Sydney AFL Round Review, Round 3 2016

Article by Michael Shillito, Photos by Leigh Gazzard 

Footy can throw up some unexpected results; but not even the staunchest North Shore optimist could possibly have imagined what would transpire at Kanebridge Oval on Saturday afternoon.

East Coast Eagles were shock losers in last year’s Grand Final, but had kept most of their players for this year to attend to their unfinished business; starting off with a big win in the Grand Final replay and a comfortable round 2 result. Playing at their home ground. Against a North Shore side that won just three games last year, and despite recruiting well and a good first-up result last week, weren’t expected to trouble the Eagles.

North Shore had never beaten the Eagles’ seniors at Kanebridge; and the last meeting between the two clubs late last year saw the Eagles bring up a double-century. But that drought would be broken in emphatic style.
After the first 15 minutes, scores were locked together at two goals apiece. The Bombers were taking the fight up to the Eagles around the ground, denying easy possessions in what looked like a closely-contested passage of play. But as the clock ticked towards quarter time, it was North Shore who stepped up a gear and took control of the contest. Picking up the pace, finding run in their legs and with forward options presenting themselves, the Bombers kicked the last four goals of the quarter to lead by 23 points at the first change.

A footy game is a marathon, not a sprint; and there was plenty of time for the Eagles to work their way back into the contest. Kicking the first two goals of the second term to get the margin back to 10 points, a return to the generally-expected formlines was a strong possibility.

But this was a North Shore side with more self-belief and more of a spring in their step than many thought they had in them. Backing themselves in the contests, shrugging the tackles and finding loose opponents when they needed to; the Bombers would only trouble the scoreboard attendant three times in the second term, but all three of them were goals, extending the lead to 25 points at half time. 
When the premiership quarter came around, the Eagles attempted to fight their way back into the contest; but some uncharacteristic turnovers and some inaccurate finishing up forward would let them down. The run of play was running the Bombers’ way, and the Eagles were powerless to prevent the margin blowing out further as the Bombers added three goals to one to lead by 36 points at the last change.
Frustration was setting in among the Eagles, with some silly 50 metre penalties while Damien Charleston finished the match with a yellow card. But the Bombers were playing with a new-found confidence and everything they touched turned to gold. Another quarter of three goals to one saw the Bombers complete a 47-point victory.

Around the ground, Wayd Blackburne, Selby Lee-Steere and Charlie Parsons wielded significant influence for the Bombers. But this was a stunning result, one that will make the Sydney footy world sit up and take notice. The Bombers had flown nicely under the radar until now, but suddenly they look to be genuine contenders.
The Eagles found willing workers all day in Bryce Joynson, Bailey Stewart and Ben Bourke; but it wasn’t their day. No doubt they’ll be up there at the business end of the season, they have too much talent not to; but they were caught off-guard by the resurgent Bombers this time.

Ladies Day at UTS is one of the highlights of the Sydney footy social calendar, and the Bats again pulled out all the stops with a big day of entertainment at Trumper Park to go with their university derby clash against Sydney Uni. And the on-field action was a closely-fought and entertaining contest that would be in the balance until the final moments.

Little separated the two sides in the opening quarter, as the larger than normal crowd was treated to a hardly-fought physical quarter of footy in which no quarter was asked or given. Two goals to one saw the Bats leading by six points at quarter time; but there was little separating the two sides around the ground. 

After a physical and defensively-minded opening term, it was time for the runners to begin to break free and the play to open up and allow the skilful players to shine in the second term. And the scoreboard began to tick over more regularly, with the Bats scoring four goals to three in the second term to extend the lead to 11 points at the long break.

But within minutes of the start of the third quarter, the Students had taken the lead. The third term would be one of momentum swings, frequent lead changes and plenty of excitement as two evenly-matched sides went all-out in the search for an advantage but neither was able to find one. The Students won the quarter with five goals to four, with the Bats leading by six points at the last change; but the game was still up for grabs.

There’d been plenty of sideshow atmosphere earlier, but now all the attention was on the absorbing contest that was unfolding on the field. There was plenty of vocal support from the sidelines as the Students attacked hard but the Bats’ defence was equal to the task, time and again holding them out. For all their efforts, the Students were unable to regain the lead; and three goals to two in the final quarter was enough to record a 14-point win.

The game had been an arm-wrestle, a battle of swings and roundabouts that was only a clear UTS win in the final minutes. Daniel Breese contributed four goals to the Bats’ cause, while Scott Dadswell, David Smith and Harrison Callahan featured prominently around the ground. Nick Bowen, Glenn Smith and Monty Krochmal were best for the Students in a game that ranks among the best contests of the season so far; and an enjoyable day for the UTS faithful.

After going down in their first two matches, defending champions Pennant Hills broke through for their first win of 2016 at Mike Kenny Oval on Saturday afternoon. And they did it style, turning on an electrifying second half to record a 60-point win over Manly; their nemesis in the 2013 and 2014 Grand Finals.

It wasn’t looking to be such a big margin early. The first quarter was tight and tough, with both sides manning up strongly and preventing the loose running players from having any influence on the game. A low-scoring quarter of footy saw each team score just one goal and the Demons leading by a point at quarter time; but the run of play through the quarter suggested it would be a tightly-contested game.

The game opened up somewhat in the second quarter, and the scoring became more frequent. But although the Demons threatened to break away to a substantial lead, the Giants kept pegging them back and keeping themselves within striking distance. Four goals to three for the quarter saw the Demons leading by eight points at half time, but the game still looked there to be won for either side. 

But when the players emerged from the rooms for the second half, the complexion of the game quickly changed. What had been an even fight in the first half became a lopsided contest in the premiership quarter, as the Demons stepped up a gear and exerted complete control. Leads were presenting themselves, the ball was bouncing their way and the Giants were soon chasing their tails as the Demons raised their work rate and put the game out of reach. Six goals to one in the third term was a reflection of the one-sided nature of general play, as the Demons stretched the lead to 39 points at three quarter time and ensured the game was safely won.

But there was to be no let-up in the final term. Finally, for the first time in 2016, the Demons were looking like defending champions. Confidence was rising, and the Demons were controlling the ball at will. And with five goals to two in the third quarter, the final margin blew out to a 60-point result that was looking unlikely at half time.

Theo Moraitis stood up to be counted, kicking five goals for the Demons in a best-on-ground performance; while Daniel Preen and Jack Patten also made prominent contributions for the Demons, as they got their first win for the season and enough of a percentage boost to enter the top five.

It was a disappointing day for Manly. Robert Whitton, James Brain and Harrison Koch worked hard all day. But the Giants find themselves winless after two games, with a poor percentage, and sitting at the bottom of the ladder. Still plenty of time to lift themselves towards the finals, and they have a game in hand having already had their first bye; but they have plenty of percentage to make up.

Meanwhile at Olds Park, St George again confirmed their status as one of the competition’s title favourites; maintaining their undefeated status with a comprehensive 92-point win over Wests.

Keen to make a statement early and end any fears of a Magpie upset, the Dragons burst out of the blocks with a ferocious opening term. Magpie possessions were hard to find, struggling Dragons even harder. It was vintage St George, the Dragons in complete control of every aspect of the game as they landed eight goals to one to lead by 41 points at the first change. 

The second term was similar to the first. The Dragons outplayed the Magpies in every way as they turned on their most electrifying brand of footy, overcoming every piece of resistance the Magpies would throw their way with ease. Loose men were everywhere to take the ball and move it forward, while passages of play when the Magpies were in possession saw a lack of options opening up in front, forcing the Magpies to kick to contests or turn it over. The Dragons kicked eight goals to two in the second term, bringing up the century shortly before the break and going into the rooms with an 81-point lead.

The game was safely won, and the Dragons were content to put their cue in the rack in the second half; and the play never reached the heights of Dragon dominance that featured so prominently in the first half. The third term saw two goals apiece, as the Dragons were unable to maintain the first half intensity but the Magpies were in no position to capitalise. And with an 83-point margin at three quarter time, the result of the game was not in doubt.

The last quarter never reached any great heights, much of it being the players going through the motions. For all their first-half dominance, the margin didn’t make it over 100 points, as the Magpies tightened their defence to some limited extent to contain the percentage hit at what had already been conceded. With the Dragons scoring two goals to one in the final term, the final margin was 92 points.

Veteran Declan Donohue spearheaded the charge up forward to finish with four goals for the Dragons; while David Lycakis, Karl Merson and Blake Guthrie were ball magnets all day. Three wins to start the season for St George, and their hopes of capturing that elusive premiership trophy grow stronger by the week.

Brenton Mumme, Don Kannan and Tim Woods tried hard for the Magpies. But it wasn’t enough to prevent a hefty defeat, their third loss in succession; and the Magpies will be working hard at training this week to do some of the work needed to get their 2016 campaign back on track.

North Shore 6.1 9.1 12.4 15.6 (96)
East Coast Eagles 2.2 4.6 5.10 6.13 (49)
Goals : North Shore –
 D Roberts 3, S Lee-Steere 3, S Mason 2, W Blackburne 2, W Bradley 2, A Quail, E Strudwick, K Latham. East Coast –A McConnell 2, J Ford, M Eastman, T Baker, M Skuse.
Best : North Shore – W Blackburne, S Lee-Steere, C Parsons, S Mason, W Bradley, N Hurrell. East Coast – B Joynson, B Stewart, B Bourke, A Browning, A McConnell, A Drinkwater.
At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 16th April 2016.

University of Technology 2.3 6.6 10.10 13.15 (93)
Sydney University 1.3 4.7 9.10 11.13 (79)
Goals : UTS –
 D Breese 4, P Brennan 2, D Smith 2, Z Parsons, J Moyle, H Callahan, B Jones, S Tregoning. Sydney Uni – M Vicic 3, A Hawtin 2, T Elkington 2, D Black, M Krochmal, P Casey, K Underwood.
Best : UTS – S Dadswell, D Smith, H Callahan, J Maddox, Z Parsons, M Murrell.Sydney Uni – N Bowen, G Smith, M Krochmal, L Maples, J Lewington, M Vicic.
At Trumper Park, Saturday 16th April 2016.

Pennant Hills 1.3 5.5 11.7 16.10 (106)
Manly-Warringah 1.2 4.3 5.4 7.4 (46)
Goals : Pennant Hills –
 T Moraitis 5, J Gourlay 3, R Ediriwickrama 2, M Preen 2, D Dell’Aquila, M Carey, S Wray, T Edmonds. Manly – T McCaffrey 2, J Pola-Smith 2, A Robertson, J Brain, L Behagg.
Best : Pennant Hills – T Moraitis, D Preen, J Patten, M Carey, R Ediriwickrama, T Edmonds. Manly – R Whitton, J Brain, H Koch, A Robertson, E Burton, T McCaffrey.
At Mike Kenny Oval, Saturday 16th April 2016.

St George 8.1 16.5 18.11 20.16 (136)
Western Suburbs 1.2 3.2 5.6 6.8 (44)
Goals : St George –
 D Donohue 4, P Sain 3, N Ryan 3, B Jones 3, B Cooper 2, D Napper, A Wynn, D Lycakis, X Stevenson, K Merson. Wests –B Zoppo 2, B Mumme, S Pearson, C Gordon, J Bradley.
Best : St George – D Lycakis, K Merson, B Guthrie, N Ryan, T Martin, A Wynn. Wests – B Mumme, D Kannan, T Woods, P Wilmot, J Bradley, J Robinson.
At Olds Park, Saturday 16th April 2016.

Division One:
St George 18.19 (127) d Balmain 4.2 (26) 
Sydney Uni 8.8 (56) d UTS 7.9 (51)
Macquarie Uni 10.12 (72) d Pennant Hills 7.6 (48)
Western Magic 14.12 (96) d Southern Power 10.1 (61)
Holroyd-Parramatta 15.7 (97) d East Coast 6.7 (43)
Ladder – 
Macquarie Uni (12, 257.39%), St George (8, 150.28%), Holroyd-Parramatta (8, 148.50%), Western Magic (8, 145.28%), UTS (8, 106.12%)Sydney Uni (8, 87.44%), Pennant Hills (4, 97.98%), Balmain (4, 61.92%), Southern Power (0, 47.95%), East Coast (0, 41.30%).

Division Two:
Manly 9.7 (61) d UTS 6.4 (40)
Sydney Uni 7.14 (56) d Randwick City 8.6 (54)
UNSW-ES 16.7 (103) d South-West Sydney 12.7 (79)
Camden 16.5 (101) d North Shore 5.7 (37)
Penrith 8.10 (58) d Western Suburbs 6.10 (46)
Ladder – 
Camden (12, 464.89%), Manly (12, 148.03%), UNSW-ES (12, 134.92%), Penrith (8, 124.07%), Sydney Uni (8, 61.97%)Wests (4, 147.10%), North Shore (4, 66.52%), South-West Sydney (0, 68.42%), UTS (0, 45.67%), Randwick City (0, 42.06%).

Division Three:
Wollondilly 16.20 (116) d East Coast 5.5 (35)
Pennant Hills 19.12 (126) d Holroyd-Parramatta 8.4 (52)
Campbelltown 16.12 (108) d Balmain 3.7 (25)
NorWest 23.9 (147) d Penrith 4.4 (28)
Ladder – 
Campbelltown (12, 565.28%), Pennant Hills (12, 488.24%), Wollondilly (12, 318.18%), NorWest (8, 140.66%), Penrith (4, 42.99%),Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 42.49%), Balmain (0, 42.04%), East Coast (0, 12.94%).

Division Four:
Macquarie Uni 13.12 (90) d St George 4.8 (32)
Sydney Uni 11.10 (76) d UTS 11.2 (68)
Manly 26.15 (171) d Randwick City 2.5 (17)
Western Magic 14.15 (99) d Southern Power 4.6 (30)
South-West Sydney 10.5 (65) d UNSW-ES 7.10 (52)
Camden 14.14 (98) d North Shore 7.10 (52)
Ladder – 
Macquarie Uni (12, 793.10%), Camden (12, 261.67%), Manly (8, 236.52%), North Shore (8, 138.92%), Sydney Uni (8, 134.12%),Western Magic (8, 114.29%), UNSW-ES (4, 94.62%), UTS (4, 94.04%), St George (4, 71.50%), South-West Sydney (4, 58.85%), Southern Power (0, 30.24%), Randwick City (0, 7.66%).

Division Five:
UTS 13.19 (97) d Sydney Uni 3.6 (24)
NorWest 18.8 (126) d Camden 6.8 (44)
Penrith 14.13 (97) d Holroyd-Parramatta 8.2 (50)
UNSW-ES 24.13 (157) d South-West Sydney 0.4 (4)
Campbelltown d Balmain – forfeit
Pennant Hills 14.13 (97) d Macquarie Uni 3.6 (24)
Ladder – 
Pennant Hills (12, 342.59%), Campbelltown (12, 187.23%), UNSW-ES (8, 247.62%), NorWest (8, 171.86%), Macquarie Uni (8, 171.19%)UTS (8, 112.77%), Balmain (4, 113.04%), Sydney Uni (4, 110.44%), South-West Sydney (4, 84.95%), Penrith (4, 53.97%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 25.03%), Camden (0, 17.95%).

Under 19s One:
Manly 12.10 (82) d Camden 5.7 (37)
Sydney Uni 12.9 (81) d East Coast 10.5 (65)
North Shore 12.10 (82) d South Coast 6.8 (44)
UNSW-ES 12.6 (78) d Pennant Hills 5.6 (36)
Ladder – 
Sydney Uni (12, 196.24%), St George (8, 394.44%), North Shore (8, 233.75%), UNSW-ES (8, 87.92%)South Coast (4, 109.14%), Manly (4, 82.26%), Pennant Hills (4, 70.41%), East Coast (0, 56.40%), Camden (0, 36.13%).

Under 19s Two:
No matches scheduled.

Women Premier Division:
Sydney Uni 14.16 (100) d Macquarie Uni 0.1 (1)
Newtown 24.11 (155) d Auburn 3.2 (20)
UNSW-ES 15.14 (104) d Power Wolves 1.6 (12)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – 
Sydney Uni (100, 10000.00%), UNSW-ES (100, 866.67%), Newtown (100, 775.00%), Auburn (0, 12.90%)Power Wolves (0, 11.54%), Macquarie Uni (0, 1.00%).

Women Division One:
South-West Sydney 6.8 (44) d Wollondilly 4.4 (28)
UTS 16.15 (111) d UNSW-ES 2.6 (18)
Penrith 12.6 (78) d Western Magic 5.7 (37)
Manly 9.5 (59) d Pennant Hills 6.4 (40)
Campbelltown 4.2 (26) d Newtown 3.4 (22)
Ladder – 
UTS (4, 616.67%), Penrith (4, 210.81%), South-West Sydney (4, 157.14%), Manly (4, 147.50%), Campbelltown (4, 118.18%),Newtown (0, 84.62%), Pennant Hills (0, 67.80%), Wollondilly (0, 63.64%), Western Magic (0, 47.44%), UNSW-ES (0, 16.22%), Wollongong (DNP).


Premier Division:

Saturday 23rd April
Waverley Oval – UTS v North Shore (2:10pm)
Village Green – UNSW-ES v St George (2:30pm)
Sunday 24th April
Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Manly (2pm)
Monday 25th April
Picken Oval – Western Suburbs v Pennant Hills (1pm)
BYE – Sydney Uni.

Division One:
Saturday 23rd April
Waverley Oval – UTS v Macquarie Uni (12pm)
Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Pennant Hills (2pm)
Mahoney Park – Balmain v Sydney Uni (2pm)
Gwawley Oval – Southern Power v St George (2:30pm)
Sunday 24th April
Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Western Magic (4:45pm)

Division Two:
Saturday 23rd April
Trumper Park – UTS v North Shore (10:30am) 
Picken Oval – Western Suburbs v Camden (2pm)
Kelso Oval – UNSW-ES v Penrith (2:30pm)
Weldon Oval – Manly v Sydney Uni (2:30pm)
Sunday 24th April
Rosedale Oval – South-West Sydney v Randwick City (6pm)

Division Three:
Saturday 23rd April
Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Pennant Hills (10am)
Mahoney Park – Balmain v Penrith (12pm)
Hannaford Oval – Wollondilly v Holroyd-Parramatta (7pm)
Sunday 24th April
Bensons Lane – NorWest v Campbelltown (2:10pm)

Division Four:
Saturday 23rd April
Trumper Park – UTS v North Shore (8:30am)
Blacktown ISP No 2 – UNSW-ES v Western Magic (12:30pm)
Gwawley Oval – Southern Power v St George (12:30pm)
Weldon Oval – Manly v Sydney Uni (12:30pm)
Sunday 24th April
Rosedale Oval – South-West Sydney v Randwick City (3pm)

Division Five:
Saturday 23rd April
Mahoney Park – Balmain v Camden (10am)
Waverley Oval – UTS v Macquarie Uni (10am)
Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Pennant Hills (12pm)
Kelso Oval – UNSW-ES v Penrith (12:30pm)
Bensons Lane – NorWest v Campbelltown (2:10pm)
Sunday 24th April
Rosedale Oval - South-West Sydney v Sydney Uni (1pm)

Under 19s One:
Saturday 23rd April
Olds Park – St George v Pennant Hills (12pm)
Village Green – UNSW-ES v Manly (12:30pm)
Harrington Park – Camden v North Shore (1pm)
Sunday 24th April
Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v South Coast (12pm)
BYE – Sydney Uni.

Under 19s Two:
Saturday 23rd April
Olds Park – St George v Holroyd-Parramatta (10am)
Blacktown ISP – Western Magic v Campbelltown (10:30am)
Picken Oval – West Sydney Magpies v North Shore (12pm)

Women Premier Division:
Saturday 23rd April
Picken Oval – Power Wolves v Macquarie Uni (10am)
Village Green – UNSW-ES v Newtown (10:30am)
Mona Park – Auburn v Sydney Uni (2pm)

Women Division One:
Saturday 23rd April
Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v Campbelltown (8:30am)
Village Green – UNSW-ES v Penrith (8:30am)
Weldon Oval – Manly v Wollongong (10:30am)
Trumper Park – UTS v South-West Sydney (12:30pm)
Hannaford Oval – Wollondilly v Pennant Hills (5pm)
BYE – Newtown.


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