Men’s Premier Division Match of the Round Review- UTS AFC v Pennant Hills Demons
Written by Lucas Holmes
The UTS Bats looked to rebound following a 108-point defeat to Sydney University in round 10. The Pennant Hills Demons were defeated by 7 points in a tight contest with Inner West.
Pennant Hills went forward from the opening bounce, but the Bats’ defence was up to the task and swept the football away.
It was end-to-end in the opening exchanges, and the Demons had the first chance through Joshua Boag.
After a turnover across half back, the Demons used the centre corridor in transition. Theo Moraitis collected the football on the half-forward flank and kicked low inside the forward 50 to Boag.
Joshua picked the football up on the turn and kicked at goal but couldn’t work it back enough.
UTS made no mistake with their first forward 50 entry.
From a stoppage on the centre wing, Damien Di Donato screwed the football across his body inside the forward 50. A hurried kick from the Demons’ defence ended up in the opposite pocket where Xavier Barry-Murphy stepped inside two defenders and finished with class.
Pennant Hills answered back straight away.
They created a turnover on the half forward flank, then a long direct kick to the goal square where Harry Maguire took an uncontested mark.
Moraitis made it two goals in 90 seconds as the Demons threatened to take the game away from the hosts early.
UTS was able to slow the Demons’ ball movement in the latter part of the term before Barry-Murphy kicked his second.
In the right forward pocket, Barry-Murphy trapped the football inside the boundary line. He feigned to turn inside before he turned away from the goal and kicked across his body.
Quarter time UTS Bats 2.0.12 Pennant Hills 2.4.16.
The Demons looked to play an uncontested style as the second term got underway. However, the UTS half-back line (Jack Calabro in particular) started to make their presence felt.
This was highlighted five minutes into the quarter as Calabro leapt high to take an intercept mark on the centre wing.
The Bats broke through after ten minutes of elapsed time through Di Donato.
From a stoppage in the forward pocket, Reid McNamara read Boag’s tap best. He shovelled a short handball to Di Donato who snapped across his body from deep in the pocket. UTS retook the lead.
Barry-Murphy added his third minutes later as the Bats had kicked four consecutive goals.
The Bats’ third came after 15 minutes of elapsed time.
Kyle Emley drove the football inside the forward 50. Players involved in the first contest didn’t get their hands on the football, and it somehow got over the back. Three UTS forwards pounced, and Miles Glover dribbled home from close range.
Billy Kanakis made it four Bats’ goals for the quarter and kept the Demons scoreless. The margin was four goals at the main break.
Half time UTS Bats 6.4.40 Pennant Hills Demons 2.4.16.
Pennant Hills looked to capitalise on a slight mismatch in the ruck as McNamara was forced to ruck against the much taller Mitchell Blow.
The Bats had an early set shot through Benjamin Crowe, but he pushed his long effort to the right for a minor score.
Pennant Hills made a tactical change as Maguire had been moved behind the football to inject him into the game.
Both defensive units stood up in the early part of the third term as nether forward line created an opportunity.
UTS kicked the first goal after nine minutes of elapsed time.
From a free kick on the half-forward flank, Kanakis centred the football 20 metres out from the goal. Harrison Callahan was front and centre of the contest and kicked through a pack of players for the Bats’ seventh goal.
Both sides traded minor scores before Pennant Hills regained the momentum.
The Demons transitioned the football from one end of Trumper Oval to another. Moraitis dribbled home whilst he ran away from goal. Before Blow converted a long set shot.
Moraitis added his second on the three-quarter time siren from a set shot pressed against the boundary.
Suddenly the margin was cut to 17 points and Pennant Hills had all the momentum going into the final term.
Three quarter time UTS Bats 7.9.51 Pennant Hills Demons 5.4.34
Patrick Gillingham had a sharp chance to wrestle back some of the momentum in the opening minute of the final quarter.
Alexander McFarlane intercepted on the half-forward flank and sent the ball high inside the forward 50. Gillingham read the slight ricochet best, but his kick low off the ground just rolled past the left goal post for a minor score.
Gillingham had another opportunity two minutes later from a downfield free kick. His set shot from 30 metres out on a harsh angle was pushed to the right for a minor score.
The margin was importantly for UTS outside three straight kicks, 19 points.
The Demons had the chance to respond straight away. A deliberate rushed behind was paid. However, Boag’s check side from the tightest of angles was to the near side.
From the resulting kick out, the Bats had the all-important first goal of the term.
Emley went long and straight which caused a contest in the middle of the ground. As a result of the field position in the previous passage of play, the Demons’ defence pushed right up which allowed Crowe to take an uncontested mark out the back.
Crowe made no mistake from 30 metres out directly in front as UTS extended the lead to four goals.
Pennant Hills wasted no time to reply, but it took an unbelievable finish from Wilson Mudge.
From the centre bounce, Sebastian Quirk burst out of the front of the stoppage and sent the football to the goal square. A defensive fist bought the football to the ground in the forward pocket. Mudge swooped and whilst he ran away from the left behind post, he dropped the football onto his left boot and dribbled it home.
With six minutes of elapsed time, the margin was back to 19 points.
However, UTS responded three minutes later through a set shot from Alex McKenzie.
As a result of the margin, UTS was able to bring more numbers to contested situations, which allowed the minutes to tick by.
The Bats bounced back from a heavy defeat in round 10 as they held on to a 21-point victory.
Full time UTS Bats 9.11.65 Pennant Hills Demons 6.8.44.
Xavier Barry-Murphy was outstanding for the Bats, particularly in the first half. Jack Calabro kept the dangerous duo of Theo Moraitis and Harry Maguire relatively quiet, whilst Damien Di Donato impressed around the ground.
Mitchell Blow dominated in the ruck all afternoon for Pennant Hills. Michael Carroll played a key role behind the football, and Nicholas Eynaud racked up possessions.
UTS Bats 9.11.65
Goal kickers: X. Barry-Murphy 3, B. Kanakis 2, A. McKenzie 2, B. Crowe, M. Glover
Best: R. McNamara, K. Emley, A. McFarlane, X. Barry-Murphy, J. Calabro, P. Gillingham
Pennant Hills Demons 6.8.44
Goal kickers: T. Moraitis 3, M. Blow, H. Maguire, W. Mudge,
Best: M. Blow, N. Eynaud, N. Richards, S. Quirk, H. Maguire, J. Blakemore