WEEK TWO FINALS REVIEW – Men’s Premier Division
Sydney University vs. North Shore Bombers
Sydney University – 3.8 7.10 9.13 10.21 (81)
North Shore – 0.0 2.1 3.3 4.3 (27)
Goals : Sydney Uni – H Morrison 2, K Murphy, M Mahady, W Stratford, J Swarts, D Johnson, M Fogarty, J Cole, M Powys. North Shore – Z Fyffe 2, N Campbell, K Latham.
Best : Sydney Uni – A Clarke, M Fogarty, K Murphy, A Sierakowski, N Foster, L Vella. North Shore – N Campbell, Z Fyffe, S Barkley, W Bradley, D Schacher, H MacDonald.
The Second Semi-Final was played on Saturday evening at Blacktown between Sydney University and North Shore.
One of the big questions leading into the game was whether the Students were under-done. Having had almost three weeks off due to an abandoned game, a bye and then the earned finals week off, it meant they were going into the game with 20 minutes of footy under their belt. But as the game got under way, it was the Bombers who were rusty and the Students who had winning momentum behind them.
It was an explosive start for the Students, adding three goals on the board within 10 minutes. They could have added to that tally as the quarter went on, but missed some shots that they normally would have expected to kick.
The Bombers were unable to trouble the scorers in the first term, and the Students took a 26-point lead to quarter time.
The Bombers made a fleeting revival midway through the second term with two goals in quick succession, but the Students ruthlessly put down any comeback hopes with three more goals in the blink of an eye.
Sydney University was fresh, fit and firing, hitting their targets with efficiency. In contrast, the Bombers were uncharacteristically flat and struggling to make any impact at all. The Bombers were trailing by 39 points and in deep trouble.
The third term would yield two goals to one in favour of the Students, though it was not a quarter of footy that offered any great inspiration. It was a quarter in which the Students firmed their position and did what they needed to do to ensure the Bombers had no way back. The Students led by 46 points at three quarter time, and a spot in the Grand Final was all but assured.
The last quarter would see each team score one goal before the contest fizzled out. The Students had complete control, and could have added further to their goal-kicking tally but for some wasteful finishing on the forward line.
The Bombers had little to offer on their forward line, as their forwards ran to the other end chasing a kick. But Sydney University were on show and the Students were happy to play out time, with the final siren granting them a 54-point win.
Front-runners all season, the Students continued to set the pace for the league as they comfortably made their way through to the Grand Final – their first at Premier Division level since 2010.
Allister Clarke, Michael Fogarty and Kane Murphy were the Students’ best, but it was hard to find a player in the blue and gold hoops who didn’t play their role efficiently.
Jack Campbell, Zac Fyffe and Sam Barkley tried hard all day for North Shore, but it was one of those days for the Bombers where nothing was going right and they struggled to make any impact at all.
One saving grace for the Bombers is that their season isn’t over after qualifying for the double-chance. They will have another go at the Grand Final, when they play in next Saturday’s Preliminary Final.
Pennant Hills – 6.7 8.10 14.17 17.19 (121)
UNSW Eastern Suburbs – 0.1 3.3 4.5 6.8 (44)
Goals : Pennant Hills – M Carey 5, M Preen 4, T Wales 2, J Stern 2, J Boag, L Skrivanic, T Edmonds, T Angel. UNSW ES – J Buckley 2, S Wilson 2, J Cann, N Reinhard.
Best : Pennant Hills – A Crisfield, S Wray, M Carey, T Edmonds, T Angel, L Skrivanic. UNSW ES – J Buckley, T Banuelos, D Cordell, J Cann, J McAnespie, A Foote.
The Bombers’ opponents in the Preliminary Final will be Pennant Hills.
The Demons have saved their best form of the season for the business end and were untroubled getting past UNSW Eastern Suburbs by 77 points at BISP in the First Semi-Final on Sunday afternoon.
The two sides have enjoyed contrasting seasons this year. The Bulldogs, one of the youngest sides in the competition hit the ground running early in the season, and were flying high two-thirds of the way through, before faltering in the lead-up to the finals.
In contrast, the Demons, having so many players with big game experience, looked no certainty to make the finals two-thirds of the way through, before clicking into gear and overcoming everyone that came their way in recent weeks.
From the start, the in-form Demons made a statement that they weren’t ready to end their season yet. Hitting the ground running, with wave after wave of forward pressure, the relentless Pennant Hills onslaught was too much for the Bulldogs to contend with.
The scoreboard was ticking over with regularity and the Bulldogs were unable to hold the rampant Demons out. Six unanswered goals told the tale, as the Demons assumed complete control over the contest to lead by 42 points at the first change.
The Bulldogs were shell-shocked by the Demon rampage in the first term and needed to regroup. It was a tight second term, with both sides defending grimly – the Bulldogs to hold the Demons back, the Demons to hang onto their lead. Three goals to two would see the Bulldogs reduce the margin to 37 points at half-time but the Demons still looked well and truly in control.
In the premiership quarter, the Bulldogs’ hopes of lifting the trophy this season were extinguished. The Demons took their lead out to 72 points at three quarter time after a one-sided quarter of footy, which resulted in six goals to one.
With the game safely won, the Demons were content to put their cue back in the rack and the last quarter would produce little to excite. The Demons won the last quarter by three goals to two, but much of the time was counting down to the final siren and a big Pennant Hills win.
The final margin was 77 points as the Demons continued their impressive run of form at the business end of the season.
Matt Carey was in sensational form to finish with five goals, while a clean performance from Matthew Preen resulted in four goals. Around the ground, Aaron Crisfield, Stephen Wray and Matt Carey were ball magnets as they guided the Demons to another impressive win.
Jack Buckley, Tom Banuelos and Darcy Cordell battled tirelessly in the face of adversity for the Bulldogs, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a heavy defeat. The Bulldogs will be disappointed to go out of the finals in straight sets but it’s been a big rise up the ladder after few wins in the last couple of years. With some exciting talent in the Bulldogs’ ranks, there’s a bright future in front of them.
Just three teams remain in the race for the 2017 Premier Division trophy. Sydney University will be one side in the Grand Final, and on Saturday at Blacktown we find out whether it will be North Shore or Pennant Hills who will join them for Sydney footy’s biggest game.
Both previous games between the Bombers and the Demons this year have gone down to the wire and with a Grand Final spot on the line, this Preliminary Final has the makings of a classic.