AFL Sydney Round 13 Preview
AFL Sydney Round 13 Preview
The BLK Sydney AFL Premier Division is now officially in the run into finals. As the ladder begins to separate a little, it has also created battles within the war as teams are skirmishing for the second chance as well as the final spot in the top five. With six rounds remaining (and a wet weather make-up match from the ‘Stormageddon’ Round 9) the competition is certainly heating up. With this weekend’s forecast looking wet and cold we should expect a few wet weather slogs.
This week’s match of the round will almost certainly be when the St George Dragons take on the UTS Bats in a match that may decide the top two. Both St George and the UTS Bats are level on 7 wins a piece and are only separated by percentage. These two teams have arguably been the surprise packages of the year in the Premier Division and have emerged as genuine Premiership contenders. The UTS Bats lead by Senior Coach Nic Fosdike have surged up the ladder after finishing in 6th last year and missing out on the finals. Many pundits (including this onlooker) had tipped UTS to be in the race again for the 5th spot on the ladder but they have shown their perseverance and quality this year as they have put their hand up as a team to beat. David Smith and Daniel Breese have been in sensational form and at this stage of the season. Much has been written about Daniel Breese’s season and for good reason, the 33 year old is having one of the best years of his playing career. Breese is on track to smash his previous best goal tally of 35 goals which he kicked back in 2006 when he was playing for Lilydale in the EFL (Eastern Football League) as he currently sits in equal first spot for the top goal kicker this year with 31 goals. With six games remaining can Breese keep going? David Smith has also been in some great form this year after joining the UTS Bats in the off season. Smith has been an invaluable inclusion to the UTS line up after moving up to Sydney from the Tuggeranong Hawks in the AFL Canberra competition. Playing up on the half forward line this year he has been able to hit the scoreboard as well as set up crucial goals for the Bats.
St George have also been a team to surprise us this year. Although the powerhouse of the South finished in 4th last season they looked as though they would be hard pressed to be able to match it with the top 3 teams in the league. But this year St George look like the real deal and on their day could beat anyone. Last weekend they were unlucky to lose to East Coast in what was undoubtedly one of the best games of local football the Sydney competition has seen in a few seasons. Travis Martin, Karl Merson, Blake Guthrie and Xavier Stevenson have all been in sensational form this year for the Dragons and look to push for a spot in the AFL Sydney team of the year. The inform big man of the Competition, Travis Martin has been dominate this year. His taps have been influential to the St George mids, providing them with plenty of ball. Prediction: St George by 11 points
East Coast will again be looking to push further ahead on the Premier Division ladder as the Eagles host Sydney University at Kanebridge this weekend. The Eagles will almost certainly finish as minor premiers now after their hard fought victory against the Dragons last weekend. They will take on a depleted Sydney University outfit who in the middle of Uni break may struggle to match it with the Eagles. It’s been an interesting year for Sydney Uni. Entering Round 13 they have had only two wins for the season. One of the real shining lights this year has been young Allister Clarke. The 20 year old half back flanker has impressed this year with his speed and ball winning ability and has been one of Sydney University’s most consistent players. This weekend we will also see a few new faces in the Sydney University line up as Tom Whittaker makes his Premier Division debut. ‘Twits’ as he is affectionately known will provide plenty of run of the half back line and wing.
The Eagles have been superb this year as they have again proven to be one of the strongest teams in Sydney. Andrew McConnell, Jack Dimery, Kieran Emery and Stuart Turner have all been in great form for the Eagles and have been a big reason the Eagles have been so far ahead of the pack again this year. This group of players have all been influential over at East Coast for a few years now and are some of the league’s best. Prediction: East Coast by 80 points
The Manly Warringah Giants will be hoping to sneak into the top five this weekend as they host the Western Suburbs Magpies. Manly will go into this match feeling quietly confident after they successfully beat the Magpies in Round 8 by 24 points. Manly have really come along since their troubles early season. They started the season slowly, losing their first 3 matches of the season but finally broke through in Round 5 with a big win over Sydney University. Harrison Koch has been one of the best players for Manly so far this year with the defender featuring strongly for Manly each week. This is Koch’s 5th season for the Manly Warringah Giants and it is looking like one of his best yet. Western Suburbs Magpies will again be looking to get a win in what is shaping up to looking like a wet affair. The Kannan brothers however will be huge outs as Tom and Dom leave the squad this weekend. Ben Zoppo may struggle to hit the score board in the wet but expect him to set up some key play further up the ground. Prediction: Manly Warringah by 11
UNSW and Pennant Hills will do battle on Saturday afternoon as UNSW look to keep their finals chances alive. Pennant Hills however will have different plans as they look to stabilise their position in the top 5. UNSW will be boosted by the shock inclusion of Ben Davis, brother of the Sydney Swans Abe Davis, in his first game of Premier Division this weekend. The tall CHF will look to impress in what may be a wet but fast game but will defiantly add value to the UNSW forward line. The unlucky out for the kid is Harry sleigh who impressed last week and has now been named as the first emergency. He was still to be dropped but if he plays a good game in the two’s expect him to feature again before the season is out. The Demons will be hoping their experienced midfield brigade of Tim Wales and Dell’Aquila looking to win plenty of ball. Prediction: Pennant Hills by 23
Author wishes to remain anonymous