Dannys Lower Division Preview
This weekend Grand Finals will be played at Blacktown International Sports Park on Saturday in Divisions Four, Three, Two and Women’s Division One.
In an interesting statistic, all the matches are carbon copies of the second Semi Finals played a fortnight ago.
Division Four: UTS Bats vs Wollondilly Knights- 8.45am
It will be an early car trip for the Wollondilly faithful up the Hume Highway to Blacktown as they seek silverware in their first year in the AFL Sydney competition.
A stern test awaits them in the decider with UTS the premier team in the competition till now. They will be fresher having the weekend off after winning their last encounter by 26 points at a soggy Henson Park.
There is experience where it counts with John Colbert and Dustin Teasdale both ornaments of the club and will have a key role to play.
There is a clear target up forward with James Hedrick having kicked 30 goals from his nine games this year. Teammates dispute whether he has got out of the goal square for any of those majors but nonetheless he has averaged four goals a game in the last month.
Sam Canavan ranks as the fittest player at the club and the noted runner will have plenty of space to roam on the wide expanses of Blacktown.
Wollondilly are a worthy opposition and booked their place in the big dance with a 19-point win over Sydney University in the Preliminary Final.
They boast some high quality players in this division with Daniel Hockey the linchpin around the ground. He has kicked 23 goals this year and is a good user by foot.
Another who fits this category is Shaun Paget across half-back as a rebounding defender.
Danny’s Kiss of Death: It is a mountain that will be too high for Wollondilly to climb. UTS are noted September specialists down the grades and will add more silverware to their trophy cabinet. UTS by 27 points.
Division Three: Randwick City Saints vs Penrith Rams- 11.05am
Despite only finishing one win apart on the ladder after the regular season, Randwick City will start warm favourites after their big 51-point Semi Final win over their opponents two weeks ago.
The Grand Final stage will be familiar to many of the Saints after they fell in the Grand Final to Blacktown last year.
They have the artillery to be able to take the next step with Michael Garstin pivotal in the midfield.
My spies tell me Adrian Ireland marks everything across half-back and playing-coach Mitchell Rose is a focal point up forward with 30 goals to his name so far this season, at slightly less than two goals a game.
After losing the Division Five Grand Final last week to Blacktown, this is the Rams best chance to claim silverware in 2014.
Mitchell Stevens and Ben Robinson will probably need to kick at least five goals between them to have a chance. That is by no means an impossible feat given between them they have registered over 110 goals this season.
Nathan Rowley was best on ground in the Rams 17-point win over Sydney University last week and could line up in a head-to-head duel with Garstin in the middle.
Danny’s Kiss of Death: Randwick City will claim their second premiership after their Division Five title last year. Saints by 19 points.
Womens Division One: Sydney University vs UNSW/ES Stingrays- 1.30pm
Sydney University are looking to complete the perfect season with only UNSW/ES in their way.
They will be confident of success again having kept the Stingrays goalless in their 16-point win in a dour affair at Blacktown a fortnight ago.
Jennifer Lew is a star in the midfield and her ability to win the ball will play a key role in deciding the result. Steph Walker kicked one of the two goals in the match last start and is arguably one of the best players in this match as a livewire forward with the inclination to take the game on. Walker will be assisted by fellow star, Aoife McDonnell.
UNSW/ES need greater depth if they are to claim one of the greater upsets of the season.
They have two of probably the best five players in the competition in Courtney Gum and Maddy Collier. Collier is the reigning Women’s Best and Fairest who transferred from Wollongong over the off-season. Gum is the reigning Howarth Trophy recipient as the League’s Best Representative player.
Sandra Jantejovic will also be important across half-back.
Danny’s Kiss of Death: It is hard to see anything other than a Sydney University victory. They are well-drilled and have quite clearly taken over the mantle from Balmain as the dominant team in the competition. Sydney University by 7 points.
Division Two: Sydney University vs Blacktown Magic- 4.00pm
Blacktown will look to make it a perfect season; claiming a premiership in the two grades in which they field teams- Division Five (won last week) and Division Two this weekend.
They will need to cause an upset of sorts to make this happen given Sydney University won their semi-final clash by 59 points.
Blacktown rebounded superbly from this by smacking Manly-Warringah by 52-points in a potentially dangerous Preliminary Final clash last week.
The Magic have a number of players who played a key role in their Division Three success last year, mixed in with some new blood.
Andrew Polkinghorne and Leighton Corr will be the generals in the midfield. Dean Connors will be dangerous across half-forward with their main targets up front being leading goalkicker, Ashley Moeller and Michael Clinch who was superb last week with three goals against the GIANTS.
Sydney University were minor premiers in what again has proven to be a hotly-contested division and should get a big crowd to support them on Saturday afternoon.
They have a few players with NEAFL experience, led by Ryan Kennedy who has been one of the best players in this grade in the ruck. Michael Higgins is another gun player who will need to be closely monitored.
The Students will also look to Rohan Macpherson in the midfield and Jeff Melville up forward to kick a winning score.
Danny’s Kiss of Death: This should be the match of the day with Blacktown not without a shot. You have to tip the leading team all season but I am not 100% confident. Sydney University by 10 points.