GRAND FINAL PREVIEW AND PREDICTION: Men’s Division Two
Division Two Grand Final
Written by Michael Shillito
UNSW Eastern Suburbs vs. Sydney University – Sunday, September 15 at 1.20pm at Blacktown International Sportspark
Under the restructure of divisions for this season, Division Two has run parallel with Premier Division, with the same clubs taking part, and the same two teams have made their way to the Grand Final, which will be a University derby between UNSW Eastern Suburbs and Sydney University.
The Bulldogs finished second after the home and away season, but have had a strong finals campaign. A 36-point win over Camden in the Qualifying Final at Kanebridge Oval was followed up by a win over Sydney University in the Major Semi-Final, giving the Bulldogs first spot in the Grand Final and a week to rest and get over any niggles before the big game.
Pivotal to their chances of kicking a winning score will be Tom Williamson. He’s been around the club for a long time, has played plenty of Premier Division and has been a strong presence in this division up forward in 2018. Cameron McKinlay has been a handy foil, combining well to get a successful score on the board more often than not.
Nathan Weldon-Bowen has been a standout for the Bulldogs in this grade in 2018, and he’ll be keen to contribute to Premiership success. Watch out for Jethro Fox and Jordan Ryder, who have also been consistent performers for the Bulldogs this season.
Sydney University finished Minor Premiers, dropping only two games during the regular season. But the Bulldogs got up by 13 points at Henson Park in the Major Semi-Final to be first through to the Grand Final, forcing the Students into a Preliminary Final against UTS. But the Students fought back to take that game and force a re-match against the Bulldogs in the Grand Final.
Kyall Homburg has been a mainstay on the forward line for the Students, leading the goalkicking with 36 major scores. Aron Everett, who has Premier Division experience behind him, has also been a key contributor up forward in this division in 2018.
But key to the Students’ success is the responsibilities are shared around and there are numerous players who contribute. Keep an eye out for Eric Norris and James Mason, who have picked up plenty of the ball this season and know where the midfield runners and leading forwards are.
The Students’ only losses this season have been to the Bulldogs. A thriller at the Village Green in Round 6 saw the Bulldogs get up by a point. It was more one-sided at Sydney University No. 1 Oval in Round 12, with the Bulldogs recording a 60-point result, and then the Major Semi.
It’s been their Archilles heel. The Students have won every other game but haven’t been able to beat the Bulldogs. But in this one, the game that matters most, the Students have the opportunity to put that right. There won’t be much in it, but the Students should just be able to get it done.
Prediction – Sydney Uni by 7 points.