SYDNEY AFL FINALS WEEK 1 2017
Article by Michael Shillito

There’s always a sense of anticipation when the finals come around. The teams that have struggled this season are out, and only the elite performers are left. The stakes are high with every game, the weather is getting warmer and the mood around training becomes more intense.

The finals began at Blacktown on Saturday afternoon. The Qualifying Final saw UNSW-ES taking on North Shore.
The Bulldogs went into the game in second spot, and had beaten the Bombers twice this season including a comfortable win in the last round; while the Bombers were third after the home and away season.
UNSW-ES’s win last week could have opened a psychological advantage over the Bombers, and in the early exchanges they looked set to again establish some dominance over the Bombers; with two goals on the board in the first five minutes and leading by 18 points midway through the quarter. But as the quarter drew on, the Bombers began to work their way back into the contest, kicking the last three goals of the quarter. The term of footy finished with four goals apiece, and the Bulldogs leading by two points at the first change.
It was close and tightly-contested during the second term. The Bulldogs had made the front-running, but were hanging on for dear life to hang on to the lead. The Bombers had lifted, and kept the ball on their forward line for extended periods of the game but struggled to find the big sticks. It was an arm-wrestle between two willing opponents, with the Bulldogs desperately working to stay in front as the Bombers kept coming. But eventually the weight of possession took its toll and the Bombers were able to take the lead; a quarter of three goals to two opening up a lead of nine points at the long break.
It had taken until time-on in the second term for the Bombers to take the lead. But finally the dam wall had been broken, and the Bombers would not be headed in the third term. North Shore were getting the better of the contests around the ground, and despite some wasteful finishing up forward and some sloppy turnovers, the tide was running the Bombers’ way and the Bulldogs found themselves starved of attacking opportunities. The quarter would yield four goals to two in favour of the Bombers; extending the lead to 24 points at three quarter time.
The Bulldogs had struggled in the third quarter, and coach Steven Pollock during the three quarter time huddle let fly with a spray that could be heard from the grandstand. Frustration was setting in at the Bulldogs, and there would be no way back. The spray from the coach didn’t have the desired effect, as the Bulldogs continued to fumble and struggle through a final quarter in which they would not score a goal. North Shore mentor Ryan Meldrum’s calm demeanour at three quarter time reflected a team that was in control of its game; a team that would add another four unanswered goals in the final quarter.
The final margin was 50 points in favour of the Bombers, reversing last week’s result and seeing the Bombers making it through to the Second Semi-Final.
Harry Carr was in top gear on the forward line, contributing six goals for the Bombers; and along with Sam Barkley and Jimmy McKenzie was among the Bombers’ best. But it was a solid all-round team performance by the Bombers. The win puts the Bombers into the Second Semi-Final next week, where they will play off against Sydney Uni to be the first team into this year’s Grand Final.
Tom Banuelos, Jake McLean and Michael Thompson worked hard all day for the Bulldogs, continuing to put the effort in when things weren’t running their way. But for the Bulldogs, after being in the top two for most of the year, they now find themselves in the sudden death zone, needing to win all of the three remaining games to take this year’s flag.

The Bulldogs’ opponent in the sudden-death First Semi Final will be Pennant Hills. The Demons won through to that game in style with a convincing 86-point win over St George in the Elimination Final at Blacktown on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams had endured inconsistent seasons. The Dragons were looking good two-thirds of the way through the season, but three losses in their last four games had cost them a shot at the double-chance. While the Demons with a few weeks to go were in serious danger of missing the finals, but managed to get through.
When the game got under way, both sides threw caution to the wind; and the first quarter was a high-scoring shootout. Both teams were keen to make hay while the sun shone; fans in the grandstand couldn’t see that the sun wouldn’t shine for long, but dark clouds on the horizon were roaring closer. But the ball was still dry and conditions were good; and the scoreboard was ticking over quickly. The Demons had the better of play around the ground, and with six goals to four in the first term held a 17-point quarter time lead.
The Demons were looking the stronger team, but the Dragons were keeping themselves in the hunt, coming up with the goals they needed to stay within striking distance. But during the second term the wind was picking up, and the Demons were kicking with it. And as the second quarter progressed, the Dragons struggled to keep up with the Demons; who were still running hard and controlling the tempo of play. Even when the rain arrived, the Demons were handling the ball with ease and achieving scoreboard reward for their efforts. Six goals to three in favour of the Demons extended their lead to 37 points at the long break.
Conditions had deteriorated by the time the two sides returned for the second half. The ball was as slippery as a cake of soap, while the ground was slippery. Running players were getting bogged, and marks were all but impossible to hold. For St George, out of form and already many goals behind, the coming of the rain was a body blow from which they would not recover. The third quarter would be a scrappy term of footy in wild conditions. But the Dragons were unable to make any dent in the deficit, and went backwards as the Demons would score the only two goals of the quarter. With a 48-point lead at three quarter time, the Demons were safe.
St George heads had dropped, as they headed towards extinction through the last term. The Demons, with momentum running their way, kept going through the final quarter, and landed six more unanswered goals against minimal resistance. By the time the final siren sounded, the margin had blown out to 86 points.
Nick Hey was outstanding on the forward line for the Demons, kicking six goals in a best-on-ground performance; while Jackson Potter and Jesse Hare also featured prominently. A big win in the final round, then another big win in this final; and the Demons have hit their best form this season at the time of year when it matters most. And, making it through to the second week of finals, they have improved on last year’s result.
Craig Shipley, Travis Martin and Earl Shaw never gave up for the Dragons and kept working until the end. But for St George it was a disappointing afternoon. One of the favourites before the season started, the Dragons struggled with consistency all season and never looked like major contenders before falling away sharply late in the season. They still managed to make it through to the finals, but could go no further.

Qualifying Final
North Shore 4.1 7.7 11.12 15.16 (106)
Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs 4.3 6.4 8.6 8.8 (56)
Goals : North Shore –
H Carr 6, A McConnell 2, L Smailes 2, J Campbell, S Barkley, K Latham, W Bradley, L Hayres. UNSW-ES – J Hardman 2, J McLean 2, S Pollock, D Cordell, T Banuelos, J Robbie.
Best : North Shore – S Barkley, H Carr, J McKenzie, W Bradley, A McConnell, H MacDonald. UNSW-ES – T Banuelos, J McLean, M Thompson, D Cordell, N Reinhard, M Lower.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 26th August 2017.

Elimination Final
Pennant Hills 6.7 12.11 14.12 20.16 (136)
St George 4.2 7.4 7.6 7.8 (50)
Goals : Pennant Hills –
N Hey 6, M Carey 3, T Edmonds 2, T Wales, K Briggs, J Stern, M Preen, M Thomas, R Ediriwickrama, A Crisfield, J Potter, L Skrivanic. St George - Ryan 2, L Maze, B Guthrie, D Lycakis, B Jones, J Mudge.
Best : Pennant Hills – N Hey, J Potter, J Hare, R Ediriwickrama, S Wray, J Stern. St George – N Shipley, T Martin, E Shaw, B Jones, B McParland, D Michalak.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 27th August 2017.


Division One:
Qualifying Final
Sydney Uni 1.2 4.5 9.6 9.7 (61)
Pennant Hills 1.0 1.2 3.2 3.3 (21)
Goals : Sydney Uni –
J Walsh 2, C Morgan 2, B Hawtin, T Stewart, N Kyriacakis, A Birman, N Dale. Pennant Hills – A Brawn, K Wright, J Preedy.
Best : Sydney Uni – J Swarts, B Biggs, G Smith, R Kennedy, T Stewart, A Everett. Pennant Hills – S Parker, K Wright, A Conway, I Pearson, M Vidler, A Nixon.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 26th August 2017.

Elimination Final
Camden 1.2 4.5 9.8 12.10 (82)
Western Magic 1.3 4.6 6.11 8.13 (61)
Goals : Camden -
M Maher 3, F Brown 3, A Bell 2, F Fielding, J Bottin-Noonan, T Gilheany, B Pearce. Magic – I Heath 3, A Moeller 2, W Stoitse, E Barclay, J Mann.
Best : Camden - F Brown, D Franke, A Bell, B McGrath, A Storey, J Bottin-Noonan. Magic - J Baldwin, I Heath, J Schwarze, A Moeller, C Moore, J Moore.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Division Two:
Qualifying Final
UNSW-ES 1.1 5.1 6.3 8.4 (52)
Penrith 0.1 1.2 1.7 2.10 (22)
Goals : UNSW-ES –
M Dragicevic 3, T Williamson, J McKinlay, C McKinlay, T Scheibling, N McGann. Penrith – B McGovern, E Claxton.
Best : UNSW-ES – R Farrelly, J McKinlay, L Towell, K Reynolds-Erler, T Scheibling, N McGann. Penrith – J Edwards, T Noble, J Pianta, M Laffan, E Claxton, J Anasis.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Elimination Final
Western Suburbs 2.3 4.7 6.13 11.14 (80)
Pennant Hills 0.1 2.2 3.3 4.4 (28)
Goals : Wests -
J Newbury 3, R Cott 2, C Specha 2, R Hinson, C McGrath, M McGowan, A Eurell. Pennant Hills – F Nixon 2, S Brain, B Thompson.
Best : Wests - R Hinson, J Newbury, C McGrath, H Sherwood, M McGowan, J Polley. Pennant Hills - A Russell, D Smith, A Dallas, C Baglin, A Smith, F Nixon..
At Kanebridge Oval, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Division Three:
First Semi-Final
Macquarie Uni 3.1 5.2 9.5 11.7 (73)
NorWest 3.3 7.6 7.8 7.8 (50)
Goals : Macquarie Uni -
T Cameron 2, S Thompson 2, A Robertson, R Vincent, R Cooper, G Nixon, J Edmondson, P Harris, M Healey. NorWest – J Berry 2, A Sharvell 2, L Horrell, L Barlow, R Johnston.
Best : Macquarie Uni - R Holdman, H St Hill, A Robertson, J Cooper, B Kucharski, A Le-Tang. NorWest - J Cass, A Bayne, M Crowe, D Costa, J Berry, L Horrell.
At Kanebridge Oval, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Second Semi-Final
North Shore 2.2 5.4 5.4 9.5 (59)
Camden 2.2 2.2 5.5 6.7 (43)
Goals : North Shore -
S Bear 2, Z Manley 2, R Hezlett, J Brennan, R Jones, A Jalloh, B Alcock. Camden – M Broadstock, B Yakimov, S Perkins, R Sheahan, R Newham, M Lecek.
Best : North Shore - Z Manley, R Jones, S Bear, M Goode, N McNamara, B Linford. Camden - C Trewhella, B Yakimov, L Aliphon, S Rooke, L McCann, V Musgrave.
At Henson Park, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Division Four:
Qualifying Final
Western Magic 2.8 4.9 9.16 10.19 (79)
Sydney Uni 0.0 2.5 3.8 6.8 (44)
Goals : Magic -
Z Godden 2, M Craigie 2, L Hyland 2, B White, A Perkins, S Coombes, D Hurwood. Sydney Uni – A Donnelly 2, P Lloyd, J Flanagan, K Homberg, J Trouchet.
Best : Magic - Z Godden, B Tranter, A Hill, S Coombes, L Hyland, N Lawson. Sydney Uni - D Gardiner, D Downes, A Donnelly, S Naylor, J Trouchet, M Lloyd.
At Henson Park, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Elimination Final
UTS 3.6 8.8 9.11 13.13 (91)
UNSW-ES 1.0 2.2 3.2 6.3 (39)
Goals : UTS -
N Ward 3, T Allen 2, E Taffa 2, P Doubakis 2, S Mitchell 2, J Ellison, L McManus. UNSW-ES – M Cullen 2, C Peters, K Costello, J Tesoriero, T De Niese.
Best : UTS - L McManus, J Ellison, L Russell, S Pascal, N Ward, J Watson. UNSW-ES - M Martin, T De Niese, C Peters, S McIlwrath, K Costello, L Simpson.
At Kanebridge Oval, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Division Five:
Qualifying Final
Western Suburbs 1.7 2.8 6.10 7.10 (52)
North Shore 2.1 2.1 3.1 4.3 (27)
Goals : Wests –
M Eurell 2, A Convery 2, S Kruse, J Lewis, D Balassone. North Shore – S Shipley 2, B Jackson, H Benyon.
Best : Wests – E Petrie, D Balassone, T Barrett, A Eichah, M Eurell, J Armstrong. North Shore – A Hislop, C Mansfield, M Lloyd, K Dale, A Crafter, A MacRae.
At Henson Park, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Elimination Final
UTS 2.5 6.5 12.6 13.11 (89)
Macquarie Uni 1.2 3.4 4.5 6.7 (43)
Goals : UTS –
B Wright 3, N Hawke 3, L Habel 3, O Ryan, L Nevin, B Northcote, J Minchie. Macquarie Uni – C Farmer 2, N Bennett 2, L Nelson, C Apcar.
Best : UTS – J Minchie, P Grima, N Hawke, A Ryder, A O’Donaghoe, J McKiernan. Macquarie Uni – L Nelson, N Orton, E Lenton, W Quan, N Bennett, D McLanders.
At Kanebridge Oval, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Under 19s One:
Second Semi-Final
North Shore 3.3 5.5 7.6 9.7 (61)
St George 0.2 0.4 2.7 6.10 (46)
Goals : North Shore –
M Buskariol 3, C McFadden, D Marchingo, T Meacham, C Howard, A Rankin, C Silvester. St George – E Maher, J Hall, M Gray, J Smyth, K Ayres, B Willems.
Best : North Shore – N Smith, J Shumack, C Loone, T Meacham, C McCarthy, H Parker. St George – K McKellar, C Felton, J Ware, P Lukas, P Tegg, J Smyth.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 26th August 2017.

First Semi-Final
UNSW-ES 1.5 1.6 4.6 10.6 (66)
East Coast 2.2 2.5 5.8 7.8 (50)
Goals : UNSW-ES –
J Pawle 3, L Johnson 2, S Thorne, W Tyson, H Lewis, H Dyson, A Lawther. East Coast – L Waters 2, O Bieganski, M Perl, B Stewart, B Jones, W Mitchell.
Best : UNSW-ES – S Thorne, J Hennessy, L Hoy, H Dyson, M Ries, L Johnson. East Coast – J Large, N Johns, A Hunter, N Coxall, D Saywell, B Jones.
At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 26th August 2017.

Under 19s Two:
First Semi-Final
Southern Power 0.5 1.8 3.13 10.15 (75)
Wests Goannas 0.0 0.6 1.8 4.14 (38)
Goals : Power -
B Querzoli 3, C Keenan, T Jackson, K Goodwin, B Travers, H Tangohau, H Tattersall, C Briody. Goannas - E Cormack, D Hevers, R Cormack, H Petras.
Best : Power - B Querzoli, B Travers, F Smith, J Woolmer, H Tattersall, H Tangohau. Goannas - E Pooley, S Stephens, K Duong, A Pinto, D Hevers, R Beatty.
At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 26th August 2017.

Second Semi-Final
South-West Cats 3.4 7.6 12.11 18.17 (125)
St George 1.0 4.2 6.3 9.4 (58)
Goals : SW Cats -
J Upfill 4, J Coomby 2, L Phipps 2, W Gamble 2, A Lombardo, J Ivanoff, N Breen, T Irwin, R Harman, K Passlow, D Whyman, K Deans. St George – T Crawford 4, J Cashman 2, H Blacker, W Hack, B Challen.
Best : SW Cats - J Coomby, J Ivanoff, L Phipps, J Purcell, Q Passlow, A Lombardo. St George - W Mudge, T Crawford, W Lourey, A Martin, G Cibei, N Pidgeon.
At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 26th August 2017.

Women Premier Division:
Second Semi-Final
UNSW-ES 1.2 4.3 6.6 6.7 (43)
Sydney Uni 0.1 0.5 1.6 3.7 (25)
Goals : UNSW-ES -
J Still 2, B Pride 2, N Moore, R Beeson. Sydney Uni - S Walker 2, R Stack.
Best : UNSW-ES - I Nielsen, N Vrachnas, K Spilarewicz, S Janjetovic, M Collier, P Monahan . Sydney Uni - N Barr, E Brush, K Sutcliffe, J Lew, N Wiggins, A Smith.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 26th August 2017.

First Semi-Final
Macquarie Uni 1.1 2.4 4.6 8.12 (60)
Auburn-Penrith 1.3 2.4 2.8 2.8 (20)
Goals : Macquarie Uni -
L Russell 3, E Swanson 2, G Ferreira, J Wong, A Ferrari. Auburn-Penrith – J Gay 2.
Best : Macquarie Uni - M Kiely, L Russell, A Farrugia, A Hessell, E Swanson, G Foster. Auburn-Penrith - N Perrett, N Camilleri, J Chan, L Kassem, J Vella, R Tomkins.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 27th August 2017.

Women Division One:
First Elimination Final
Western Magic 4.8 10.11 13.15 16.20 (116)
North Shore 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 (1)
Goals : Magic -
A Weir 6, C Corr 4, E Pickering Rodriguez 3, T Kleyn, S Freeman, D Dimond. North Shore – Nil.
Best : Magic - C Corr, L Houghton, A Weir, J Mann, E Pickering Rodriguez, S Luczak. North Shore – E Briggs, J Bunworth, R Holmes, M Eder, P Larkin, N Ransom.
At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 26th August 2017.

Second Elimination Final
Pennant Hills 4.4 4.4 6.11 6.12 (48)
East Coast 1.0 3.3 4.3 5.5 (35)
Goals : Pennant Hills -
L Donohoe 2, A Bruce 2, E Davis, M Nixon. East Coast – E Wilson 2, C Arndt 2, A Stedman.
Best : Pennant Hills - E Wade, M Mahony, M James, L Donohoe, T Webb, R Apap East Coast – C Arndt, E.Goodsir , A Dallaway, S Ford, B Donnellan, C Emery.
At Henson Park, Sunday 27th August 2017.


NEXT WEEK’S FIXTURES

Premier Division:

Second Semi-Final – Saturday 2nd September
Blacktown ISP – Sydney Uni v North Shore (2:30pm)
First Semi-Final – Sunday 3rd September
Blacktown ISP – UNSW-ES v Pennant Hills (2:10pm)

Division One:
Second Semi-Final – Saturday 2nd September
Blacktown ISP – St George v Sydney Uni (12pm)
First Semi-Final – Sunday 3rd September
Blacktown ISP – Pennant Hills v Camden (11:40am)

Division Two:
Second Semi-Final – Saturday 2nd September
Henson Park – North Shore v UNSW-ES (1:20pm)
First Semi-Final – Sunday 3rd September
Henson Park – Penrith v Western Suburbs (2:15pm)

Division Three:
Preliminary Final – Saturday 2nd September
Henson Park – Camden v Macquarie Uni (11:10am)

Division Four:
Second Semi-Final – Saturday 2nd September
Kanebridge Oval – St George v Western Magic (9:45am)
First Semi-Final – Sunday 3rd September
Henson Park – Sydney Uni v UNSW-ES (12pm)

Division Five:
Second Semi-Final – Sunday 3rd September
Blacktown ISP – Camden v Manly (9:30am)
First Semi-Final – Sunday 3rd September
Henson Park – North Shore v UTS (9:45am)

Under 19s One:
Preliminary Final – Saturday 2nd September
Blacktown ISP – St George v UNSW-ES (9:45am)

Under 19s Two:
Preliminary Final – Saturday 2nd September
Henson Park – St George v Southern Power (9:30am)

Women Premier Division:
Preliminary Final – Saturday 2nd September
Henson Park – Sydney Uni v Macquarie Uni (3:30pm)

Women Division One:
Second Semi-Final – Saturday 2nd September
Kanebridge Oval – Western Magic v Pennant Hills (12pm)
Qualifying Final – Saturday 2nd September
Kanebridge Oval – Wollongong v Manly (2:15pm)