Men’s Premier Division MOTW: Cats fail to the tame the Demons
Written by Michael Shillito
Camden Cats vs. Pennant Hills Demons – Fairfax Reserve on Saturday 13th July
It didn’t take long this season for a clear gap to open between the top five and bottom five. A third of the way through the season, the final five was already looking clear. That gap has held up and now that we’re into the final third of the season, it’s now or never for the teams outside the five.
Pennant Hills has been in fifth place for the last couple of months and no team has looked like bridging the gap and making a move towards the finals. Now that we’re counting down to the playoffs, time is running out. If a team outside the five wants to get there, they’ve got to make up ground on Pennant Hills.
And so for Camden, it was an important contest at Fairfax Reserve. The Cats, in their second season at the elite level, had no second chances. It was a case where they must beat the Demons or kiss their finals hopes goodbye. Last year when the two teams met at Fairfax, the Cats led for most of the day only to be pipped at the post. This time they knew what was needed to avoid a repeat.
But as it turned out, the contest was over before it really began. The Cats failed to make anything of their opportunity and were blown out of the contest in the opening exchanges. The Demons were ready, bursting out of the blocks and facing little resistance as they pumped it into their forward line time and again. The Demons were hot, the Cats were not; and it didn’t take long for the scoreboard to reflect the one-sided nature of proceedings around the ground. Six unanswered goals to the Demons opened a 40-point quarter time lead, and already the contest was as good as over.
The Cats were shell-shocked in their quarter time huddle after a quarter where they had been second to the ball at every contest and Pennant Hills had been at their best. Their sluggish start looked to have cost them their chance at a last push for the finals.
The Cats needed to lift, and they did to some extent, breaking the goal drought and putting it through the big sticks twice in the second term. Despite their efforts, it wasn’t enough to prevent the margin from blowing out further. Camden were powerless to prevent the Demons from adding another four goals which extended the lead to 52 points at the long break. Pennant Hills returned to the rooms at half time feeling satisfied that the job was almost done.
The pressure was off after half time, with the Demons sensing they had already achieved victory. It was a more free flowing third quarter and the Cats were finally able to achieve some run and get the ball forward. But the Demons always had the answering goal to any challenge the Cats would throw their way. Pennant Hills would add another four goals to three in the third term, leading by 57 points at the last change.
The temperature was dropping as the shadows lengthened, and an icy wind was blowing. But even in the midwinter chill in the south-west, this was a blistering Demon inferno and the fire from the north-west was burning. There would be no relief for the Cats in the final term and the Demons were in no mood to ease up adding another four goals to three to extend the final margin to 62 points.
Nick Hey signalled his intentions loud and clear on the forward line for the Demons as he helped himself to six goals from numerous opportunities. While Men’s Premier Division’s leading goal-kicker Theo Moraitis added another five to his tally. Around the ground, Jesse Hare, Tom Edmonds and Nick Hey were prolific ball-winners. Helping spearhead the Demons to a powerhouse win and maintaining the three-game gap between the top five and the teams outside the finals picture.
Baily McParland, Jarrod Coomby and Jed Ellis-Cluff toiled hard all day for Camden. It was a disappointing afternoon for the Cats, blown away by a poor first quarter and never able to make any dent in the deficit for the rest of the afternoon. The loss ends the Cats’ finals hopes for 2019. Being unable to win a home game this season continues to cost them dearly.
A shock result at Picken Oval saw Inner West Magpies upset East Coast Eagles by 11 points; a result that sees the Magpies move up to sixth on the ladder and sees Pennant Hills jump ahead of the Eagles to fourth thanks to their higher percentage. The gap between the Eagles and the Magpies is still three games and plenty of percentage, and with just five rounds to go it looks too big a gap to bridge.
UNSW-ES remain top of the ladder after jumping St George at the start and sitting on the lead for the remainder of the game to win by 31 points at Henson Park. Sydney Uni, despite some wasteful finishing, were 48 points too good for UTS AFC at Sydney Uni No 1 Oval. North Shore overcame their Weldon Oval hoodoo in a scrappy game to defeat Manly by 35 points and book their place in this year’s finals.
Pennant Hills Demons – 6.5 | 10.7 | 14.9 | 18.10 (118)
Camden Cats – 0.1 | 2.3 | 5.6 | 8.8 (56)
Pennant Hills Goals – N Hey 6, T Moraitis 5, J Preedy, L Skrivanic, M Blow, M Carey, B O’Brien, J Moran, B Campbell
Camden Goals – M Sapiatzer 2, J Ellis-Cluff 2, B Coxall, J Ayling, H Bagot, B Lovric
Pennant Hills Best – J Hare, T Edmonds, N Hey, J Moran, S Wray, T Moraitis
Camden Best – B McParland, J Coomby, J Ellis-Cluff, W Gamble, L Jesson, M Sapiatzer