PREVIEW AND PREDICTION: Men’s Premier Division First Semi-Final

First Semi-Final

Sydney University vs. Manly-Warringah – Sunday, September 2 at 3:00pm, Blacktown International Sportspark

Sydney University and Manly face-off on Sunday at Blacktown, in a sudden-death encounter where only one team will survive.

The Students are taking advantage of the double-chance, having gone down narrowly to UNSW Eastern Suburbs in last week’s Qualifying Final. It was a game that was in the balance until the dying minutes, but in the end, the Students were unable to produce the plays that would get them over the line.

However, there are plenty of reasons why the Students would be confident in their ability to hit back this week. There’s some quality ball-winners in the Sydney University line-up. Keep an eye out for the impressive work of Monty Krochmal, David Johnson and Tim Cordner, who go into this game with some good form under their belt.

Will Stratford did plenty of the heavy lifting on the forward line last week, and he will again be dangerous, while Matt Powys has also shown himself to have the ability to get into the game and make key contributions for the Students when they are most needed.

Manly made their way to this game with a win over East Coast at Blacktown in last Sunday’s Elimination Final. It was far from an inspiring performance, but in the end, they ran the game out and got over the line. A quality team will find a way to win even when they’re not having their best game.

When the game was there to be won, it was the likes of Jordan Weir, Alex Fraser and Gareth Benbow who got the job done. They will again be pivotal this week. Also keep an eye out for Tyrone Armitage and Hayden Washington, who were quiet last Sunday but have had solid seasons and will be keen to rebound strongly this week.

The two sides have played twice this season. Round 7 at Sydney University No. 1 was a thriller, with the Students falling over the line by three points. In Round 16, the Students again prevailed by 61 points, handing the Wolves their only loss at Weldon for the year.

This time it’s on neutral turf at Blacktown. The Students have got over the Wolves twice this year already and look to have the talent on the park to do it again. There won’t be much in it, but the Students should be able to keep the Mad Monday costumes on hold for another week.

Prediction – Sydney University by 12 points.

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