Men’s Premier Division MOTW: The march to the finals continues for Inner West
Written by Michael Shillito
UTS Australian Football Club vs. Inner West Magpies – Trumper Park on Saturday 20th July
With just four rounds remaining, we’re on the run home towards the end of the home and away season. For the teams in finals positions, it’s a race for the best ladder positions and the chase for the double-chance. For those teams outside the top five, there’s still time to salvage something from this season. It’s a chance to pick up some wins, blood some new talent and build some momentum going into next season.
There was plenty to play for at Trumper Park when UTS AFC Bats played host to the Inner West Magpies. With only one win so far it’s been a season to forget for the Bats. This was a chance for them to double the tally and turn their fortunes around. For the Magpies, after being stuck with the wooden spoon for the last three years, it was a chance to build on the considerable improvement they have shown in 2019.
As the season has progressed, the Magpies have shown themselves to be a team on the rise. They went into this game with wins in three of their last four games. Kevin Eynaud, in his third stint at the helm, has moulded his team into one capable of matching it with finals sides, claiming the scalps of both Pennant Hills and East Coast along the way.
The Magpies have some good momentum under their belt, and went on with the job when this clash got under way. It didn’t take long for them to impose a decisive break and take the upper hand in this contest. They picked up the lion’s share of the disputed possessions and showed the self-belief to back themselves in tight situations. The rewards flowed on the scoreboard, as they ran through five goals to one in the opening term to lead by 24 points at quarter time.
The Bats had to lift, and they did. It was now or never, and they knew they needed to do more than they had in the first term. The opportunities came, and the Bats were able to convert three of them into full points. For every action, there was an equal and opposite reaction, and the Magpies were able to find the answering goals. Three Magpie goals won them the quarter and foiled the Bats attempt to get back into the contest. Inner West returned to the rooms at half time holding a 26-point lead.
The Magpies were already well in front, but they took their game to another level in the third quarter. They had the answers to any challenge the Bats would throw at them, and the firepower to inflict further misery on the Bats. They were on fire, and added a further six goals to two in the third term. Leading by 51 points at the last change, there was a spring in the Magpies step as they made their way to the huddle. Inner West’s travelling faithful were enjoying the spectacle of what was unfolding in front of them.
UTS heads were dropping, as the inevitability of another heavy defeat set in. There was nothing in the last quarter of footy that would change the mood of the day, as the Magpies added another four goals to two to extend the final margin to 67 points.
Josh Robinson, Ben Zoppo and Tyler Blake were prominent performers for the Magpies, but it had been a solid team effort to pull off another strong result. Four wins from the last five, and the Magpies momentum is building. They’re still two games plus percentage behind the Eagles, and have probably left their run too late to have a crack at the finals. There is still a glimmer of hope as it’s still mathematically possible for them to make the top five.
It was another day to forget for the Bats. Scott Jansen, Lachlan Borrillo and Clay Wooles kept putting in all day. Four rounds to go this season, and the Bats will need to win two of them and make up some percentage to avoid the wooden spoon.
Around the grounds, UNSW-ES maintained top spot on the ladder with a 73-point win over East Coast Eagles at Henson Park. Sydney Uni were untroubled in remaining in second place with a convincing 91-point win against Camden at Sydney Uni No 1 Oval. North Shore tightened their grip on third place, 112 points too good for St George at Olds Park. Pennant Hills were given a test by Manly at Mike Kenny Oval, but were able to come up with the goals when they were needed to record a 26-point victory.
Inner West Magpies – 5.2 | 8.7 | 14.8 | 18.14 (122)
UTS AFC – 1.2 | 4.5 | 6.5 | 8.7 (55)
Inner West Goals – D Smith 2, J Harrison, T Garvey, R Kirkhope, H Callahan, L Borrillo, S Jansen
UTS AFC Goals – M Magee 3, B Zoppo 3, C Dell 3, D O’Connell 2, C McEvoy-Gray 2, T Ryan, N O’Connell, J Robinson, R Forrester, T Blake
Inner West Best – S Janson, L Borrillo, C Wooles, B Browne, T Pitnins, C Johnston
UTS AFC Best – J Robinson, B Zoppo, T Blake, M Tuttle, P Willmot, C Dell