AFL Sydney Premier Division Men’s & Women’s- Round 7 Preview
Written by Michael Shillito
Another big round of footy this Saturday, as the season rolls on. It’s election day, so we hope you’ll vote in favour of being a part of our great game. There’s a great selection of games to be part of; and some tasty democracy sausages at the canteen.
MENS PREMIER DIVISION
North Shore Bombers v Pennant Hills Demons
Gore Hill Oval, Saturday 1:30pm
The Bombers and the Demons have had quite a rivalry over the years, and there’s some high stakes at Gore Hill on Saturday for the next instalment. The Demons are on a roll, while the Bombers are suddenly looking vulnerable.
Last week at Henson Park, the Bombers went down to UNSW-ES by 57 points. There wasn’t much in it for most of the afternoon, and only nine points in it at the last change; but the last quarter was a disaster for the Bombers, and it’s been many years since they’ve been that badly beaten. Will Edwards and Jack Woodman worked hard, but it wasn’t North Shore’s day. They’ll have worked hard on the training track this week, and they’ve got a point to prove this week. They have to hit back hard.
Meanwhile the Demons go from strength to strength, and picked up their third win on the trot last week with a comprehensive 153-point win over East Coast at Mike Kenny Oval, holding the Eagles scoreless in the second half. Tom Edmonds and Will Mudge led the way, and the Demons had winners all round the ground. Confidence is high in the Demon camp after such a big win, and with the Demons now comfortable in second place on the ladder, they’ll be looking forward to this match to test how far they can go this season.
The Bombers will be happy to be back on their home patch this week. It’s a fresh start, and there’s some work to do if they are to put last week’s performance behind them. And it won’t be easy against a high-flying Pennant Hills side. The Demons have established some great momentum in recent weeks, and will be relishing the opportunity to claim a big scalp here.
St George Dragons v UNSW-ES Bulldogs
Olds Park, Saturday 2:10pm
A battle to watch will be at Olds Park when the Dragons play host to the Bulldogs. Two sides flying high, momentum is running their way. The sides with the confidence and self-belief that comes with playing good footy. Third playing first. Plenty to look forward to.
The Dragons are on a roll, and surged to third on the ladder last week when they took control over UTS at Blacktown and raced away to an 83-point win. The Dragons have an imposing target on the forward line, with Noah Casalini adding another five goals to his season tally; while Nelson Carey is looking good around the ground for the Dragons. They are in form, feeling good, and in a better position to challenge a competition front-runner than they have been for a very long time. This is a challenge they will relish the chance to get stuck into.
The Bulldogs remain undefeated on top of the table, and come into this match on the back of a last-quarter demolition of North Shore that resulted in a convincing 57-point win. The Bulldogs have winners all around the ground, with Hamish Dunstan earning himself a Rising Star nomination; while Max Ries will be keen to capitalise on his blinder last week and carry that momentum forward into another big contest.
It’s a key battleground bell-weather contest, and both sides will be putting plenty into this contest. The Bulldogs will be keen to maintain their undefeated status. But the Dragons are picking up a swing to them after their recent form; and on their home deck, this result is no certainty. This one could go down to the wire.
Manly-Warringah Wolves v Sydney University
Weldon Oval, Saturday 2:30pm
Weldon Oval will be the venue for a clash between the Wolves and the Students, two teams that will be looking for a win to get their 2022 campaign back on track.
The Wolves haven’t won since opening day, and were again disappointed last week when they went down by 34 points against the Magpies at Picken Oval. Despite the fighting efforts of Ky McGrath and Nick Marsh, the Wolves found themselves jumped at the start. They won the second half, but it was too late to challenge the Magpies in that game. But that second second half showed the Wolves that they can compete, and will be the momentum they’ll be looking to take into this match.
The Students had the bye last weekend. Two weeks to regroup and prepare, knowing they have work to do to re-enter the top five. At their last start, they dropped out of the five when they went down to Pennant Hills by 15 points. The Students received great service from Peter Spurling and Jack Dimery; but there’s more to be done this week to get back to where the Students would expect to be.
Both teams would have been hoping to be higher on the ladder at this stage of the season, but it wasn’t to be. Both will be looking for a win to kick-start the fightback and get the year back on track. And that will be the result for one of these teams. For the other, there’ll be a lot more work to do.
East Coast Eagles v Inner West Magpies
Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 2:40pm
The Eagles are desperate for redemption, and after last week’s disappointing result, here is an opportunity for them to put things right. But it won’t be easy against an Inner West Magpies side that has shown plenty of promise this season. This match will be streamed live on Kayo Sports and the AFL Sydney Facebook page, so wherever in the world you are, you can catch all the action live.
Last week was a shocker for the Eagles, when they went to Mike Kenny Oval and lost to Pennant Hills by 153 points. The efforts of Justin Harding and Nathan Coxall couldn’t be faulted; but the Eagles struggled to be competitive against a Pennant Hills side at the peak of their form and powers. The Eagles will be all too aware that performance wasn’t to the standard they would expect of themselves. They have to put things right, and after a long week of self-reflection at training, this is the time they must stand and deliver.
The Magpies have been big improvers in 2022, and got some reward for effort last week at Picken Oval when they got off to a flyer against Manly before cruising home for a 34-point win. Brandon Lagana and Josh Robinson have been great for the Magpies this season, and led the way against last week; and will be looking to maintain that form this week. The Magpies have troubled the competition front-runners this year; but to make those performances count, they need to get the job done against opposition they are expected to beat.
The Eagles have to lift. It’s been a disappointing season so far. But each week is a new beginning and a new opportunity, and it’s an occasion they must rise to. But the Magpies won’t be making it easy. They have finals aspirations; and if the Magpies are to be a part of the playoff action this is the sort of game they need to win and boost their percentage.
WOMENS PREMIER DIVISION
Manly-Warringah Wolves v Sydney University
Weldon Oval, Saturday 12:30pm
It’s a blockbuster clash between two teams on the rise when the Wolves host Sydney Uni at Weldon in a lunchtime classic.
There was no premiership awarded last year, leaving Manly as the defending champions after their 2020 flag; and the Wolves made an emphatic statement that they’re a serious contender to defend their title last week as they held the previously-undefeated Inner West goal-less to record a convincing 66-point win. Kaitlin Manning was unstoppable, kicking five goals in a best-on-ground performance, while Lauren Bourgeois was also a prominent performer. The Wolves have stepped up their effort in recent weeks, and are building some form that looks hard to beat.
But the Wolves have an opponent who is also in good form and coming into this match high on confidence. Sydney Uni have winning form on the board, but had to grind it out on a heavy track at Mike Kenny against Macquarie Uni last week. But in the end, helped along by the efforts of Rising Star nominee Saskia Johnson and Rosie Beasley, the Students did what finals contenders need to do; find a way to win, even when it’s a struggle. The Students managed to do that, and find themselves in fourth place on the ladder and with some good momentum behind them.
Manly have hit their straps well in recent weeks, and on their home turf they’ll go into this game high in form and confidence. But the Students have also hit some impressive form, and they’ll give the Wolves a run for their money. The Students are in form, and the Wolves are no certainties. There won’t be much in this contest.
North Shore Bombers v Pennant Hills Demons
Gore Hill Oval, Saturday 3:50pm
It’s an afternoon of new beginnings on the synthetic at Gore Hill as North Shore host Pennant Hills. The Bombers and the Demons both missed an opportunity to enter the top five last week; but here is a big chance to get the season back on track.
North Shore let a golden opportunity slip last week when they went down to UNSW-ES at Henson Park. There was only a kick in it at the last change, but when the game was in the balance the Bombers were unable to come up with the key plays to get them across the line, and went down by 18 points. Liv O’Donnell and Lucy Krimmer were tireless workers for the Bombers, but in the end it wasn’t enough to get the four points. For the Bombers, who have finals aspirations, they know they need to lift their work rate and pick up a win here against another team similarly-placed.
The Demons also missed a chance to go into the top five, when they were unable to match it with the ladder-leading Eagles at Mike Kenny and went down by 68 points. Laura Donohoe and Madison Hare kept the work-rate up when things weren’t running the Demons’ way; showing the form that many other Demons will be looking to replicate as they seek to get their season back on track.
Both teams are 2-4, with the Bombers having dropped their last three and the Demons their last four. Not out of finals contention, but needing to perform more consistently than they have been recently. Here is a chance to reset, get four points on the board and kick-start their campaign. Something both teams definitely need, but only one can prevail.
Southern Power v UNSW-ES Bulldogs
Waratah Oval, Saturday 4:00pm
A twilight encounter in the Shire will see Southern Power taking on the resurgent UNSW-ES Bulldogs at Waratah Oval.
The Power are looking for their first win for the season, and were unable to find it at Blacktown last week, held to one point as they went down to UTS by 60. But after being jumped in the first quarter, the Power put up a fighting effort in the middle two quarters of the game to stop the Bats in their tracks. Tiana Marie and Nicola Kennedy kept putting the effort in; as the Power for two quarters of footy showed the fight that they need to put in for four quarters this time.
The Bulldogs entered the top five last weekend when they prevailed against North Shore by 18 points at Henson Park. There was only a kick in it at the last change, but it was the likes of Lara Taggart and Lara Brennan who stood and delivered when the game was there to be won. Back to back wins have propelled the Bulldogs into the top five, and with the ability to get the job done when it’s close, they’ll have every reason to have hope of staying there.
It’s been hard work for the Power so far this season, and the reward for effort has not been forthcoming. But all they can do is scrap and fight and make it hard for their opposition. By contesting the ball at every opportunity, they can work their way into contests; and create the opportunity for the wins to come.
East Coast Eagles v Inner West Magpies
Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 5:00pm
A keenly-anticipated battle between the top two teams will be played under lights at Kanebridge Oval on Saturday evening. It’s a game that could tell us plenty about the upcoming finals; and you’ll be able to catch all the action live on Kayo Sports and the AFL Sydney Facebook page.
East Coast have been the standout team this season, and remain undefeated with an imposing percentage after knocking off Pennant Hills by 68 points at Mike Kenny Oval last week. Every week the Eagles find contributors to stand up and get the job done. Last week it was Bryany Parker and Madeleine Ferguson’s turn to step up, and they did not disappoint. The Eagles have raised the bar for the standard of womens’ footy in our league this season, and week after week they get the job done.
The Magpies lost their undefeated status last week, when they were unable to manage a goal against Manly and went down by 64 points. Amelia Causley-Todd and Georgina McDonnell put in plenty of effort, but it was one of those days when things weren’t going to plan. It wasn’t a great day for the Magpies, but they know they’re a better team than that and will be keenly awaiting this opportunity to hit back and put things right.
On what’s happened so far this season, there’s a strong chance these teams could meet again during the finals; so this match offers the chance for a psychological edge against a premiership rival. And after a disappointing result for the Magpies last week, the chance for redemption; while the Eagles are enjoying their undefeated run and will be determined to keep that going. There’s plenty to excite about this clash.
Macquarie Uni Warriors v UTS Bats
Macquarie Uni Oval, Saturday 7:30pm
A late evening clash at Macquarie Uni Oval sees the Warriors hosting the Bats. As a special bonus for those who follow our games on their screens, Kayo Sports and the AFL Sydney Facebook page will make a quick dash down the M2 to bring us another live clash.
The Warriors weren’t able to get the win last week, but had put in a credible fighting effort against Sydney Uni. Although they never took the lead, they kept themselves within sight of the Students, only going down by 14 points. Ellie Hicks and Katherine Spender were standouts for the Warriors, in another clash that showed that the Warriors have lifted and aren’t far away from challenging the top teams. It’s not easy for them, but the Warriors are slowly turning things around, and will be pushing here for some reward for effort.
In wet conditions last week, the Bats found their home game moved to Blacktown last week; but the trip down the M4 was no obstacle to them as they got off to a flyer against Southern Power and held the Power to a single point to record a 60-point win. Keep an eye on Serina Baukes and Samantha Goldrick, who were unstoppable last week; and will looking to continue that form in this encounter.
The Bats are in form and feeling confident, and will go into this game as favourites. But if the Warriors dig deep and make the Bats fight, they can make this game go down to the wire. And as the clock ticks past 9pm, the big question on everyone’s lips will be whether Sam Zikman calls the winner in this contest before Antony Green makes his call.