Men’s Premier Division MOTW: Bombers soar in top of the table clash
Written by Michael Shillito.
North Shore Bombers vs. Sydney University – Blacktown ISP on Sunday, May 27, 2018.
The first Sunday game for 2018 saw the top two teams line up against each other, as North Shore hosted Sydney University at Blacktown. The weather was fine, but smoke from bushfire control burns affected visibility and breathing. But the surface was in good shape, and conditions were set for what would be an absorbing game of footy.
It was goal for goal in the first quarter, as the two sides looked for an edge over the other but were unable to make a decisive move. There were plenty of big moments, none more so than 200th-gamer Chris Murphy running down an opponent to prevent a certain goal. Like a tactical chess board, both sides were rotating their teams more than normal, looking in vain for the decisive match-up that would swing the game in their favour. But honours would be shared in the opening term, with three goals apiece, and the Students holding a two-point advantage at quarter time.
North Shore took the lead in the opening minutes of the second term, but when they looked like running away with the contest they would be pulled back by Sydney University. The ball was in the North Shore forward half for considerable periods of time early in the second term, and they would manage three early goals. But Sydney University fought back as the quarter unfolded, getting two goals back to cut the Bombers lead to six points at the long break.
The third quarter would follow a similar trend to the second. The Bombers were looking good early, threatening to impose themselves and get out to a lead. But when the challenge was set, the Students responded. Sydney University lifted when the challenge was made, and forced their way back into the contest. Four goals to three, including the last three goals of the quarter, would go Sydney University’s way as they put pressure on North Shore. The last goal of the quarter would level the scores, and the undefeated Bombers had a fight on their hands as the teams went into the huddle for the three quarter time break with the scores tied up.
The sun was setting, the shadows lengthening. The coaches pleaded with their charges for one last effort, to make the decisive break that would swing the contest their way. The game was there to be won, and this was the time to stand and deliver. And again, as in the second and third quarters, it was the North Shore Bombers who would make the front-running in the last. It took barely ten minutes, but a run of five quick goals put the contest out of Sydney University’s reach, and there was no coming back this time. Sydney University didn’t give up the fight, and would pull three goals back. But this time the buffer that North Shore Bombers had built would be too great to pull back, and a late North Shore goal put the issue beyond doubt.
In the end, it was a 19-point win for the North Shore Bombers. Max Thomas, Kyle Devlin and Jono Marsh were pivotal to North Shore’s success, but it was a solid team effort around the ground. The Bombers remain undefeated, two games clear on top of the ladder, and although they were tested by Sydney University, they rose to the challenge every time.
Sydney University were well served by the efforts of Tom Ayton, Matt Akehurst and Jacob Swarts. It wasn’t enough to get the points, and the loss sees Sydney University fall behind Pennant Hills to third on the ladder, but the Students gave the in-form Bombers a run for their money. There’s a good chance the two teams will meet again when the business end of the season comes around, and the Students showed themselves capable of causing the Bombers some anxious moments.
NORTH SHORE BOMBERS – 3.3 6.6 9.7 15.10 (100)
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY – 3.5 5.6 9.7 12.9 (81)
NORTH SHORE BOMBERS GOALS – B Plug 2, M Thomas 2, M Varjavandi 2, N Hurrell 2, J Cubis, W Taylor, A McConnell, N Campbell, S Carruthers, K Devlin, T Meacham
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY GOALS – A Clarke 3, H Morrison 2, C Akehurst 2, M Picken, S Gilfedder, M Powys, A Sierakowski, T Cordner
NORTH SHORE BOMBERS BEST – M Thomas, K Devlin, J Marsh, S Carruthers, C Murphy, M Buskariol
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY BEST – T Ayton, C Akehurst, J Swarts, H Morrison, A Clarke, D Wight