AFL Sydney Round 4 Review


Article by Michael Shillito


Saturday afternoon saw the first wet weather footy for the season, as the heavens opened and the rock-hard surfaces of the early rounds were softened. Rain falling, a slippery ball; the running players struggle and the physical hard-tacklers come into their own.

Two teams that went into the match undefeated faced off as UTS Bats hosted North Shore Bombers. In the buildup to the weekend, as the weather forecast looked nasty, the match was switched to Trumper Park. Other than some heavy conditions in the centre wicket square, the surface was in good condition at Trumper; but the small ground and wet conditions worked to the advantage of the home team, and the Bats would keep their unbeaten record intact.

North Shore had claimed the scalp of East Coast last week, but from the early exchanges it was clear this would be a very different match. The Bombers were struggling to create loose men to get their running game going; as the ball spent much of its time in congested packs around the ball. The Bats were relishing the conditions and the physical game, and with four goals to two in the first quarter and a 13-point lead at the first change, they were looking solid.

The game was safely won for the home side by half time, with the Bats scoring five goals to one in the second term to stretch the margin to 38 points at the long break. There were Bats at the bottom of every pack, out-muscling their opponents to win the contests. The rain was tumbling down in the second term, but nothing was dampening the Bats in their relentless pursuit of the ball.

It had been a great first half by UTS, as they worked hard in tricky conditions to set up a match-winning lead. And although the third term never reached those heights, there was no way for the Bombers to get back into the contest. A quarter of football in which the defences were on top saw each side kick two goals and the Bats leading by 41 points at three quarter time.

The young North Shore side, many of whom still qualify to play Under 19s, were no match physically for a well-developed UTS team that have several years on them; and the conditions weren’t allowing them to play their natural running game. They played better in the last term, kicking two goals to one and reducing the final margin to 32 points; but not enough to be any chances of stealing the game.

Daniel Breese continued his purple patch in front of goals, his return of six major scores on an afternoon when goals were hard to come by was worth its weight in gold. Brad Hunt, Zac Parsons and Thomas Perks were tireless warriors around the ground for the Bats; time and again propelling themselves into a winning position. Sam Mason, Chris Murphy and Todd Alexander worked hard all day for the Bombers; but it was UTS’s day and the Bats remain unbeaten in 2016.


The other unbeaten side so far this season is St George, and the Dragons were untroubled in maintaining their ladder-leading status with a comprehensive 99-point win over UNSW-ES at the Village Green on Saturday afternoon.

In tricky weather, the Dragons were keen to replicate what they did the previous week and lock their opponents out of the contest from the start. And they had some success in doing that; although only scoring three goals themselves, incursions into the Bulldogs’ 50 metre line were rare and they were held to one point for the quarter as the Dragons led by 21 points at the first change.

The Dragons’ goal-kicking radar wasn’t working for them in the second term, and several shots at goal that looked kickable sailed wide of the big sticks. The inconsistent wind wasn’t helping the Dragons at times, but some defensive pressure by the Bulldogs and some self-inflicted poor finishing would also count against them. But the Bulldogs were unable to take advantage and work their way back into the contest. The Dragons would still manage three goals to two for the quarter, leading by 32 points at half time.

The Dragons were looking comfortable in the third quarter. Try as they might, the Bulldogs didn’t have the firepower to match it around the ground, and as the quarter drew on, the Dragons pulled further away. Four goals to two stretched the lead to 48 points at three quarter time; but the Dragons weren’t finished yet.

UNSW-ES are a young side, at a very different stage of their development to the seasoned Dragons who are genuine premiership contenders this year. And the difference was clear for all to see in a blistering final quarter, in which the Dragons pulled out all the stops and took complete control around the ground. Nine goals to one in the final term was a reflection of the lopsided nature of proceedings around the ground; as St George blasted their way to a convincing 99-point win.

Nick Ryan spearheaded the Dragon charge up forward to finish with five goals; while Karl Merson, Travis Martin and Tim Coenen were prominent contributors around the ground. Harry Annear, Jeremy Daniher and Jared Deep kept working all day; but the Bulldogs will have to wait at least another week before breaking through for their first win of 2016.


Sunny weather was back on Sunday, as East Coast hosted Manly at Kanebridge Oval. The two sides had played a memorable match in the opening round last year when Manly came from nowhere to steal the game; and this time round it would again go down to the wire.

Little separated the two sides in the opening term as both sides put the defensive pressure on and neither was able to obtain a decisive advantage. Both were looking to bounce back from disappointment last week; both were determined through a gritty opening term in which two goals apiece were scored, and the Giants held a two-point lead at quarter time.

It didn’t take long for the Eagles to hit the front in the second term, as the home side lifted a gear and threatened to break away from the Giants. The Giants were forced into resolute defence, as the Eagles were on top around the ground. With four goals to one in the second term, the Eagles took a 17-point lead into the rooms at half time.

The rain of Saturday, which hadn’t been as heavy in the north-west compared to the coast, had cleared by Sunday. There was nothing wrong with the conditions at Kanebridge Oval; the low scores were more a reflection of the tight tackling and defensive pressure. And there was plenty of that in the premiership quarter, as the Giants tried and succeeded in stopping the Eagle dominance of the second term and then tried to eke out some scoreboard pressure to get back into the game. The Giants won the quarter by two goals to one, cutting the margin back to nine points at the last change; but with memories of last year’s classic still fresh in everyone’s mind, this game was far from over.

A thrilling last quarter would see the Giants throw everything they had at the challenge. For much of the final term, the margin would be within a kick. Manly’s efforts to find the winning goals couldn’t be faulted, and they would penetrate the big sticks three times during the final term. But the Eagles had the answering goals, three of them, enough to prevent the Giants from taking the lead. And when the final siren sounded, the Eagles had taken a narrow 10-point win.

Aaron Savage, Damien Charleston and Andrew Browning picked up plenty of the ball for the Eagles, keeping the ball moving their way when the game was there to be won. For East Coast, it was a return to the winning list and a result that keeps them comfortably inside the top five.

Gareth Benbow, Eric Burke and James Brain were best for Manly, but it wasn’t enough to take the points. The draw in the early rounds hasn’t been kind to the Giants, who find themselves winless after round four; but that includes a bye and losses to the three teams that finished ahead of them last season. There’s plenty of time for the Giants to work their way up the ladder, but they’ll be coming from a long way behind.


The round was completed on ANZAC Day Monday, with the now traditional Picken Oval blockbuster as Wests played host to Pennant Hills. Before the match, there was a moving and respectful ANZAC ceremony, remembering and honouring those who have fought four our country. Lest we forget.

The match itself would be a closely-contested affair, although it didn’t look like that would be the case early. Pennant Hills, the defending champions, were hot favourites and there was little in the first quarter that suggested any deviation from the form lines was likely. The Demons were looking good around the ground, and with five goals to two and a 19-point lead, everything looked to be going to plan.

But when the teams switched ends for the second quarter, suddenly the Magpies lifted another gear and the clash became a contest. Demon runners who had plenty of the ball in the first term found themselves under constant pressure. Up forward, the Demons were missing shots they normally would have kicked; and the Magpies sensed an opportunity and pounced. Four goals to two reduced the margin to 11 points at the long break, and the Demons knew they had a fight on their hands.

The Magpies continued their resurgence in the third term. It wasn’t always pretty to watch, but the desperation and fighting spirit was carrying the Magpies to keep contesting every possession. The larger than normal crowd, with an increasingly vocal contingent sitting on the back of utes on the outer side, roared their approval as the game tightened. Scores were rare, the Magpies scoring two goals while holding the Demons to one; and just six points separated the sides at three quarter time.

For the home side, they had a sniff of pulling off the upset; and they threw everything they had at the defending champions in the last quarter. Twice they would goal, but the Demons came up with the answers both times; and the home side were unable to take the lead. In the end, the Demons got home by nine points, but they’d been made to earn the points by a gallant home side.

Aaron Crisfield, Tom Angel and Matt Carey were best for the Demons; putting their hand up and delivering the results when the game was in the balance. After going down in their first two games, the Demons now enter the top five for the first time in 2016.

For the Magpies, Ben Zoppo spearheaded the fightback up forwards to finish with four goals; while Martin Brown, Patrick Wilmot and James Bradley were ball magnets around the ground. The Magpies, while competitive in many of their games, are yet to taste the spoils of victory this season; but with plucky performances like they showed in this match, the breakthrough win is surely not too far away.



University of Technology 4.3 9.5 11.9 12.11 (83)

North Shore 2.2 3.3 5.4 7.9 (51)

Goals : UTS – D Breese 6, N Morling 2, S Tregoning 2, S Nethersole, B Jones. North Shore – W Taylor 2, W Blackburne 2, B Tebbutt, D Schacher, S Mason.

Best : UTS – B Hunt, Z Parsons, T Perks, A Herring, S Nethersole, D Breese. North Shore – S Mason, C Murphy, T Alexander, S Carruthers, W Bradley, J McKenzie.

At Trumper Park, Saturday 23rd April 2016.


St George 3.4 6.9 10.14 19.19 (133)

Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs 0.1 2.1 4.2 5.4 (34)

Goals : St George – N Ryan 5, P Sain 2, X Stevenson 2, D Lycakis 2, B Guthrie, J Mudge, D Donohue, D Cooper, K Anu, D Tomlins, T Martin, B Hodgson. UNSW-ES – T Chichester 2, S Wilson, J McKinley, E Kiel.

Best : St George – K Merson, T Martin, T Coenen, B Guthrie, D Tomlins, N Shaw. UNSW-ES – H Annear, J Daniher, J Deep, J Wachman, T Heath, T Chichester.

At Village Green, Saturday 23rd April 2016.


East Coast Eagles 2.2 6.4 7.5 10.8 (68)

Manly-Warringah 2.4 3.5 5.8 8.10 (58)

Goals : East Coast – A McConnell 3, Z Johns 2, M Eastman 2, B Joynson, M Skuse, T Baker. Manly – A Robertson 3, T McCaffrey 2, D Meadows, E Burke, L Behagg.

Best : East Coast – A Savage, D Charleston, A Browning, B Joynson, A McConnell, S Turner. Manly – G Benbow, E Burke, J Brain, H Koch, L Brain, J Weir.

At Kanebridge Oval, Sunday 24th April 2016.


Pennant Hills 5.4 7.9 8.12 10.16 (76)

Western Suburbs 2.3 6.4 8.6 10.7 (67)

Goals : Pennant Hills – N Cooper 2, J Dunn 2, T Angel 2, J Gourlay 2,T Widmer, S Wray. Wests – J Zoppo 4, J Robinson 2, P Maxwell, M Brown, D Polley, D Kannan.

Best : Pennant Hills – A Crisfield, T Angel, M Carey, T Edmonds, R Ediriwickrama, T Widmer. Wests – M Brown, P Wilmot, J Bradley, J Robinson, C Gordon, P Maxwell.

At Picken Oval, Monday 25th April 2016.


Division One:

Macquarie Uni 7.11 (53) d UTS 5.6 (36)

Pennant Hills 13.9 (87) d Holroyd-Parramatta 10.6 (66)

Sydney Uni 6.9 (45) d Balmain 3.8 (26)

St George 9.15 (69) d Southern Power 5.5 (35)

Western Magic 15.13 (103) d East Coast 6.5 (41)

Ladder – Macquarie Uni (16, 231.13%), Western Magic (12, 167.00%), St George (12, 157.87%), Sydney Uni (12, 97.33%), Holroyd-Parramatta (8, 123.62%), Pennant Hills (8, 106.44%), UTS (8, 96.00%), Balmain (4, 61.27%), Southern Power (0, 48.38%), East Coast (0, 40.90%).


Division Two:

North Shore 8.6 (54) d UTS 3.4 (22)

Camden 16.9 (105) d Western Suburbs 3.5 (23)

UNSW-ES 9.3 (57) d Penrith 6.7 (43)

Manly 8.14 (62) d Sydney Uni 3.4 (22)

South-West Sydney 16.20 (116) d Randwick City 4.6 (30)

Ladder – Camden (16, 463.25%), Manly (16, 164.94%), UNSW-ES (16, 138.48%), Penrith (8, 111.42%), North Shore (8, 81.96%), Sydney Uni (8, 56.76%), South-West Sydney (4, 100.68%), Wests (4, 93.00%), UTS (0, 44.81%), Randwick City (0, 37.86%).


Division Three:

Balmain 12.16 (88) d Penrith 2.3 (15)

Wollondilly 10.11 (71) d Holroyd-Parramatta 3.6 (24)

Pennant Hills 13.15 (93) d East Coast 3.5 (23)

NorWest 14.8 (92) d Campbelltown 7.7 (49)

Ladder – Pennant Hills (16, 470.37%), Wollondilly (16, 314.18%), Campbelltown (12, 278.05%), NorWest (12, 150.65%), Balmain (4, 61.67%), Penrith (4, 37.50%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 40.89%), East Coast (0, 14.83%).


Division Four:

UTS 13.6 (84) d North Shore 7.6 (48)

Macquarie Uni 13.11 (89) d Camden 5.9 (39)

UNSW-ES 13.16 (94) d Western Magic 2.3 (15)

St George 9.4 (58) d Southern Power 7.7 (49)

Sydney Uni 6.15 (51) d Manly 4.5 (29)

South-West Sydney v Randwick City – result not available

Ladder – Macquarie Uni (16, 565.98%), Camden (12, 168.90%), Sydney Uni (12, 140.20%), Manly (8, 181.33%), UNSW-ES (8, 134.33%), North Shore (8, 111.55%), UTS (8, 108.65%), Western Magic (8, 82.41%), St George (8, 80.47%), South-West Sydney (4, 58.85%), Southern Power (0, 38.27%), Randwick City (0, 7.66%).


Division Five:

Balmain 18.7 (115) d Camden 7.3 (45)

Macquarie Uni 10.10 (70) d UTS 4.14 (38)

Pennant Hills 20.20 (140) d Holroyd-Parramatta 1.2 (8)

UNSW-ES d Penrith – forfeit

NorWest 15.8 (98) d Campbelltown 10.8 (68)

South-West Sydney v Sydney Uni – result not available

Ladder – Pennant Hills (16, 507.81%), UNSW-ES (12, 247.62%), Macquarie Uni (12, 173.49%), NorWest (12, 163.83%), Campbelltown (12, 127.08%), Balmain (8, 144.17%), UTS (8, 96.90%), Sydney Uni (4, 110.44%), South-West Sydney (4, 84.95%), Penrith (4, 59.37%), Camden (0, 22.77%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 19.91%).


Under 19s One:

Pennant Hills 11.2 (68) d St George 5.13 (43)

UNSW-ES 10.9 (69) d Manly 3.3 (21)

North Shore 24.16 (160) d Camden 1.2 (8)

South Coast 12.6 (78) d East Coast 5.9 (39)

Ladder – North Shore (12, 394.32%), Sydney Uni (12, 196.24%), UNSW-ES (12, 110.09%), St George (8, 209.84%), South Coast (8, 124.15%), Pennant Hills (8, 86.19%), Manly (4, 63.73%), East Coast (0, 54.88%), Camden (0, 25.53%).


Under 19s Two:

St George d Holroyd-Parramatta – forfeit

Campbelltown 10.7 (67) d Western Magic 8.9 (57)

West Sydney Magpies 8.11 (59) d North Shore 6.11 (47)

Ladder – St George (12, 202.38%), Western Magic (8, 125.00%), Campbelltown (8, 74.53%), North Shore (4, 185.62%), West Sydney Magpies (4, 71.36%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 34.38%).


Women Premier Division:

Power Wolves 3.7 (25) d Macquarie Uni 1.1 (7)

UNSW-ES 8.13 (61) d Newtown 2.9 (21)

Sydney Uni 8.6 (54) d Auburn 1.1 (7)

Ladder - Sydney Uni (8, 1925.00%), UNSW-ES (8, 500.00%), Newtown (4, 217.28%), Power Wolves (4, 33.33%), Auburn (0, 12.92%), Macquarie Uni (0, 6.40%).


Women Division One:

Western Magic 19.27 (141) d Campbelltown 0.0 (0)

Penrith 13.6 (84) d UNSW-ES 2.3 (15)

Wollongong 13.12 (90) d Manly 1.1 (7)

UTS d South-West Sydney – forfeit

Pennant Hills 11.7 (73) d Wollondilly 4.7 (31)

Ladder – UTS (8, 616.67%), Penrith (8, 311.54%), Wollongong (4, 1285.71%), Western Magic (4, 228.21%), South-West Sydney (4, 157.14%), Pennant Hills (4, 125.56%), Manly (4, 50.77%), Campbelltown (4, 15.95%), Newtown (0, 84.62%), Wollondilly (0, 50.43%), UNSW-ES (0, 16.92%).





Premier Division:

Saturday 30th April

Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Western Suburbs (2:30pm)

Weldon Oval – Manly v Sydney Uni (2:30pm)

Olds Park – St George v East Coast (3pm)

Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v UNSW-ES (5pm)



Division One:

Saturday 30th April

Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v Southern Power (1pm)

Olds Park – St George v East Coast (1pm)

Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v Balmain (2pm)

Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v UTS (2pm)

Sunday 1st May

University Oval – Macquarie Uni v Sydney Uni (1pm)


Division Two:

Saturday 30th April

Weldon Oval – Manly v Camden (10:30am)

Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Western Suburbs (12:30pm)

Greygums Oval – Penrith v UTS (2:30pm)

Mahoney Park – UNSW-ES v Randwick City (2:30pm)

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v South-West Sydney (3pm)


Division Three:

Saturday 30th April

Greygums Oval – Penrith v East Coast (10:30am)

Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Balmain (10am)

Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v Norwest (11am)

Monarch Oval – Campbelltown v Wollondilly (3pm)


Division Four:

Saturday 30th April

Weldon Oval – Manly v Camden (8:30am)

Mortgage Oval – North Shore v Southern Power (10:30am)

Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v Randwick City (12pm)

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v UNSW-ES (1pm)

Olds Park – St George v South-West Sydney (5:30pm)

Sunday 1st May

University Oval – Macquarie Uni v UTS (11am)


Division Five:

Saturday 30th April

Greygums Oval – Penrith v Camden (8:30am)

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v Pennant Hills (11am)

Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v UTS (12pm)

Monarch Oval – Campbelltown v UNSW-ES (1pm)

Bensons Lane – NorWest v Balmain (2:30pm)

Sunday 1st May

University Oval – Macquarie Uni v South-West Sydney (9am)


Under 19s One:

Saturday 30th April

Olds Park – St George v East Coast (11am)

Weldon Oval – Manly v Sydney Uni (12:30am)

Mike Kenny Oval (Lower) – Pennant Hills v Camden (3pm)

Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v UNSW-ES (5:15pm)

BYE – South Coast.


Under 19s Two:

Saturday 30th April

Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Western Magic (8:30am)

Monarch Oval – Campbelltown v South-West Sydney (9am)

Olds Park – St George v North Shore (9am)


Women Premier Division:

Saturday 30th April

Mahoney Park – UNSW-ES v Auburn (12:30pm)

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v Power Wolves (5pm)

Sunday 1st May

University Oval – Macquarie Uni v Newtown (3pm)


Women Division One:

Saturday 30th April

Monarch Oval – Campbelltown v South-West Sydney (11am)

North Dalton Oval - Wollongong v Newtown (12pm)

Greygums Oval – Penrith v UTS (12:30pm)

Weldon Oval – Manly v Wollondilly (5:15pm)

Sunday 1st May

Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v Pennant Hills (10am)



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