AFL Sydney Round 5 Review


Article by Michael Shillito and Photo by Leigh Gazzard


Five rounds have been played so far this season, but the ladder is far from settled. After a round in which Manly enjoyed their first win and St George suffered their first defeat; for many clubs the season is intriguingly placed.


The fixture had given Manly a nightmare opening, drawn to play their first three games against the three teams that finished above them last season. Well beaten by St George and Pennant Hills, the Giants had then put up a very competitive performance against East Coast; but went into the last day of April still without a win as they hosted Sydney Uni at Weldon Oval. The Students had one win from their first three; but they were rested after last week’s bye.

But from the start, it was clear this was a day that Manly had come to play. It didn’t take long for them to assert themselves into every contest, and to deny the Students any easy use of the footy. The Giants had their mojo back, playing like their recent premiership sides did; hard at the ball, never giving the opposition a sniff. And the scoreboard reflected the Manly dominance as the Giants scored four goals, held Manly scoreless, and led by 26 points at quarter time.

The Students knew they had to lift, and they did during the second quarter. But this wasn’t going to be an easy day for them. The morning rain had cleared, but it was still sticky conditions; but the ball was sticking under the packs of players that were relentlessly forming. This was no quarter for the running players, but it was one the scrappers were getting stuck into. Only three times for the quarter would the goal umpires be called into action, all of them major scores. The Students managed two of them, but were still 20 points in arrears at the long break.

If there was to be any way back into the contest for Sydney Uni, they would need to make some inroads into the deficit during the premiership quarter. But they were unable to do so; and for the second time in the game were held scoreless for a quarter. The Giants didn’t find scoring easy either, and they only managed two goals themselves. But a 32-point margin at three quarter time was more than enough for it to be clear that the Giants would record their first win for the season.

The floodgates opened in the last quarter, as at last the Giants were enjoying that winning feeling. The pressure was off and now it was time to run and open up the game. The scoreboard ticked over in the last quarter, as the Giants scored five goals to one in the final term to run out with a convincing 58-point win.

Tom McCaffrey, Connor Pettersson and Harrison Koch dominated around the ground for Manly, playing key roles as the Giants climbed off the bottom of the ladder; and by enough to get their percentage ahead of Sydney Uni. Luke Vella, James Lewington and Jacob Swarts worked hard all afternoon for the Students; but it wasn’t their day.

The Giants and Students have one win apiece, and still find themselves two wins outside the top five; with a minute gap in percentage separating them on the ladder. But Manly’s win, and some easier games coming up, could give them the momentum to launch a winning streak and move their way back up. Sydney Uni, winless since the opening round, will be looking for something to kick-start their season.


Two teams expected to be thereabouts at the business end of the season faced off at Olds Park on Saturday afternoon when St George hosted East Coast. It would be a cracker of a contest. St George suffered their first defeat of the season; but not before taking up a massive challenge up to the Eagles.

Early on, it wasn’t looking like it would go down to the wire. The Eagles hit the ground running and got off to a flyer, dominating through the midfield and pumping the ball up forward with regularity. The Dragons were left to chase the contest, and although they did manage two goals, were well and truly outplayed by a rampant Eagles side intent on doing maximum damage. And up on the forward line, they couldn’t miss as they kicked seven straight goals for the quarter to lead by 27 points at the first change.

St George mentor Terry Mudge ripped into his charges at the first break, but there was to be no quick way back into this contest. The Eagles had been on fire, and it took the second quarter for the Dragons to stem the tide of possession that had been flowing so steadily East Coast’s way in the first term. The Dragons won the quarter by three goals to two, but there was still a 22-point margin in favour of the Eagles at the long break.

But when the teams returned from the rooms for the second half, one might have been forgiven for wondering if the teams had swapped jumpers during the break. Gone was the Eagles’ run that had so dominated the opening term, and they found themselves hassled out of every contest by the relentless drive of the Dragons. The Eagles were unable to record a score for the quarter. But at the other end, unlike the Eagles’ dominant quarter in the first, the Dragons’ goal-kicking radar wasn’t giving them reward for effort. A return of 2.5 for the quarter had cut the margin to five points; but momentum was running the Dragons’ way.

The three quarter time break gave the Eagles a chance to steady, but the last quarter would be a desperate battle of wills between two determined sides. The Eagles managed one goal, and the Dragons got it back. For much of the final term, the ball was camped in the Dragons’ attacking zone. Spurred on by a vocal crowd, the Eagles were holding on for dear life as St George threw everything at them, searching for the winner. Time was ticking down and repeatedly the Eagle defenders were putting themselves on the line to intercept, clear, tackle and deny the Dragons a score from any of the numerous chances they would create.

Finally the siren sounded. The Eagles had defended grimly, and managed to hold the Dragons out. But not without having had an amazing fight. In the end, the good start and getting the score on the board early would be the difference. On the ladder, both teams now have four wins from five matches; only St George’s superior percentage separates them on the ladder.

Andrew Browning, Dean Costello and Damien Charleston had been East Coast’s best; while the Dragons had excellent service all day from Xavier Stevenson, Tim Coenen and Blake Guthrie. It had been quite a game; and if those sides play again when we get to the finals, everyone will be hoping that contest is as good as what happened on Saturday.


It was Family Fun Day at Mortgage Choice Oval, and North Shore had pulled out all the stops for a big day of entertainment to go with their clash against Wests. Kids were taking on interactive sports, the farm animals were making plenty of noise, balloons were being held as the bubbles were being blown in the air. Plenty of local families made their way there to join in the fun; as a highly-successful initiative resulted in one of the biggest crowds for an AFL Sydney regular season clash in many a long year.

Meanwhile on the field, North Shore were having some fun of their own as they got off to a flying start against Wests. From the start, the midfield were finding plenty of room to move the ball up forward, and the players inside North Shore’s attacking 50 metre zone were given plenty of chances to shine. Not all the shots were successful, but five unanswered goals saw the Bombers hold a 36-point lead at quarter time.

The Magpies had been shell-shocked in the opening term, and there would be no way back into the contest for them. But they steadied the ship to some extend in the second quarter, lifting their work rate and the easy possessions the Bombers enjoyed in the opening term began to dry up. The play would be more evenly contested in the second quarter, and each side would score three goals. But with a 39-point lead in favour of North Shore at half time, the Magpies were clearly not going to win this one.

Into the premiership quarter, and the Bombers continued to attack. They weren’t always kicking straight, but Magpie incursions into their forward 50 were not frequent enough to stem the North Shore momentum. It hadn’t been a great quarter of footy, but the Bombers were easily the better side with three goals to two and holding a 48-point lead at three quarter time.

But the pressure of the Bombers was eased in the last quarter. They looked to be content to put their cue in the rack, and the Magpies responded by putting on their best quarter of footy for the season to date. The visitors were never going to win, but they managed to salvage some respectability in the final term; maybe building some momentum and restoring some self-belief for upcoming matches. Seven goals to three in favour of Wests reduced the final margin to 29 points.

Chris Murphy, Daniel Schacher and Brodie Tebbutt were ball magnets for North Shore, particularly during the early stages of the match as the Bombers put themselves into what would be an unbeatable position. For Wests, Ben Zoppo proved a handy target, especially during their last-quarter revival, to finish with five goals; while Patrick Wilmot, Josh Zoppo and Brenton Mumme had worked tirelessly all afternoon.

The Bombers sit inside the top five with three wins from four matches; while the Magpies are yet to record their first win for the season and will be desperate to regroup when they return to action after next week’s bye.


The round was completed with a twilight clash at Mike Kenny Oval; where Pennant Hills brought up their third win on the trot and kept UNSW-ES winless so far this season with a comfortable 49-point win.

The damage was done in the first quarter as the Demons took control of the game from the start and put on their most devastating football early. Six goals to one was a reflection of the one-sided nature of play around the ground, as the Demons were nearly always first to the ball and the Bulldogs were left to chase and defend and were given few opportunities to place the Demons under any pressure. And with a 34-point lead at quarter time, the Demons were looking strong.

The Bulldogs had been unable to get any form of coherent play going during the first quarter, but did better in the second. Players who had barely got a touch during the first quarter began to have more of an influence around the ground. But the Demons had the answer to any challenge the Bulldogs would throw up. Some more competitive play from the Bulldogs prevented the Demons from running away; but a quarter in which each team kicked four goals would finish with the Demons leading by 36 points.

Against all expectations, the Bulldogs won the third quarter. Their extraordinary accuracy with a return of 6.0 for the quarter helped, while the Demons were held to four goals. The Bulldogs had thrown caution to the wind and put their efforts into attacking and attempting to lay on some pressure; and received some strong reward for effort. The Demons were still 27 points ahead at the last change, but the Bulldogs had shown themselves capable of being competitive against one of the competition heavyweights.

But the Demons were never going to lose, and in the final term they again took control of the contest and refused to let the Bulldogs get any closer than they had. Four goals to one for the final term extended the final margin to 49 points, an easy enough win for the defending champions.

Jonathan Gourlay and Theo Moraitis formed an effective combination on the forward line to finish with five goals apiece; and along with Tom Angel were the best for the Demons. Jeremy Daniher, Thomas Chichester and Harrison Lee made prominent contributions for the Bulldogs.

With three wins from five games, the Demons sit in fifth place, two games clear of their nearest challenger; while the Bulldogs will be looking to regroup next week in search of their first win for the season.



Manly-Warringah 4.2 5.2 7.4 12.7 (79)

Sydney University 0.0 2.0 2.0 3.3 (21)

Goals : Manly – S Steele 3, A Robertson 3, J Pola-Smith 2, J Parker, D Meadows, J Brain, E Burke. Sydney Uni – J Lewington, G Smith, P Casey.

Best : Manly – T McCaffrey, C Pettersson, H Koch, C Johnston, J Lumsden, R Wearne. Sydney Uni – L Vella, J Lewington, J Swarts, G Smith, S Trevaskis, R Friend.

At Weldon Oval, Saturday 30th April 2016.


East Coast Eagles 7.0 9.3 9.3 10.6 (66)

St George 2.3 5.5 7.10 8.13 (61)

Goals : East Coast – D Costello 2, S Pierce 2, J Dimery, J Battistella, A McConnell, D Charleston, C Arndt, M Eastman. St George – N Kenny 2, D Cooper 2, X Stevenson 2, B Jones, K Merson.

Best : East Coast – A Browning, D Costello, D Charleston, K Emery, B Bourke, J Dimery. St George – X Stevenson, T Coenen, B Guthrie, K Merson, T Martin, N Ryan.

At Olds Park, Saturday 30th April 2016.


North Shore 5.7 8.11 11.15 14.20 (104)

Western Suburbs 0.1 3.2 5.3 12.3 (75)

Goals : North Shore – S Mason 3, B Tebbutt 2, W Taylor, N Hurrell, W Blackburne, D Schacher, K Latham, S Carruthers, S Lee-Steere, A Quail, J McKenzie. Wests – B Zoppo 5, B Mumme, D Kannan, C McEvoy-Grey, R Hinson, J Haggerty, J Etto, S Kruse.

Best : North Shore – C Murphy, D Schacher, B Tebbutt, S Carruthers, W Taylor, S Lee-Steere. Wests – P Wilmot, J Zoppo, B Mumme, J Bradley, J Etto, M Brown.

At Mortgage Choice Oval, Saturday 30th April 2016.


Pennant Hills 6.4 10.9 14.12 18.18 (126)

Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs 1.0 5.3 11.3 12.5 (77)

Goals : Pennant Hills – J Gourlay 5, T Moraitis 5, M Thomas 2, M Carey 2, N Low, J Dunn, N Cooper, T Angel. UNSW-ES – T Chichester 3, L O’Callaghan 3, J Kiel 2, H Lee, H Annear, S Sherwen, O Guhl.

Best : Pennant Hills – J Gourlay, T Moraitis, T Angel, J Hare, J Dunn, S Wray. UNSW-ES – J Daniher, T Chichester, H Lee, H Annear, J Wachman, F Rowe.

At Mike Kenny Oval, Saturday 30th April 2016.


Division One:

Southern Power 12.6 (78) d Pennant Hills 11.7 (73)

St George 14.15 (99) d East Coast 5.5 (35)

Balmain 13.7 (85) d Western Magic 9.12 (66)

UTS 13.16 (94) d Holroyd-Parramatta 9.3 (57)

Macquarie Uni 13.12 (90) d Sydney Uni 7.1 (43)

Ladder – Macquarie Uni (20, 226.29%), St George (16, 175.30%), Western Magic (12, 140.35%), UTS (12, 111.28%), Sydney Uni (12, 83.17%), Holroyd-Parramatta (8, 106.61%), Pennant Hills (8, 103.51%), Balmain (8, 74.00%), Southern Power (4, 58.29%), East Coast (0, 39.75%).


Division Two:

Camden 18.10 (118) d Manly 9.5 (59)

North Shore 10.6 (66) d Western Suburbs 8.1 (49)

Penrith 15.12 (102) d UTS 3.10 (28)

UNSW-ES 30.6 (186) d Randwick City 6.11 (47)

South-West Sydney 13.14 (92) d Sydney Uni 10.10 (70)

Ladder – Camden (20, 375.00%), UNSW-ES (20, 178.49%), Manly (16, 118.49%), Penrith (12, 140.08%), North Shore (12, 90.46%), South-West Sydney (8, 106.56%), Sydney Uni (8, 61.34%), Wests (4, 89.00%), UTS (0, 40.49%), Randwick City (0, 34.21%).


Division Three:

Penrith 21.15 (141) d East Coast 5.3 (33)

Holroyd-Parramatta 11.3 (69) d Balmain 6.7 (43)

Pennant Hills 11.4 (70) d NorWest 8.10 (58)

Wollondilly 12.11 (83) d Campbelltown 7.6 (48)

Ladder – Pennant Hills (20, 348.19%), Wollondilly (20, 276.92%), Campbelltown (12, 204.05%), NorWest (12, 134.88%), Penrith (8, 66.15%), Balmain (4, 61.79%), Holroyd-Parramatta (4, 52.93%), East Coast (0, 16.50%).


Division Four:

Camden 12.6 (78) d Manly 9.6 (60)

North Shore 16.17 (113) d Southern Power 5.5 (35)

Western Magic 19.21 (135) d Randwick City 0.2 (2)

Sydney Uni 12.14 (86) d UNSW-ES 4.7 (31)

St George 13.13 (91) d South-West Sydney 4.13 (37)

Macquarie Uni 14.5 (89) d UTS 9.4 (58)

Ladder – Macquarie Uni (20, 411.61%), Camden (16, 160.22%), Sydney Uni (16, 158.70%), North Shore (12, 137.41%), Western Magic (12, 128.08%), St George (12, 101.37%), Manly (8, 147.95%), UNSW-ES (8, 104.88%), UTS (8, 96.75%), South-West Sydney (8, 74.13%), Southern Power (0, 36.63%), Randwick City (0, 12.16%).


Division Five:

Penrith 14.13 (97) d Camden 6.2 (38)

Pennant Hill 24.10 (154) d Sydney Uni 2.3 (15)

UTS 7.11 (53) d Holroyd-Parramatta 6.14 (50)

UNSW-ES 18.10 (118) d Campbelltown 3.9 (27)

NorWest 22.14 (146) d Balmain 4.3 (27)

Macquarie Uni d South-West Sydney – forfeit

Ladder – Pennant Hills (20, 606.33%), UNSW-ES (16, 281.05%), NorWest (16, 202.67%), Macquarie Uni (16, 173.49%), UTS (12, 98.38%), Campbelltown (12, 87.42%), Balmain (8, 92.05%), Penrith (8, 78.70%), South-West Sydney (4, 84.95%), Sydney Uni (4, 64.29%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 27.96%), Camden (0, 25.42%).


Under 19s One:

St George 18.13 (121) d East Coast 4.3 (27)

Sydney Uni 17.7 (109) d Manly 4.6 (30)

Pennant Hills 14.13 (97) d Camden 8.5 (53)

North Shore 26.17 (173) d UNSW-ES 1.3 (9)

Ladder – North Shore (16, 536.08%), Sydney Uni (16, 226.99%), St George (12, 253.02%), Pennant Hills (12, 103.77%), UNSW-ES (12, 64.84%), South Coast (8, 124.15%), Manly (4, 50.66%), East Coast (0, 46.10%), Camden (0, 30.51%).


Under 19s Two:

Western Magic d Holroyd-Parramatta – forfeit

Campbelltown 7.11 (53) d West Sydney Magpies 5.14 (44)

North Shore 13.8 (86) d St George 2.9 (21)

Ladder – Western Magic (12, 125.00%), St George (12, 112.35%), Campbelltown (12, 90.23%), North Shore (8, 212.64%), West Sydney Magpies (4, 68.53%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 34.38%).


Women Premier Division:

UNSW-ES 16.15 (111) d Auburn 0.2 (2)

Sydney Uni 11.10 (76) d Power Wolves 3.2 (20)

Newtown 15.8 (98) d Macquarie Uni 2.1 (13)

Ladder – Sydney Uni (12, 821.43%), UNSW-ES (12, 788.57%), Newtown (8, 291.49%), Power Wolves (4, 30.48%), Macquarie Uni (0, 9.42%), Auburn (0, 9.06%).


Women Division One:

Western Magic 12.14 (86) d Pennant Hills 1.6 (12)

South-West Sydney 8.7 (55) d Campbelltown 1.0 (6)

UTS 18.12 (120) d Penrith 4.4 (28)

Manly 13.19 (97) d Wollondilly 0.1 (1)

Ladder – UTS (12, 502.17%), Wollongong (8, 1261.54%), Western Magic (8, 293.33%), South-West Sydney (8, 291.18%), Manly (8, 124.43%), Penrith (8, 110.47%), Pennant Hills (4, 71.02%), Campbelltown (4, 14.68%), Wollondilly (0, 28.04%), Newtown (0, 28.00%), UNSW-ES (0, 16.92%).






Premier Division:

Saturday 7th May

Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v UTS (2pm)

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v St George (2:15pm)

Henson Park – UNSW-ES v Manly (2:30pm)

Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Pennant Hills (2:30pm)

BYE – Western Suburbs.


Division One:

Saturday 7th May

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v St George (12pm)

Gwawley Oval – Southern Power v Holroyd-Parramatta (2:30pm)

Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v Pennant Hills (3pm)

University Oval – Macquarie Uni v Balmain (3pm)

Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v UTS (4:45pm)


Division Two:

Saturday 7th May

Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Sydney Uni (10:30am)

Village Green – UNSW-ES v Manly (12:30pm)

Pioneers Park – Randwick City v Western Suburbs (2:10pm)

Harrington Park – Camden v Penrith (3pm)

Rosedale Oval – South-West Sydney v UTS (5:30pm)


Division Three:

Saturday 7th May

Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Holroyd-Parramatta (10am)

Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v Campbelltown (12:30pm)

Bensons Lane – NorWest v Balmain (2:10pm)

Sunday 8th May

Hannaford Oval – Wollondilly v Penrith (2pm)


Division Four:

Saturday 7th May

Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Sydney Uni (8:30am)

Village Green – UNSW-ES v Randwick City (8:30am)

Gwawley Oval – Southern Power v Macquarie Uni (12:30pm)

Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v Manly (1pm)

Harrington Park – Camden v St George (1pm)

Rosedale Oval – South-West Sydney v UTS (3:30pm)


Division Five:

Saturday 7th May

Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v Campbelltown (10:30am)

Harrington Park – Camden v Holroyd-Parramatta (11am)

Bensons Lane – NorWest v Sydney Uni (12pm)

Rosedale Oval – South-West Sydney v UTS (1:30pm)

Mahoney Park – UNSW-ES v Balmain (2:10pm)

University Oval – Macquarie Uni v Penrith (5pm)


Under 19s One:

Saturday 7th May

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v South Coast (10am)

Village Green – UNSW-ES v St George (10:30am)

Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Manly (12pm)

Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Pennant Hills (12:30pm)


Under 19s Two:

Saturday 7th May

Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v St George (9am)

Rosedale Oval – West Sydney Magpies v Holroyd-Parramatta (11:30am)

Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Campbelltown (5:15pm)


Women Premier Division:

Saturday 7th May

Gwawley Oval – Power Wolves v UNSW-ES (10:30am)

Mahoney Park – Newtown v Sydney Uni (12pm)

University Oval – Macquarie Uni v Auburn (1pm)


Women Division One:

Saturday 7th May

Rosedale Oval – South-West Sydney v Wollongong (9:30am)

Mahoney Park – Newtown v UNSW-ES (10am)

Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v Manly (11am)

Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v Campbelltown (2:30pm)

Sunday 8th May

Hannaford Oval – Wollondilly v Penrith (4pm)



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