AFL Sydney Premier Division Men’s and Women’s – Round 3 Preview

Written by Michael Shillito


Lest we forget. The ANZAC Day weekend is one of the most important rounds on the footy calendar as we pay our respect to all those who have served and continue to serve. Many AFL Sydney clubs have built strong ANZAC Day traditions which will see teams playing for more than just premiership points this weekend. Let’s take a look at all the match-ups in both the Men’s and Women’s Premier Division this weekend.


Mens Premier Division

Inner West Magpies v Pennant Hills Demons (Picken Oval, Sunday 1pm)

Tune in LIVE via the AFL Sydney Facebook Page from 12:40pm this Sunday for the official ANZAC Day service from Picken Oval, Croydon Park followed by the AFL Sydney Men’s Premier Division ‘Match of the Round’ commenceing at 1:10pm

ANZAC Day at Picken Oval has become one of the marquee fixtures in the AFL Sydney calendar. Before the match, a rememberance service will be held on the ground. For those planning to attend the game or watch the live stream, make sure you’re watching early.

The game of footy could well be pivotal towards how the ladder takes shape. The Magpies were in a cracker of a contest at Sydney Uni No 1 last week, and when the final siren sounded the two teams couldn’t be separated. With a win and a draw to start the season, the Magpies can strengthen their position in the top five if they can get up here. Michael Tuttle and Nick McCormack were in the thick of the action last week, and the Magpies will again be looking to them to get plenty of the ball and create opportunities.

Pennant Hills broke through for their first win last week, with a five-goal second quarter laying the foundations for a 25-point win. Jackson Potter and Luke Skrivanic were picking up plenty of possessions around the ground; and they’ll again have a job to do if the Demons are to double their winning streak and build some momentum for the season.

This could be a crucial game in setting the tone of the season to come. There shouldn’t be much in this contest, and you can expect it to be hard-fought.


UNSW-ES Bulldogs v Sydney Uni Students (Henson Park, Sunday 2:10pm)

Also on Sunday, at Henson Park, is a university derby as UNSW-ES take on Sydney Uni; a blockbuster clash between the teams that have fought out the last three Grand Finals.

The Bulldogs go into this game with two wins on the trot; and last week they dominated from start to finish to record a thumping 194-point win over Camden at Fairfax. Charlie Burgess-Hoar showed his credentials as an excitement machine as he turned on the party tricks with an eight-goal bag; while Tommy Baxter was also a prominent contributor. There’s plenty of Bulldog players in great form, and the Student taggers will have to work hard to keep them quiet.

Sydney Uni had a thriller against the Magpies last week, with the match ending in a draw. It was a result that sees the defending champions held to just two premiership points so far this year. But although the Students didn’t get the win, they’ve found themselves a top future prospect in Luke Gallen, this week’s Rising Star nomination. The Students will be looking for Gallen, along with prolific ball-winner Aaron Day, to again stand and deliver this time round.

There’s been some close contests between these clubs in recent years; and this one may also come down to the wire. The Bulldogs have the winning momentum behind them, but now is the time the Students will be looking to make their move.


North Shore Bombers v St George Dragons (Gore Hill Oval, Saturday 1:40pm)

A Saturday afternoon on the synthetic at Gore Hill promises to offer plenty of clues as to the formlines of 2021 as the Bombers take on the Dragons.

North Shore go into this game with wins in both their opening games. They didn’t have everything go their own way at Waverley last week, but never looked seriously at risk and pulled away in the last quarter to record a 57-point win. Look out for Jack Rayner up forward, as he looks to build on his five-goal haul last time round; while Ned Campbell in the midfield is working his way into some strong form.

The Dragons suffered their first loss for the season last week at Olds Park, then Pennant Hills got on top after quarter time and worked their way to a 25-point result. Forward Noah Casalini continued his outstanding development last week with a four-goal haul, while David Lykacis featured prominently around the ground. The Dragons will again be looking to them to contribute to the cause.

With a 1-1 start to the season, the Dragons have plenty of possibility ahead of them in 2021. If they can put up a strong performance against one of the competition heavyweights, it would signal their intention for the season to come. But it won’t be easy against a North Shore team who have started the season in impressive form.


Manly Wolves v UTS Bats (Weldon Oval, Saturday 2:30pm)

Two teams who started the season with a win and a loss from the first two rounds will be going all out to build a positive ratio and move into the top five when the Wolves host the Bats at Weldon on Saturday afternoon.

The Wolves broke through for their first win of the season at Kanebridge last week, when the defence held firm all day; holding the Eagles to just four goals for the afternoon as they powered their way to a 42-point win. On a day when goals were at a premium, Jacob De Angelis stood firm for three goals; while Lachlan Channell was a key contributor for the Wolves. They will again be looking for a strong performance from them, and for their miserly defence to again hold the line to deny the Bats the scoring opportunities they need.

UTS suffered their first loss of the season last week at Waverley, when North Shore came home strongly in the last quarter to record a 57-point result. Harry Hayward, in his second appearance in the black and green, showed he has plenty to offer the Bats as he picked up plenty of the ball; while Thomas Borrillo on Premier Division debut showed plenty of potential for the Bats.

The Wolves will have the home ground advantage for this clash; but there shouldn’t be much in it. If either of these teams are to make a run for the finals in 2021, this is the sort of game that separates the contenders from the pretenders.


Camden Cats v East Coast Eagles (Fairfax Reserve, Saturday 3:40pm)

Two teams who are yet to sing the song in 2021 will face off at Fairfax on Saturday afternoon. For one of them, the relief of getting their season back on track. For the other, a 0-3 start to the season beckons; and it’ll be hard to get back into contention from there.

The Cats were never in the contest at Fairfax last week, unable to match it against a red-hot UNSW-ES outfit as the Bulldogs raced away to a 194-point win. Mitch Sapiatzer and Mitch Broadstock kept working tirelessly against the odds. But they’ll be looking for players who struggled to get into the contest last time to make a bigger contribution this week.

The Eagles were disappointing last week, their second loss at Kanebridge already this year. Karl Merson and Brandon Clark worked hard last week, and will keep the effort going this time round. But the Eagles will need to dig deep on the road to get the results that they are yet to achieve after two weeks at home.

Barring a draw, there’ll be a winner; and a chance to build some momentum. This is a contest where the teams will need to leave nothing in the tank and go all-out. Their season depends on it. For the team that doesn’t get to sing the song, their season will well and truly be at the crossroads.



Womens Premier Division

Inner West Magpies v Pennant Hills Demons (Picken Oval, Sunday 10am)

Tune in LIVE via the AFL Sydney Facebook Page from 9:55am this Sunday for the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division ‘Match of the Round’

An ANZAC morning clash at Picken Oval promises an intriguing contest as Inner West Magpies play host to Pennant Hills Demons. For the Magpie and Demon diaspora around the globe, this match will be streamed live on the AFL Sydney Facebook page.

The Magpies celebrated their first win of the season last week, when they powered their way to a 25-point win at Sydney Uni No 1. Erin Todd continued her impressive form from her AFLW campaign at the Giants with a best-on-ground performance, while Ella Heads prevailed in her first game for the season. They’ll be looking to replicate that performance this time around.

Pennant Hills go into this game looking for their first win of the season. The Demons went down to Southern Power by 36 points at Waratah Oval last week, despite solid efforts from Alex Wade and Charlotte Owen. The Demons will again be looking to them to contribute around the ground as they strive to build some momentum for 2021.

ANZAC Day at Picken Oval is a big occasion, and the opportunity to play in front of a bigger crowd than normal should inspire both clubs to rise to the occasion. And the lure of four valuable competition points will bring the competitive spirit to the fore.


UNSW-ES Bulldogs v Sydney Uni Bombers (Henson Park, Sunday 4:40pm)

A Sunday twilight fixture at Henson Park will feature a university derby as UNSW-ES host Sydney Uni.

After winning just one game last season, it’s only taken two rounds for the Bulldogs to surpass last year’s total. A nine-point win over Macquarie Uni last week was a reward for a strong effort around the ground. Sera Kaukiono and Sophie Phillips were ball magnets against the Warriors, and another strong run of possession this week will go a long way towards getting the Bulldogs over the line again.

Sydney Uni are yet to taste the spoils of victory in 2021, and last week fell 25 points short against Inner West Magpies. But despite the loss, they had plenty of encouraging signs; in particular the form of Chaylee Reeve and Lucy Gilfedder. Sydney Uni will see this match as a great opportunity to get their first win on the board; but it will take a solid team effort and a lift in intensity from what has been achieved so far this year.

Both teams will be looking to bounce back from losses last week. For the Bulldogs, this is a chance to establish themselves as a much-improved side. For Sydney Uni, the lure of their first win of the season gives plenty to play for.


Manly Wolves v UTS Bats (Weldon Oval, Saturday 12:30pm)

A Saturday lunchtime clash at Weldon Oval has plenty of interest as Manly play host to UTS in a game that could tell us plenty about what this season has in store.

The Wolves’ premiership defence hit a hurdle at Kanebridge last week when the defending champions were held to just two goals as they went down to East Coast by 41 points. Kara Wall and Hannah Woolf kept working all day for the Wolves, but too many of their number weren’t able to have the impact on the game that they normally do. A hard week on the training track, and they won’t want to let that happen again.

After an opening round win, the Bats were brought down to earth in round 2 as they went down to North Shore by 48 points at Waverley. Michelle Daly and Gabriella Stanwix picked up plenty of the ball for the Bats, but it wasn’t enough to get the Bats home. This time round they’ll be looking for plenty of contributors to step up and take the fight up to a highly-fancied opponent.

With both teams on a win and a loss, there’s plenty to play for. No-one wants to drop two games in a row early in the year; and for the winner there’s the chance to stay within reach of the competition leaders. The Wolves have the home ground advantage, but expect a tight contest here.


Macquarie Uni Warriors v East Coast Eagles (Macquarie Uni Oval, Saturday 5:40pm)

A twilight encounter at Macquarie Uni Oval will see the Warriors host the Eagles in what will be a high-stakes encounter.

The Warriors took the fight up to UNSW-ES last week, but in the end fell nine points short; their second straight loss to start the season. Round 1 rising star nominee Hannah Corezo and Abbie Lewis featured prominently; but in the end it wasn’t enough to get over the line in a hard-fought clash.

The Eagles established that they’ll be a team to watch in 2021 as they put on a clinic against Manly last week, recording a 41-point win as they held the reigning premiers to just two goals. Georgia Fowler announced herself as an up-and-comer with three goals leading to a Rising Star nomination; while Chloe Arndt kept putting in as she does so often. But it was a solid team effort by an East Coast team that look set to play a key role in the destiny of the 2021 season.

It was only two years ago that these teams faced off in a Grand Final. The Warriors haven’t had the start they’d have wanted so far in 2021. But with an opponent that they’ve tasted the ultimate success against so recently, this is a chance for the Warriors to turn back the clock and return to the winners’ circle.


North Shore Bombers v Southern Power (Gore Hill Oval, Saturday 7:30pm)

Gore Hill Oval will be lit up for a clash between the Bombers and the Power that could well be pivotal towards determining how the season will shape up.

North Shore remain undefeated after two rounds, and last week were 48 points too good for UTS at Waverley Oval. Sema Ismen and Tilly Eder were dominant up forward for the Bombers, each contributing four goals to spearhead the Bombers’ establishment of a winning score. This time round they’re at home, at night, and they have the attacking flair to get the job done this time round.

Southern Power broke through for their first win of the season at Waratah Oval last week, when they won every quarter and pulled away to a 36-point win over Pennant Hills. This time round, look for the efforts of Jemima Wrigley and Emily Eaves, who will be keen to build on their impressive form from last week and create some momentum for the season.

In the only meeting between the two clubs last year, just one goal was scored. This time round both teams look to have more attacking firepower. But there’ll also be some tough defending required. With both teams a strong chance of being there at the business end of the season, there’s not just four points up for grabs but a psychological boost.