Article by Michael Shillito

After a week off for Representative matches, which saw the AFL Sydney team defeat Black Diamond AFL, Premier Division returned on Saturday. It was a round that would deliver plenty, including the tables being turned in the Grand Final replay, an absolute thriller, a stunning upset and the ladder leader continuing their momentum.

Last year’s Grand Final saw East Coast Eagles being too good for St George. When the two sides met up for the first time since on Saturday afternoon at Olds Park, the Dragons would prevail. Although nothing will ever take away the pain for St George for what happened last September, this is a result that will be helpful in the quest to give the Dragons another shot at the title this season.
Not much separated the two sides in the early exchanges, with the two teams trading goals through an evenly-contested opening term. It was shaping as an enthralling contest, both sides finding their big name players rising to the occasion. The Dragons had the edge, with four goals to three and leading by six points at quarter time; but there wasn’t much in it and the game was still very much in the balance at quarter time.
The Dragons took the upper hand in the second quarter, stepping up a gear and keeping the Eagles quiet as they worked hard to establish a more solid grip on the game. The scoreboard would tell the tale as the Dragons ran through five goals to three; with the Eagles straining hard to keep themselves in the contest but the Dragons having the answering goal any time the visitors would attempt to get back in the contest. The Dragons were 24 points ahead at half time, and looking good.
The third term would see the Dragons extend their lead to 32 points, after a return of four goals to three. The Eagles weren’t giving up, but the Dragons were effective in locking them out of the contest, as they kept the ball in their forward zone for much of the quarter and the weight of scoring opportunities would take its toll. The Dragons had controlled much of the play, and at three quarter time looked like they were comfortable enough in cruising to victory.
But suddenly in the last quarter the Eagles sprung to life, and would cause the Dragons some anxious moments in the latter stages of the match. The Dragons had plenty of opportunities to kill off the Eagle charge, but their accuracy would desert them and they would not score a goal in the last quarter despite managing seven behinds. And the Eagles kept coming, four goals in the last quarter getting the margin back to nine points before the siren eventually sounded. The St George win was finally complete, but the final margin was closer than it should have been.
Nick Ryan directed traffic on the forward line, finishing with five goals for St George in a best-on-ground performance; while Dylan Roos and Nathan Kenny also featured prominently for the Dragons. The win propels the Dragons to second on the ladder, their percentage superior to UNSW-ES; and just one win behind Sydney Uni.
The Eagles’ forwards had a good day, with Mark Weekes contributing six goals and Jamie Vlatko four. Weekes, along with Andrew Browning and Derrick Visser, were the Eagles’ best. But the Eagles have won three from seven this season, and are stuck outside the top five; and will need to string some wins together to keep their premiership defence alive.

Two teams desperate for a win faced off at Picken Oval when Wests hosted UTS on Saturday afternoon. And it would be a thriller that would leave those who saw it enthralled up until the very end.
The Magpies surged out of the blocks with a flying start that would see them assuming the front-running for much of the afternoon. It was a quarter that would yield four goals to one as the Magpies turned on a burst of footy that saw them back themselves in tight situations and take the fight up to the Bats when the ball was in dispute. With a 17-point lead at the first change, hopes were rising in the Magpie camp.
When the second quarter came around, the Bats had to come out fighting and scrap their way back into the contest. And they did, with a quarter of footy that wasn’t always pretty to watch but one which got the Bats back in the game. The Bats would kick four goals to two for the quarter, not enough to take the lead but the margin was reduced to three points at the long break.
Despite what the scorelines would suggest, with every quarter in the game seeing the scoring favour one end, there was no wind to speak of. But the Magpies were kicking to what was, for whatever reason, the scoring end. And they continued the trend in the third term with a run of four goals to two. This was relentless Magpie footy, hard at the ball and denying the Bats any easy use of it; and the Magpie faithful were warming to it as the margin was out to 14 points at three quarter time.
But it wasn’t over yet. The Bats, well short of their best all day, still had something in the tank and they used it to storm home in the final term. The Magpies would score two goals against the run of play, keeping them in front; but the Bats kept coming and would raise twin flags four times in the final term. And with the margin back within a kick, the tension was rising. For several nervous minutes the Magpies were hanging on for dear life, desperate to prevent the Bats from kicking the winning goal. Desperate tackles, golden fist spoils; the Magpies dug deep until time finally ran out and the siren sounded.
The Magpies had hung on to win by a point. On the forward line, Nick Salter was again in the thick of the action with four goals. And valuable contributions around the ground by Dan O’Connell, Pat Wilmot and Jordan Etto were pivotal in making the result happen. With two wins, the Magpies have lifted themselves off the bottom, still a game plus percentage out of the top five but if they can consistently replicate the passion and drive they showed in this match, they’re still very much in the finals race.
Sam Nethersole, Jack Macklin and Scott Jansen worked tirelessly all day for the Bats. But this is a loss that will hurt. Four defeats in a row leaves them stranded on just two wins from seven starts and stuck on the bottom reaches of the ladder; and a season that promised much has so far delivered little.

North Shore have never beaten Manly at Weldon Oval; but with the Wolves having only one win going into Saturday’s game and the Bombers in the five, the Bombers had hopes of breaking the hoodoo. But in a boilover, the order of previous years was restored as Manly controlled the game from start to finish to upset the Bombers by 30 points and claim their second win of the season.
A tight opening quarter yielded just four scoring shots, all of them goals. With three of them, the Wolves had a 12-point quarter time lead. Much of the quarter was tough body-work and packs forming around the ball; and easy possessions were hard to come by.
The game opened up in the second quarter, and running players from both sides who had been held quiet in the first term began to exert greater influence over the game. At times the Bombers showed glimpses of the footy they’re capable of, but the Wolves were doing enough to hold them at bay and show off some tricks of their own. The Bombers won the quarter by four goals to three, but the Wolves went into the rooms at half time holding an eight-point lead.
Not much in it at half time, but the premiership quarter was one-way traffic as the Wolves controlled proceedings around the ground and ensured that North Shore’s Weldon hoodoo would remain. It was vintage Manly, turning back the clock to the glory years as they kicked six goals to two against their northern rivals. After their struggles this season, Manly had their mojo back and made the Bombers pay for their errors with a quarter of footy that took them to a 32-point three quarter time lead.
The game was safely won, and for Manly the last quarter was a countdown to the victory celebrations to come. There were some good individual efforts from both teams in a quarter of football that would see each team score four goals. But this was Manly’s day, and after a testing season so far there would be plenty of passion audible from the Wolves’ room when the song was sung.
Lachlan Behagg was the standout contributor, kicking six goals in a best-on-ground performance; while James Brain and Ryan Wearne picked up enormous amounts of possessions around the ground. Performances which were instrumental in Manly picking up their second win of the season. Still a long way to go to get themselves back in finals contention, and their percentage isn’t great; but they’re a step closer.
It was a disappointing loss for the Bombers. Shaun Crane, Andrew McConnell and Charlie Parsons worked hard all day; but it wasn’t enough to get the win. The Bombers remain in fourth spot, but the Weldon hoodoo remains unbroken; and after two losses in a row they have some work to do to get their form back on track.

For ladder leaders Sydney Uni, the Rep weekend coming after their bye meant they hadn’t played for three weeks before taking on Pennant Hills at Mike Kenny Oval on Saturday. But the break didn’t seem to have hurt their momentum, as the Students continued on their winning ways with a 39-point win.
The Students got off to a flyer, kicking four unanswered goals in the first quarter. It was an impressive display, as they kept going with the form that had seen them as the dominant force in Sydney footy in the last few rounds; seemingly untroubled by the Demons.
But after receiving a pep-talk in the quarter time huddle, the Demons sprung into action in the second term. Suddenly the momentum of the game had switched and it was the Demons looking in control. The Students were under pressure, forced into uncharacteristic turnovers and having to strive for every possession against a determined opponent that was taking the fight up to them. The Demons would kick five goals to one for the quarter, cutting the Sydney Uni lead to just two points at the long break. And with momentum running with the home team, hopes of stopping the Sydney Uni juggernaut were rising.
But it wasn’t to be, as the Students regained control of the game in the premiership quarter. The Demons were unable to continue with their form of the second term, as the Students found another gear to step up to and would outrun the Demons; first to the ball and finding space to run towards the scoring zone. The scoreboard would be ticking over with regularity, as the Students established a match-winning lead; a return of six goals to one for the quarter taking the margin out to 36 points at three quarter time.
The result of the game was clear by then, and there were no nervous moments in the last quarter. There were still plenty of highlights, with both sides adding four goals to their score and some good passages of play from both sides, albeit without the same pressure that the game had been experiencing early. In the end, the final margin was 39 points. Another win for the impressive Sydney Uni side; but the Demons had put up more resistance than most, especially during the second quarter.
Nick Bertino, Will Stratford and Micael Fogarty were best for the Students, but again it was an impressive team effort from the ladder leaders; and it will take some impressive footy to knock them off while they maintain their current form.
The Demons were well served by the efforts of Daniel Preen, Aaron Crisfield and Lloyd Shepherd. Although beaten this time, they had put up a good fight for much of the game and aren’t too far away from matching it with the Students. The Demons remain in the top five, but percentage is exceptionally tight and they’ll need to continue to lift to stay there.

Note that although no Premier Division matches were played last week, and there was no report, there were matches played in other divisions. The divisional results below for some divisions include two weeks worth of results.

St George 4.3 9.9 13.13 13.20 (98)
East Coast Eagles 3.3 6.3 9.5 13.11 (89)
Goals : St George –
N Ryan 5, N Kenny 2, O Selvi, S Nabaki, J Hill, J Maldigri, D Donohue, J Ware. East Coast – M Weekes 6, Jamie Vlatko 4, D Costello, P Vlatko, D Spiteri.
Best : St George – N Ryan, D Roos, N Kenny, A Wynn, K Merson, S Nabaki. East Coast – M Weekes, A Browning, D Visser, Jamie Vlatko, Jon Vlatko, A Drinkwater.
At Olds Park, Saturday 27th May 2017.

Western Suburbs 4.2 6.5 10.7 12.10 (82)
University of Technology 1.3 5.8 7.11 11.15 (81)
Goals : Wests –
N Salter 4, P Maxwell, C Ford, R Haupt, C Gordon, B Zoppo, D O’Connell, J Tidd, J Zoppo. UTS – J Crameri 2, T Mead, P Brennan, S Nethersole, T Larby, Z Watson, N Read, W McCullouch, S Jansen, T McKenzie.
Best : Wests – D O’Connell, P Wilmot, J Etto, B Mumme, Y Milligan-Saville, C Ford. UTS – S Nethersole, J Macklin, S Jansen, T Larby, H Callahan, P Brennan.
At Picken Oval, Saturday 27th May 2017.

Manly-Warringah 3.0 6.3 12.5 16.5 (101)
North Shore 1.0 5.1 7.3 11.5 (71)
Goals : Manly –
L Behagg 6, T Armitage 2, L Brain 2, E Kaporis, A Robertson, J Monk, H Washington, W Brassil, C D’Souza. North Shore – W Blackburne 3, A McConnell 2, W Taylor, L Pryor, M Wilson, S Lee-Steere, Z Fyffe, L Smailes.
Best : Manly – L Behagg, J Brain, R Wearne, J Monk, C Pettersson, A Robertson. North Shore – S Crane, A McConnell, C Parsons, J Marsh, E Strudwick, T Alexander.
At Weldon Oval, Saturday 27th May 2017.

Sydney University 4.4 5.7 11.12 15.18 (108)
Pennant Hills 0.3 5.5 6.6 10.9 (69)
Goals : Sydney Uni –
K Murphy 3, M Powys 3, A Gillespie 2, W Stratford 2, L Vella 2, M Thompson, A Lucy, M Fogarty. Pennant Hills – D Dell’Aquila 2, A Crisfield 2, C Luscombe, K Briggs, T Edmonds, M Carey, H Angel, J Stern.
Best : Sydney Uni – N Bertino, W Stratford, M Fogarty, O Osborne, M Powys, L Vella. Pennant Hills – D Preen, A Crisfield, L Shepherd, J Stern, R Ediriwickrama, J Hare.
At Mike Kenny Oval, Saturday 27th May 2017.

Sydney Uni
St George
North Shore
Pennant Hills
East Coast
Black - Confirmed finallists
Green - Currently in a finals position, but not yet guaranteed a place in the finals
Blue - Not currently in a finals position, but still a chance to qualify
Purple - Will not be competing in the finals
Red - Wooden spoon, probable relegation

Division One:
Pennant Hills 8.11 (59) d Holroyd-Parramatta 7.5 (47)
Western Magic 16.15 (111) d Balmain 5.8 (38)
UTS 9.6 (60) d Southern Power 5.6 (36)
Sydney Uni 14.6 (90) d Macquarie Uni 8.4 (52)
St George 11.18 (84) d Camden 9.4 (58)
Pennant Hills 8.12 (60) d Sydney Uni 9.5 (59)
Western Magic 17.14 (116) d UTS 3.5 (23)
St George 12.17 (89) d Macquarie Uni 4.6 (30)
Camden 15.8 (98) d Balmain 9.9 (63)
Holroyd-Parramatta 12.9 (81) d Southern Power 9.7 (61)
Ladder – St George (32, 182.72%), Sydney Uni (24, 138.10%), UTS (24, 106.44%), Pennant Hills (20, 121.28%), Western Magic (16, 138.54%), Camden (16, 100.85%), Macquarie Uni (16, 84.42%), Holroyd-Parramatta (8, 68.91%), Balmain (4, 63.11%), Southern Power (0, 58.53%).

Division Two:
Penrith 12.5 (83) d Pennant Hills 4.5 (29)
North Shore v UTS – postponed
East Coast 10.10 (70) d South-West Sydney 7.10 (52)
Randwick City v Sydney Uni – postponed
Manly 7.15 (57) d Western Suburbs 8.4 (52)
UNSW-ES 21.12 (138) d Wollondilly 5.6 (36)
Pennant Hills 11.7 (73) d Sydney Uni 10.5 (65)
Western Suburbs 12.5 (77) d UTS 10.8 (68)
North Shore 14.9 (93) d Manly 4.1 (25)
Wollondilly 7.8 (50) d South-West Sydney 5.9 (39)
Penrith 16.12 (108) d East Coast 3.3 (21)
UNSW-ES 20.14 (134) d Randwick City 3.4 (22)
Ladder – North Shore (28, 379.23%), UNSW-ES (28, 215.78%), Penrith (24, 170.39%), Wests (24, 153.10%), Pennant Hills (16, 100.00%), Manly (16, 76.51%), UTS (12, 110.78%), East Coast (12, 71.76%), South-West Sydney (10, 72.24%), Randwick City (6, 28.57%), Sydney Uni (4, 67.50%), Wollondilly (4, 50.44%).

Division Three:
NorWest 14.13 (97) d Campbelltown 8.13 (61)
North Shore v Penrith – postponed
Camden 18.15 (123) d Balmain 4.6 (30)
Macquarie Uni 13.18 (96) d Holroyd-Parramatta 6.4 (40)
NorWest 16.12 (108) d Balmain 12.11 (83)
Macquarie Uni 17.17 (119) d Penrith 4.6 (30)
Camden 17.16 (118) d Campbelltown 6.4 (40)
North Shore 23.23 (151) d Holroyd-Parramatta 4.2 (26)
Ladder – Camden (32, 258.81%), North Shore (24, 277.97%), NorWest (24, 130.07%), Macquarie Uni (20, 170.87%), Campbelltown (12, 99.35%), Holroyd-Parramatta (4, 44.12%), Penrith (4, 43.90%), Balmain (4, 38.54%).

Division Four:
UNSW-ES 18.13 (121) d Manly 6.4 (40)
Western Magic 21.11 (137) d UTS 6.4 (40)
Sydney Uni 20.18 (138) d South-West Sydney 5.2 (32)
Pennant Hills 10.8 (68) d Southern Power 10.4 (64)
St George 23.17 (155) d East Coast 0.1 (1)
Ladder – St George (28, 890.13%), Western Magic (24, 199.17%), Pennant Hills (20, 107.05%), Sydney Uni (16, 168.60%), UNSW-ES (16, 150.27%), UTS (16, 127.71%), Southern Power (12, 87.43%), East Coast (4, 30.33%), South-West Sydney (4, 22.91%), Manly (0, 33.07%).

Division Five:
Randwick City v NorWest – postponed
Macquarie Uni 12.9 (81) d Penrith 10.3 (63)
Holroyd-Parramatta d Wollondilly – forfeit
North Shore 23.16 (154) d Randwick City 0.0 (0)
Camden 21.20 (146) d Campbelltown 2.3 (15)
Western Suburbs 8.10 (58) d UTS 5.5 (35)
UNSW-ES 8.14 (62) d NorWest 4.7 (31)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – Wests (100, 258.71%), North Shore (85.71, 485.71%), Camden (66.67, 213.91%), NorWest (66.67, 158.63%), Macquarie Uni (66.67, 122.51%), UNSW-ES (66.67, 96.70%), Sydney Uni (50, 85.71%), UTS (42.86, 126.39%), Campbelltown (42.86, 100.39%), Randwick City (33.33, 47.60%), Penrith (16.67, 61.79%), Holroyd-Parramatta (16.67, 18.65%), Wollondilly (0, 20.81%).

Under 19s One:
North Shore v East Coast – postponed
Western Magic v UNSW-ES – cancelled
Pennant Hills 18.16 (124) d Sydney Uni 8.0 (48)
St George 11.8 (74) d Manly 1.4 (10)
Sydney Uni d Manly – forfeit
St George 5.6 (36) d North Shore 3.4 (22)
UNSW-ES 11.17 (83) d East Coast 1.4 (10)
Ladder – St George (24, 242.37%), North Shore (20, 301.08%), UNSW-ES (16, 123.28%), Pennant Hills (16, 111.17%), East Coast (8, 69.47%), Sydney Uni (8, 64.54%), Manly (0, 25.86%).
Note – Western Magic withdrawn from competition.

Under 19s Two:
Penrith 13.5 (83) d North Shore 4.5 (29)
St George 12.9 (81) d Southern Power 7.10 (52)
Campbelltown 15.9 (99) d Wests Goannas 6.13 (49)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – South-West Cats (80, 258.01%), Southern Power (80, 203.12%), St George (66.67, 95.24%), Penrith (50, 79.52%), Campbelltown (33.33, 55.26%), North Shore (28.57, 76.59%), Wests Goannas (28.57, 76.39%).

Women Premier Division:
Macquarie Uni 2.8 (20) d Western Wolves 1.3 (9)
Newtown 4.3 (27) d Southern Power 3.6 (24)
Sydney Uni 7.10 (52) d UTS 3.2 (20)
UNSW-ES 7.6 (48) d Auburn-Penrith 0.2 (2)
Ladder – Sydney Uni (28, 469.89%), UNSW-ES (24, 1164.00%), Macquarie Uni (20, 95.83%), Auburn-Penrith (14, 74.13%), Southern Power (12, 103.86%), UTS (6, 47.74%), Newtown (4, 40.89%), Western Wolves (4, 24.28%).

Women Division One:
Campbelltown v Newtown – abandoned due to delayed ambulance response
Western Magic 20.12 (132) d South-West Sydney 0.4 (4)
Sydney Uni 6.5 (41) d Pennant Hills 3.7 (25)
Wollongong 11.12 (78) d North Shore 3.2 (20)
Auburn-Penrith 13.8 (86) d Camden 2.1 (13)
Manly 15.17 (107) d Wollondilly 0.0 (0)
East Coast 8.7 (55) d UNSW-ES 3.6 (24)
Ladder – Wollongong (28, 588.89%), Manly (24, 994.74%), Western Magic (24, 607.08%), East Coast (20, 183.49%), Auburn-Penrith (16, 58.51%), Campbelltown (14, 56.36%), UNSW-ES (12, 138.24%), North Shore (12, 119.53%), Pennant Hills (12, 102.20%), Sydney Uni (12, 77.11%), Wollondilly (12, 61.83%), Camden (8, 19.43%), Newtown (2, 11.16%), South-West Sydney (0, 10.18%).


Premier Division:

Saturday 3rd June
Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Sydney Uni (1pm)
Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Western Suburbs (2pm)
Henson Park – UNSW-ES v St George (2:30pm)
Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v Manly (2:30pm)

Division One:
Saturday 3rd June
Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v Southern Power (12:30pm)
Mahoney Park – Balmain v St George (2pm)
Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v Sydney Uni (3pm)
Fairfax Reserve – Camden v UTS (3:10pm)
University Oval – Macquarie Uni v Holroyd-Parramatta (5pm)

Division Two:
Saturday 3rd June
Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Sydney Uni (11am)
Trumper Park – UTS v Penrith (12pm)
Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v Manly (12:30pm)
Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Western Suburbs (4:45pm)
Sunday 4th June
Hannaford Oval – Wollondilly v Randwick City (1pm)
Henson Park – UNSW-ES v South-West Sydney (2pm)

Division Three:
Saturday 3rd June
Fairfax Reserve – Camden v Penrith (11am)
Mahoney Park – Balmain v Holroyd-Parramatta (12pm)
Bensons Lane – NorWest v North Shore (2:10pm)
University Oval – Macquarie Uni v Campbelltown (3pm)

Division Four:
Saturday 3rd June
Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v South-West Sydney (9am)
Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v Sydney Uni (9am)
Trumper Park – UTS v Southern Power (10am)
Mike Kenny Oval (Lower) – Pennant Hills v Manly (10:30am)
Henson Park – UNSW-ES v St George (12:30pm)

Division Five:
Saturday 3rd June
Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v Campbelltown (10am)
Bensons Lane – NorWest v Penrith (12pm)
Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Western Suburbs (12pm)
Fairfax Reserve – Camden v UTS (1pm)
University Oval – Macquarie Uni v Wollondilly (1pm)
Sunday 4th June
Henson Park – UNSW-ES v Holroyd-Parramatta (10am)
BYE – Randwick City.

Under 19s One:
Saturday 3rd June
Mike Kenny Oval – Pennant Hills v Manly (10:30am)
Kanebridge Oval – East Coast v St George (3:45pm)
Sunday 4th June
Henson Park – UNSW-ES v North Shore (12pm)
BYE – Sydney Uni.

Under 19s Two:
Saturday 3rd June
Fairfax Reserve – South-West Cats v Wests Goannas (9am)
Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v Southern Power (10:10am)
Mona Park – Penrith v St George (12pm)
BYE – Campbelltown.

Women Premier Division:
Saturday 3rd June
Henson Park – UNSW-ES v Newtown (10:30am)
Mona Park – Auburn-Penrith v Macquarie Uni (10:30am)
Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v Southern Power (2pm)
Trumper Park – UTS v Western Wolves (2pm)

Women Division One:
Saturday 3rd June
Mortgage Choice Oval – North Shore v South-West Sydney (8:20am)
Henson Park – UNSW-ES v Wollongong (8:30am)
Blacktown ISP No 2 – Western Magic v Newtown (11am)
Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v Campbelltown (12pm)
Mike Kenny Oval (Lower) – Pennant Hills v Auburn-Penrith (2:30pm)
Fairfax Reserve – Camden v Manly (5:10pm)
Sunday 4th June
Hannaford Oval – Wollondilly v East Coast (3pm)