forming its own Rugby League club at the end of the 1971 season.
Based out of Castle Hill, it only took the club four years to record its first Premiership victory, winning the 1975 and 1976 First Grade titles.
In 1981 the then Federal Government required that all Catholic Colleges amalgamate under the one administration. This forced the Catholic College of Education, Catholic Teachers College and eventually Mount Saint Mary College to join under the new administration which was titled ‘Catholic College of Education Sydney’.
To avoid confusion between the administrative body and the Castle Hill based campus, the Campus was retitled to Polding College. It was through this name change that the Polecat moniker was first derived from the other teams in the competition.
With the Polding title still quite new, the club was often referred to as ‘Pole’ing College. The term ‘Cat’ came around the same time, however whether this was an insult thrown at the club by rival teams, or whether it was just the club trying to incorporate Pole into its moniker is debatable.
Not only was 1981 the year the club adopted its animal name, but it was also the first time the club won a Second Division title, kicking off a run of success for the club which saw it appear in six grand finals and win four premierships in a space of just five years.
This five year run of success, whilst impressive, has since looked relatively average with the record the club has had since 1989, where it has appeared in every First Grade Final series over the past 19 years, taking out 8 First Grade titles in that time, being runners up another 9 times, and as well as accruing five Second Grade premierships and two Third Grade premierships.
Such success hasn’t come easily to the club which has had to work hard to keep going despite plenty of off-field drama in the mid-late 90’s.
With the Australian Catholic University taking over the Catholic College of Education Sydney in 1992, the Castle Hill based college was re-branded again, with the Polecats becoming the ACU Polecats. Unfortunately this take over would ultimately mean the end of a Castle Hill based Tertiary college, with ACU deciding to consolidate its assets with the plan to wind up the campus by 1998.
With the Super League war of 1995 – 1997 already taking its toll on senior Rugby League numbers nation wide, with more than 60% of participants leaving the game, and the loss of a permanent home, it was thought the Polecats would be no more with the 1999 season titled by many as the clubs ‘last season’.
Fortunately however, some new blood came into the club, and with some new direction reinvigorated the Polecats. The club successfully moved from Castle Hill down the road to align with the University of Western Sydney’s Nirimba Campus and play from Kellyville Oval.
The club has continued to grow strongly since the move to its new base, and in 2008 will look to expand its representation across the North-West corridor to include TAFE and other Tertiary institutes within the area.
In just 50 years the club holds an impressive history, one the envy of the league. It has appeared in 49 Grand Finals across three grades, winning the premiership trophy 27 times. It holds twelve Club Championships awards, three Arnold Stehr Knockout Premierships, two Club Admin Trophies and the 1984 Pre-Season Trophy. It can also commit to being one of the few clubs to enter a team in each available division run by the NSWTSRL.