AFL Sydney Round 6 Review


Article by Michael Shillito, Photo by Leigh Gazzard 


We’re a third of the way through the home and away season, and there’s a logjam of teams at the top of the ladder. There are no undefeated teams, four teams have only lost once; and two of those teams were not in last year’s finals. Defending champions Pennant Hills hang on to fifth spot, but Manly are ready to pounce after a slow start.


All of the Premier Division matches were played on Saturday afternoon, amid a backdrop of smoke from back-burning operations; and with no wind to speak of for much of the day, visibility was affected before it became cold and dark earlier than normal for this time of year.


North Shore have had quite a resurgence this season, and underlined their credentials as genuine finals contenders when they claimed the scalp of defending champions Pennant Hills at Mortgage Choice Oval. There was plenty of glitz and glamour in the crowd as North Shore celebrated Ladies Day, but it was on the field that the club made their most emphatic statement.

The Bombers burst out of the blocks in the opening term, and it wasn’t long before the scoreboard was ticking over. The North Shore forwards were looking dangerous, Sam Mason in particular taking a series of marks against minimal resistance from the Demon defenders. Some inaccurate kicking at goal prevented the Bombers from gaining full reward for effort, but four unanswered goals and a 28-point quarter time lead was a good start for the Bombers.

North Shore was on top at quarter time, and threatening to run away with the contest. But the Demons slowed the Bomber charge in the second term, tightening the game up and preventing the Bombers from getting the loose runners that had wreaked so much havoc in the first quarter. Three goals to two in favour of the Demons reduced the margin to 18 points at the long break.

Hopes of an upset were high in the Bomber camp. But the Demons can play like heartbreakers; they stand their ground and they don’t back down. And in the third quarter the defending premiers threw everything they had at the challenge. James Dunn proved a handy target up forward as the Demon midfield lifted their game; and with the first four goals of the third quarter within 12 minutes, the Demons had taken the lead.

That lead was short-lived as Wayd Blackburne soon slotted his third goal through the big sticks; but the momentum had swung. The Bombers were forced to defend against a relentless tide from the Demons that would net them five goals to two for the quarter, and the Demons were back in front by a point as the three quarter time siren rang.

The game was in the balance, and there were no shortage of listeners in at the huddles as North Shore’s Ryan Meldrum and Pennant Hills’ Chris Yard addressed their charges. But the break gave the Bombers a chance to regroup, and the ball wasted little time in making its way to the North Shore forward line when play resumed. A string of behinds gave the Bombers the lead before Will Taylor weaved his way through traffic to find the big sticks extend the advantage. Danny Roberts landed his third game and the Bombers were all but home. The Demons continued to press as the quarter unfolded, but were unable to score a goal; and the Bombers hung on for a 10-point win.

It was a result to celebrate for North Shore, who have now claimed the scalps of both of last year’s Grand Finalists. Sam Mason, Sam Carruthers and Will Taylor were dominant forces for the Bombers, who have shown themselves worthy of challenging against the best in the league. The Demons were well served by the efforts of Tim Wales, Damian Dell’Aquila and Tim Edmonds; but their third loss for the season is one that will shock them. And with a bye before the wet weather catch-up weekend, it will be several weeks before the Demons get an opportunity to get their season back on track.


UTS are the other big improver this season. The Bats suffered their first loss of the year, but not before they gave East Coast Eagles a massive fright at Kanebridge Oval.

The lead changed several times in an entertaining first quarter, as two of the competition’s form teams searched for the edge they had over the other but neither was able to establish themselves as a dominant force. The quarter finished with the Bats kicking four goals to three and leading by five points at the first change.

The Eagles found themselves under pressure, as the Bats lifted their workrate in the second term. The UTS side were putting themselves on the line and preventing the Eagles from getting the run and easy possessions they love so much. A keenly-fought and sometimes physical second term saw the Bats score three goals to two, opening up a nine-point lead at the long break.

For the home side, they knew they had a fight on their hands. But when they emerged from the rooms for the second half, they came out firing. Players who had been well held in the first half began to emerge from their shells and make a bigger contribution to the Eagle cause. But the scoreboard stubbornly refused to move, as some missed shots made the Eagle comeback harder than it should have been. But the weight of possession eventually took its toll, with three goals to two; and the UTS lead was cut to one point at the last change.

The tide had turned, and the Eagles had seized the momentum. Taking the lead early in the last quarter, they would not be stopped. It wasn’t high scoring, just three goals to one, but the Eagles had the ball under control and there was no way back for the Bats. It had been an impressive start to the season to have been undefeated until now, but the unbeaten run ended here as the Eagles had done enough to record a 14-point win.

Andrew Browning, Rowan Bilkey and Stuart Turner were ball magnets for the Eagles, spearheading their second-half comeback. The Bats received solid service all afternoon from Brad Hunt, Anthony Herring and Thomas Perks. Both sides have only lost one game this season, and are well placed to be there at the business end of the season; and if they were to meet in the finals, it could well be a hard-fought battle like this match.


St George, after suffering their first loss last week, returned to the winners’ list at Sydney Uni No 1 on Saturday afternoon when they were 50 points too good for Sydney Uni.

The Dragons looked to get off to a strong start, and attacked hard in the opening quarter; taking advantage of the small ground where it’s only one kick from the centre square to deep in the forward line. But the Students weren’t going away without a fight, and were although the Dragons were easily the stronger team, the Students were also playing direct footy and keeping themselves within striking distance. The quarter went five goals to three in favour of the Dragons, giving them a 15-point lead at quarter time; but the Students were far from beaten.

But the Dragons had a lead, and it was up to the Students to peg the lead back. They made a good fist of it during the second term, matching it around the ground with the Dragons and creating plenty of chances for their forwards. At times it was very physical; and at one stage the Students rallied with a few quick goals to raise hopes among the Students faithful of a comeback. In the end it was three goals apiece, with the Students winning the quarter and cutting the margin to 13 points at half time. The Dragons still ahead, but Sydney Uni showing they had come to play.

But in the premiership quarter, where games are won and lost, the Dragons put the game out of the Students’ reach. It was a slow and steady performance, starving the Students out of possession and keeping the ball in their forward zone for long periods of time where the weight of possession took its toll. Four goals to one for the quarter was enough to extend the margin to 35 points and there was no doubt in the mind of anyone at the ground that the Dragons had done enough to take the points.

And so it would be in the last quarter. It wasn’t a quarter of football that would reach any great heights, but three goals to one was enough to extend the final winning margin to 50 points and deliver a boost in percentage for the Dragons.

Blake Guthrie, Ryan Mercer and Tim Coenen featured prominently for St George, who sit as one of four teams to have lost a single game this year and are well-placed with an impressive percentage. Matt Powys, Luke Vella and Allister Clarke were ball magnets for Sydney Uni; but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Students from crashing to their fourth straight loss. Winless since the opening round, the Students will need a quick turnaround in form if they are still to entertain hopes of playing in their third finals series in a row.


Manly travelled to the Village Green to take on UNSW-ES and returned with the premiership points after a comfortable 66-point win on Saturday afternoon.

The Bulldogs are yet to taste victory this season, and even early on it was hard to see that would change. Although they put in plenty of effort, and managed to score the occasional goal, the Giants looked to have the edge around the ground and more than matched any resistance the Bulldogs would throw their way. With five goals to two in the opening term, and an 18-point quarter time lead, they were looking set.

It set a pattern for the game that would not change for the rest of the afternoon. Anything the Bulldogs could do was met with a virtually instant reply, and the Giants would steadily increase the margin as the afternoon progressed. The second term saw the Giants score five goals to three, the margin out to 32 points at the long break; and there was no way back for the Bulldogs.

The third term saw Manly playing hard footy, tackling with intensity, refusing to concede any easy touches. And the Bulldogs struggled to get hold of the ball, unable to do anything with it. With four goals to one for the quarter, the Giants had stretched the lead out to 48 points at three quarter time.

The pressure was off in the last quarter, and it was time for the Giants to relax and enjoy the spoils of victory. It was a quarter for the runners and the forwards, the floodgates opening and the ball moving more freely from end to end. The result of the game was decided, but it was time to entertain and play some more free-flowing footy. And with six goals to three, the Giants were just as effective with the attacking footy as they had been defensively in the third term.

In the end, the final margin was 66 points. Connor Pettersson, Levi Brain and Calum Johnston were pivotal to the win, picking up a heap of ball for the Giants. After a slow start to the year, two wins on the trot sees them within sight of the top five; but another tough opponent awaits as the Giants face North Shore at Weldon Oval next week.

For UNSW-ES, Jeremy Daniher, Thomas Chichester and Joel Robbie worked hard all day. But it wasn’t enough to avoid another heavy defeat; and the Bulldogs will have some more work to do at training this week before having another crack at their first win for the season when they play Sydney Uni next Saturday.



North Shore 4.6 6.6 8.7 10.12 (72)

Pennant Hills 0.2 3.6 8.8 8.14 (62)

Goals : North Shore – W Blackburne 3, D Roberts 3, W Taylor, S Mason, E Strudwick, K Latham. Pennant Hills – J Dunn 3, M Carey, A Crisfield, K Wright, J Gourlay, T Edmonds.

Best : North Shore – S Mason, S Carruthers, W Taylor, B Tebbutt, E Strudwick, C Parsons. Pennant Hills – T Wales, D Dell’Aquila, T Edmonds, M Thomas, T Angel, M Carey.

At Mortgage Choice Oval, Saturday 7th May 2016.


East Coast Eagles 3.4 5.8 8.12 11.15 (81)

University of Technology 4.3 7.5 9.7 10.7 (67)

Goals : East Coast – R Bilkey 3, J Battistella 2, Z Johns 2, D Costello, M Skuse, S Turner, A McConnell. UTS – S Tregoning 2, D Breese 2, S Dadswell 2, T Larby 2, P Brennan, B Nethersole.

Best : East Coast – A Browning, R Bilkey, S Turner, A McConnell, J Dimery, Jon Vlatko. UTS – B Hunt, A Herring, T Perks, S Tregoning, R Bates, S Dadswell.

At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 7th May 2016.


St George 5.5 8.7 12.13 15.18 (108)

Sydney University 3.2 6.6 7.8 8.10 (58)

Goals : St George – N Ryan 3, A Wynn 3, D Napper 2, B Jones 2, D Donohue, E Shaw, T Coenen, X Stevenson. Sydney Uni – R Friend 2, L Vella 2, X Nelson, J Lewington, T Elkington, S Trevaskis.

Best : St George – B Guthrie, R Mercer, T Coenen, D Napper, A Wynn, X Stevenson. Sydney Uni – M Powys, L Vella, A Clarke, L Maples, R Kennedy, X Nelson.

At Sydney Uni No 1 Oval, Saturday 7th May 2016.


Manly-Warringah 5.4 10.8 14.9 20.12 (132)

Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs 2.4 5.6 7.9 9.12 (66)

Goals : Manly – T McCaffrey 3, C Pettersson 3, J Pola-Smith 3, D Meadows 3, S Wicks 2, J Osborne 2, S Steele, E Burke, C D’Souza, L Brain. UNSW-ES – T Chichester 3, S Sherwen 2, E Kiel 2, H Lee, J McAnespie.

Best : Manly – C Pettersson, L Brain, C Johnston, E Burke, J Osborne, D Meadows. UNSW-ES – J Daniher, T Chichester, J Robbie, J Deep, H Annear, S Sherwen.

At Village Green, Saturday 7th May 2016.


Division One:

Sydney Uni 7.11 (53) drew St George 7.11 (53)

Southern Power 12.11 (83) drew Holroyd-Parramatta 13.5 (83)

Western Magic 16.3 (99) d Pennant Hills 7.5 (47)

Macquarie Uni 10.10 (70) d Balmain 3.6 (24)

UTS 20.17 (137) d East Coast 2.1 (13)

Ladder – Macquarie Uni (24, 233.49%), St George (18, 162.17%), UTS (16, 156.67%), Western Magic (16, 150.30%), Sydney Uni (14, 85.60%), Holroyd-Parramatta (10, 105.34%), Pennant Hills (8, 90.93%), Balmain (8, 67.38%), Southern Power (6, 64.99%), East Coast (0, 33.01%).


Division Two:

North Shore 14.10 (94) d Sydney Uni 6.7 (43)

UNSW-ES 22.10 (142) d Manly 6.8 (44)

Western Suburbs 11.12 (78) d Randwick City 9.9 (63)

Penrith 10.10 (70) d Camden 8.5 (53)

South-West Sydney 10.13 (73) d UTS 9.8 (62)

Ladder – UNSW-ES (24, 198.14%), Camden (20, 289.84%), Penrith (16, 138.67%), North Shore (16, 106.34%), Manly (16, 89.86%), South-West Sydney (12, 108.18%), Wests (8, 94.89%), Sydney Uni (8, 58.30%), UTS (0, 47.20%), Randwick City (0, 39.25%).


Division Three:

Holroyd-Parramatta 16.16 (112) d East Coast 4.7 (31)

Pennant Hills 18.15 (123) d Campbelltown 7.9 (51)

NorWest 19.14 (128) d Balmain 4.5 (29)

Wollondilly 17.16 (118) d Penrith 4.3 (27)

Ladder – Pennant Hills (24, 323.04%), Wollondilly (24, 297.61%), NorWest (16, 161.82%), Campbelltown (12, 150.00%), Holroyd-Parramatta (8, 73.80%), Penrith (8, 57.14%), Balmain (4, 51.71%), East Coast (0, 18.01%).


Division Four:

Sydney Uni 16.11 (107) d North Shore 7.6 (48)

UNSW-ES 19.12 (126) d Randwick City 2.3 (15)

Macquarie Uni 14.14 (98) d Southern Power 4.5 (29)

Western Magic 11.5 (71) d Manly 4.9 (33)

Camden 14.7 (91) d St George 11.8 (74)

South-West Sydney v UTS – result not available

Ladder – Macquarie Uni (24, 400.00%), Sydney Uni (20, 169.78%), Camden (20, 152.19%), Western Magic (16, 136.92%), UNSW-ES (12, 141.39%), North Shore (12, 112.21%), St George (12, 96.61%), Manly (8, 125.08%), UTS (8, 97.75%), South-West Sydney (8, 74.13%), Southern Power (0, 35.49%), Randwick City (0, 12.12%).


Division Five:

Pennant Hills d Campbelltown – forfeit

Camden 21.26 (152) d Holroyd-Parramatta 1.8 (14)

NorWest 17.8 (110) d Sydney Uni 9.10 (64)

UTS 15.4 (94) d South-West Sydney 8.3 (51)

UNSW-ES d Balmain – forfeit

Penrith 17.11 (113) d Macquarie Uni 6.10 (46)

Ladder – Pennant Hills (24, 754.43%), UNSW-ES (20, 350.33%), NorWest (20, 196.63%), Macquarie Uni (16, 162.50%), UTS (16, 110.58%), Campbelltown (12, 123.87%), Penrith (12, 77.47%), Balmain (8, 69.68%), Sydney Uni (4, 62.78%), Camden (4, 49.51%), South-West Sydney (4, 40.90%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 23.52%).


Under 19s One:

Sydney Uni 9.8 (62) d South Coast 8.8 (56)

St George 13.13 (91) d UNSW-ES 12.9 (81)

East Coast 12.16 (88) d Manly 8.6 (54)

North Shore 16.4 (100) d Pennant Hills 6.8 (44)

Ladder – North Shore (20, 439.72%), Sydney Uni (20, 197.26%), St George (16, 203.48%), Pennant Hills (12, 88.52%), UNSW-ES (12, 69.31%), South Coast (8, 117.11%), East Coast (4, 58.65%), Manly (4, 53.08%), Camden (0, 30.51%).


Under 19s Two:

St George 11.14 (80) d Western Magic 5.9 (39)

West Sydney Magpies 15.10 (100) d Holroyd-Parramatta 6.8 (44)

North Shore 15.12 (102) d Campbelltown 6.9 (45)

Ladder – St George (16, 159.81%), North Shore (12, 215.53%), Western Magic (12, 132.31%), Campbelltown (12, 77.09%), West Sydney Magpies (8, 89.70%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 25.91%).


Women Premier Division:

UNSW-ES 10.10 (70) d Power Wolves 4.1 (25)

Sydney Uni 8.8 (56) d Newtown 5.6 (36)

Macquarie Uni 2.8 (20) d Auburn 1.5 (11)

Ladder – UNSW-ES (16, 576.67%), Sydney Uni (16, 446.88%), Newtown (8, 206.67%), Power Wolves (4, 31.91%), Macquarie Uni (4, 17.52%), Auburn (0, 11.76%).


Women Division One:

Wollongong 19.9 (123) d South-West Sydney 1.0 (6)

Newtown 7.6 (48) d UNSW-ES 1.2 (8)

Western Magic 11.17 (83) d Manly 5.2 (32)

Pennant Hills 6.11 (47) d Campbelltown 1.0 (6)

Penrith 19.24 (138) d Wollondilly 0.1 (1)

Ladder – Wollongong (12, 1510.53%), UTS (12, 713.04%), Western Magic (12, 284.43%), Penrith (12, 189.60%), Pennant Hills (8, 94.51%), Manly (8, 91.12%), South-West Sydney (8, 41.34%), Newtown (4, 70.37%), Campbelltown (4, 14.34%), Wollondilly (0, 17.33%), UNSW-ES (0, 16.87%).





Premier Division:

Saturday 14th May

Trumper Park – UTS v St George (12pm)

Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Western Suburbs (2pm)

Weldon Oval – Manly v North Shore (2:30pm)

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v UNSW-ES (3pm)

BYE – Pennant Hills.


Division One:

Saturday 14th May

Trumper Park – UTS v St George (10am)

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v Western Magic (11am)

Mahoney Park – Balmain v Pennant Hills (2:30pm)

Gipps Road Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Macquarie Uni (3pm)

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


Division Two:

Saturday 14th May

Weldon Oval – Manly v North Shore (12:30pm)

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

Waverley Oval – UTS v Camden (1pm)

Greygums Oval – Penrith v Randwick City (2:30pm)

Picken Oval – Western Suburbs v South-West Sydney (2:30pm)


Division Three:

Saturday 14th May

Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Campbelltown (10am)

Greygums Oval – Penrith v NorWest (10:30am)

Gipps Road Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Pennant Hills (11am)

Mahoney Park – Balmain v Wollondilly (12:30pm)


Division Four:

Saturday 14th May

Weldon Oval – Manly v North Shore (8:30am)

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v Western Magic (9am)

Waverley Oval – UTS v Camden (11am)

Pioneers Park – Randwick City v St George (11:40am)

University Oval – Macquarie Uni v UNSW-ES (3pm)

Sunday 15th May

Rosedale Oval – South-West Sydney v Southern Power (1pm)


Division Five:

Saturday 14th May

Blacktown ISP – Sydney Uni v UNSW-ES (8:30am)

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

Waverley Oval – UTS v Camden (9am)

Gipps Road Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Macquarie Uni (1pm)

Monarch Oval – Campbelltown v South-West Sydney (2pm)

Mahoney Park – Balmain v Pennant Hills (4:30pm)


Under 19s One:

Saturday 14th May

Weldon Oval – Manly v North Shore (10:30am)

Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Camden (12pm)

Blacktown ISP – Sydney Uni v St George (2pm)

North Dalton Oval – South Coast v UNSW-ES (6:15pm)

BYE – Pennant Hills.


Under 19s Two:

Saturday 14th May

Gipps Road Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v North Shore (9am)

Monarch Oval – Campbelltown v Western Magic (12pm)

Picken Oval – West Sydney Magpies v St George (12:30pm)


Women Premier Division:

Saturday 14th May

Mahoney Park – Newtown v UNSW-ES (10:30am)

Mona Park – Auburn v Power Wolves (2pm)

Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v Macquarie Uni (5:30pm)


Women Division One:

Saturday 14th May

Mahoney Park – Newtown v South-West Sydney (8:30am)

Greygums Oval – Penrith v Pennant Hills (12:30pm)

Trumper Park – UTS v Wollondilly (2:30pm)

North Dalton Oval – Wollongong v UNSW-ES (4:15pm)

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

BYE – Western Magic.


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