Div Two Edged Out In Round One Thriller
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By Dave Hourn
After a tough 2013 season CP's Division Two team put in a spirited performance but couldn't get the season off to the winning start they craved against the UTS Bats at Mahoney Park.
After six years of sustained success and stability, last year saw a host of retirements and injuries which resulted in a massive rebuild for the middle grade of the club. The end result of this was only five players who played in the 2012 grand final went out on the field for Round 1, 2014 including the much welcomed return of Mitchell Brown who missed all of 2013 with a shoulder injury.
There were some encouraging signs for the guys on the weekend but were ultimately let down by some slow starts to each quarter.
Each time the dogs were able to stem the tide, and even took the lead during the third quarter after being nearly 3 goals down during the second, but the fourth quarter proved once too many when UTS kicked 3 goals in the first 5 minutes and UNSW-ES couldn't pull them back in eventually going down 12.13 (85) – 10.9 (69).
The match was a game of multiple small momentum shifts, but neither team ever truly able to run right on top of the other. UTS got the most dangerous break of the game in the second quarter with the margin getting out to 20 points before the dogs showed true grit to peg back the bats and head to half time down 8.5 (53) – 7.3 (45). The run and dash from Michael Appleford on the wing and Huge Goode of the back flank during this period a real highlight.
The third quarter saw the bulldogs putting UTS under immense pressure and spent most of the term camped in the attacking half of the field with Aaron Horse Bantoff showing why he is one of the premier ruckmen in Division Two.
During the term UNSW-ES temporarily hit the lead by a point and it was only some desperate defence from the bats that prevented our guys from putting a bit of breathing space on the scoreboard. Going to the final break the score was 62-61 in the bats favour and a thriller at Mahoney was shaping up.
With the match on the line, it was the boys from Trumper Park who came out with all the energy and kicked three goals within the first five minutes of the final quarter. With both teams tiring in the heat the dogs were left with a lot of work to get back into the game, and were potentially facing what would have been an undeserved thrashing.
But to the guys credit they stuck with it and kept UTS goalless for the rest of the game, and kicked the final goal themselves but the early final term flurry was enough to win the game by 16 points.
An encouraging performance soured with a serious finger injury to backline general and club vice president Mark MacDonald. Bring on defending champions Sydney University next weekend.
UNSW-ES 2.3 (15) 7.3 (45) 9.7 (61) 10.9 (69)
UTS 3.0 (18) 8.5 (53) 9.8 (62) 12.13 (85)
Goals: Zac Morcillo 2, Aaron Horse Bantoff 2, John Hook 2, Chris Peters, Ashton Wright, Mark Sparky Bryan, Hamish McLean
Best: Hugo Goode, Mark Sparky Bryan, Michael Appleford, Zac Morcillo, Ashtan Wright, Chris Peters