SYDNEY AFL FINALS WEEK 2 2017
Article by Michael Shillito

For much of this season Sydney Uni have been the leading force. Not invincible, they have lost three games along the way, but comfortably took out the minor premiership. And in Saturday’s Second Semi-Final, the Students continued on their winning ways to be the first team into this year’s Grand Final.
The Semi-Final, played on Saturday evening at Blacktown, saw the Students take on North Shore. The Bombers had made their way to the game with a big win in the Qualifying Final; and with seven wins from their last eight games, the Bombers were in good form.
One of the big questions leading into the game was whether the Students were under-done. A horrific injury seeing their round 17 game cut short, then the bye in round 18 and another week off in the first week of the finals meant the Students were going into the game with only about 20 minutes of footy under their belt in the last three weeks.
But as the game got under way, if you didn’t know better you’d have thought it was the Bombers who were rusty and the Students who had winning momentum behind them. The Students had their first goal within 30 seconds, a trend that would continue after every break as the Students posted scoring shots in the first 30 seconds of every quarter; goals in the first three and a poster in the last.
It was an explosive start for the Students, as they had three goals on the board within 10 minutes. They could have added to that tally as the quarter drew on, but missed some shots that they normally would have expected to kick. Not that it mattered, as the Bombers struggled to put up any resistance. Incursions into the forward 50 were rare, and the North Shore forward line was missing in action. The Bombers were unable to trouble the scorers in the first term, and the Students took a 26-point lead to quarter time.
The goal umpires corrected the scoreboard, which had four Uni goals, during the quarter time break. But the change was short-lived, as the real fourth goal came straight away. The Bombers made a fleeting revival midway through the second term with two goals in quick succession; but the Students ruthlessly put down any comeback hopes with three more goals in the blink of an eye. The Students were fresh, fit and firing; hitting their targets with efficiency. In contrast, the Bombers were uncharacteristically flat and struggling to make any impact at all; frustration spilling over as a dust-up erupted when the half-time siren sounded; the Bombers trailing by 39 points and in deep trouble.
If the Bombers were to get back into the contest, and it seemed unlikely, they needed to come out firing in the third term. But heads were down, the work-rate was suffering and the Bombers had nothing to offer. The third term would yield two goals to one in favour of the Students; not a quarter of footy that offered any great inspiration, but one in which the Students firmed their position and did what they needed to do to ensure the Bombers had no way back. The Students led by 46 points at three quarter time, and a spot in the Grand Final was assured.
The last quarter would see each team score one goal before the contest fizzled out. The Students had complete control, and could have added further to their goal-kicking tally but for some wasteful finishing on the forward line. The Bombers had little to offer on their forward line, wide open spaces there as their forwards ran to the other end chasing a kick. But this was a Uni benefit show, and the Students were happy to play out time, with the final siren granting the Students a 54-point win.
Front-runners all season, the Students continued to set the pace for the league as they comfortably made their way through to the Grand Final, their first at Premier Division level since 2010. Allister Clarke, Michael Fogarty and Kane Murphy were the Students’ best; but it was hard to find a player in the blue and gold hoops who didn’t play their role efficiently as they made their way into the Grand Final with a minimum of fuss.
Jack Campbell, Zac Fyffe and Sam Barkley tried hard all day for North Shore; but it was one of those days for the Bombers when nothing was going right and they struggled to make any impact at all. But the one saving grace for the Bombers is that, qualifying for the double-chance, their season isn’t over. They have another chance to make the Grand Final, when they play in next Saturday’s Preliminary Final.

The Bombers’ opponents in the Preliminary Final will be Pennant Hills. The Demons, coming through from the Elimination Final, have saved their best form of the season for the business end, and were untroubled in getting past UNSW-ES by 77 points at Blacktown International Sportspark in the First Semi-Final on Sunday afternoon.
The two sides have enjoyed contrasting seasons this year. The Bulldogs, one of the youngest sides in the competition, hit the ground running early in the season and were flying high two-thirds of the way through before faltering in the lead-up to the finals. In contrast, the Demons, with so many among their number who have experienced the big games before, looked no certainty to make the finals two-thirds of the way through before clicking into gear and overcoming everyone that came in their way in recent weeks.
And from the start, the in-form Demons made a statement that they weren’t ready to end their season yet. Hitting the ground running, with wave after wave of forward pressure that left the Bulldogs under siege, the relentless Pennant Hills onslaught was too much for the Bulldogs to contend with. The scoreboard was ticking over with regularity, and the Bulldogs were unable to hold the rampant Demons out. Six unanswered goals told the tale, as the Demons assumed complete control over the contest to lead by 42 points at the first change.
The Bulldogs were shell-shocked by the Demon rampage in the first term, and needed to regroup in the second. To some extent they did that, and would win the quarter, but not by enough to look any chance of launching a comeback result. It was a tight second term, with both sides defending grimly; the Bulldogs to hold the Demons back, the Demons to hang onto their lead. The loose runners were kept quiet, the tackling defenders being rewarded. Three goals to two would see the Bulldogs reduce the margin to 37 points at half time; but the Demons still looked well and truly in control.
In the premiership quarter, the Bulldogs’ hopes of lifting the trophy this season were extinguished. This was the time in which the Bulldogs would need to lift and surge back into the contest, but they were unable to do so. Instead it was the Demons who would find another level to take their game to, as they turned defence into attack and left the Bulldogs chasing their shadow. The Demons took their lead out to 72 points at three quarter time after a one-sided quarter of footy that would result in six goals to one.
With the game safely won, the Demons were content to put their cue back in the rack, and the last quarter would produce little to excite. The Demons would win the last quarter by three goals to two, but much of the time was counting down to the final siren and a big Pennant Hills win.
The final margin was 77 points, as the Demons continue their impressive run of form at the business end of the season. Matt Carey was in sensational form to finish with five goals, while a clean performance from Matthew Preen resulted in four goals. Around the ground, Aaron Crisfield, Stephen Wray and Matt Carey were ball magnets as they guided the Demons to another impressive win.
Jack Buckley, Tom Banuelos and Darcy Cordell battled tirelessly in the face of adversity for the Bulldogs; but it wasn’t enough to prevent a heavy defeat. The Bulldogs will be disappointed to go out of the finals in straight sets; and being unable to maintain their impressive form of earlier in the season for the whole year. But it’s been a big rise up the ladder after few wins in the last couple of years, and with some exciting talent in the Bulldogs’ ranks, there’s a bright future in front of them.

But just three teams remain in the race for the 2017 Premier Division. Sydney Uni will be in the Grand Final. And next Saturday at Blacktown, we find out whether it will be North Shore and Pennant Hills who will join them for Sydney footy’s biggest game.
Both previous games between the Bombers and the Demons this year have gone down to the wire, and with a Grand Final spot on the line, this Preliminary Final has the makings of a classic.


Premier Division:
Second Semi-Final
Sydney University 3.8 7.10 9.13 10.21 (81)
North Shore 0.0 2.1 3.3 4.3 (27)
Goals : Sydney Uni –
H Morrison 2, K Murphy, M Mahady, W Stratford, J Swarts, D Johnson, M Fogarty, J Cole, M Powys. North Shore – Z Fyffe 2, N Campbell, K Latham.
Best : Sydney Uni – A Clarke, M Fogarty, K Murphy, A Sierakowski, N Foster, L Vella. North Shore – N Campbell, Z Fyffe, S Barkley, W Bradley, D Schacher, H MacDonald.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 2nd September 2017.

First Semi-Final
Pennant Hills 6.7 8.10 14.17 17.19 (121)
Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs 0.1 3.3 4.5 6.8 (44)
Goals : Pennant Hills –
M Carey 5, M Preen 4, T Wales 2, J Stern 2, J Boag, L Skrivanic, T Edmonds, T Angel. UNSW-ES – J Buckley 2, S Wilson 2, J Cann, N Reinhard.
Best : Pennant Hills – A Crisfield, S Wray, M Carey, T Edmonds, T Angel, L Skrivanic. UNSW-ES – J Buckley, T Banuelos, D Cordell, J Cann, J McAnespie, A Foote.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Division One:
Second Semi-Final
Sydney Uni 1.1 4.8 5.10 8.13 (61)
St George 2.3 3.3 5.3 9.5 (59)
Goals : Sydney Uni -
J Stapleton 3, X Nelson, W.Gowers, B Hawtin, D Black, J Walsh. St George – M Jones 3, O Selvi 2, B Dimevski, A Bah, D Napper, M Knight.
Best : Sydney Uni - J Stapleton, M Baker, A Everett, R Kennedy, S Power, A Holmes. St George – K Anu, B Dimevski, N McKenzie-Hicks, M Saunders, L Maze, B McParland.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 2nd September 2017.

First Semi-Final
Pennant Hills 4.3 4.6 11.11 13.13 (91)
Camden 2.1 8.3 9.4 10.4 (64)
Goals : Pennant Hills -
M Vidler 2, M Carroll 2, N Mace 2, N Low, R Lepore, D Preen, P De La Mare, C Luscombe, J Gunstone. Camden – T Gilheany 3, J Van Luenen 2, B Pearce 2, A Bell, F Fielding, M Hogan.
Best : Pennant Hills - C Luscombe, S Widmer, D Preen, K Wright, M Carroll, N Mace. Camden – F Fielding, J Van Luenen, N Hills, B Pearce, T Georgiou, A Storey.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Division Two:
Second Semi-Final
North Shore 6.4 10.5 12.7 16.7 (103)
UNSW-ES 1.0 2.4 3.6 6.9 (45)
Goals : North Shore -
B Plug 4, W Blackburne 4, J David-Wright 2, J Jones 2, A Quail, J Watters, T Hansen, T Weston. UNSW-ES – R Farrelly 2, T Williamson, A Henderson, J McKinlay, B Hyndes.
Best : North Shore - K Lower, L Pryor, J Harry, J Terrey, J Jones, C Parsons. UNSW-ES – J McKinlay, R Farrelly, L Towell, A Goodieson, C Knudsen, C Jourdain.
At Henson Park, Saturday 2nd September 2017.

First Semi-Final
Western Suburbs 2.3 6.6 8.9 11.12 (78)
Penrith 0.1 1.7 2.7 4.10 (34)
Goals : Wests -
J Schultz 3, J O''Neil 2, C McGrath, R Cott, C Specha, S Stephens, M McGowan, A Eurell. Penrith – M Beasley, Z Pianta, J Edwards, B McGovern.
Best : Wests - T Lambert, S Stephens, P Boyd, J Hand, J Polley, J Newbury. Penrith – J Edwards, J Pianta, T Noble, M Laffan, Z Pianta, J Devlin.
At Henson Park, Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Division Three:
Preliminary Final
Camden 5.2 8.5 13.7 17.9 (111)
Macquarie Uni 2.4 2.4 4.5 8.7 (55)
Goals : Camden -
M Lecek 5, V Musgrave 2, A Noyce 2, M Halteh, B Yakimov, C Murray, L Aliphon, R Newham, J Mullaney, J Broadbent, R Sheahan. Macquarie Uni – B Cooper 3, T Cameron, R Cooper, J Edmondson, S Lawrenson, P Harris.
Best : Camden - M Medlin, V Musgrave, C Murray, T Glynn, R Newham, M Lecek. Macquarie Uni – J Edmondson, A Robertson, J Ortiz, J Coburn, H St Hill, B Kucharski.
At Henson Park, Saturday 2nd September 2017.

Division Four:
Second Semi-Final
St George 4.1 5.2 7.6 9.10 (64)
Western Magic 2.2 6.3 7.3 9.3 (57)
Goals : St George -
J Gasovski 3, D Williams 2, D Ryan, H Randell, W Murray, D Sanderson. Magic – M Yuvarajan 3, D Mcintyer 2, L Hyland, P Barclay, M Craigie, J Hart.
Best : St George - D Ryan, C Andrews, R Craig, D Williams, L Parnell, L Ryan. Magic – A Carey, B Tranter, D Hurwood, D Mcintyer, A Perkins, O Glass.
At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 2nd September 2017.

First Semi-Final
UTS 1.3 4.8 7.11 12.12 (84)
Sydney Uni 2.0 2.2 2.2 4.7 (31)
Goals : UTS -
E Taffa 5, T Allen, S Mitchell, J Watson, N Ward, S Pascal, P Doubakis, L McManus. Sydney Uni – Not available.
Best : UTS - S Mitchell, L McManus, J Ellison, T Putnins, Z Thorneycroft, J Watson. Sydney Uni – Not available.
At Henson Park, Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Division Five:
Second Semi-Final
Wests 3.2 7.5 12.7 14.9 (93)
Camden 1.1 3.2 4.3 7.3 (45)
Goals : Wests -
M Eurell 9, A Convery 2, S Kruse, DLawrence, J Etto. Camden – D McKay 2, S Young, A Lodge, C Passlow, M Morgan, J Ykmour.
Best : Wests - S Kruse, A Branthwaite, J Etto, D Lawrence, K Foreman, M Lemme. Camden – D McKay, J Murtagh, B Campbell, B Grasso, M Broadstock, A Beves.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Sunday 3rd September 2017.

First Semi-Final
UTS 3.5 3.8 7.10 [9.10] 10.12 (72)
North Shore 2.4 2.7 7.8 [9.10] 10.10 (70)
Goals : UTS -
L Habel 4, L Nevin 2, J Mckiernan, B Watt, M Keast, D Casarotto. North Shore – S Shipley 5, C Mansfield, A Crafter, Marcus Bell, W Clarke, K Dale.
Best : UTS - T Ottens, A Ryder, L Habel, L Nevin, A Phillips-Chantelois, E Molloy. North Shore – A Crafter, C Mansfield, W Clarke, S Shipley, A Hislop, Matt Bell.
[Extra time played. Scores 9.10 (64) apiece at full time]
At Henson Park, Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Under 19s One:
Preliminary Final
St George 1.1 3.4 6.9 12.10 (82)
UNSW-ES 3.0 3.4 4.4 6.8 (44)
Goals : St George -
E Maher 2, L Bognar 2, J Smyth 2, K Ayres, M Watson, J Hall, H Hunt, W Mudge, C Flanagan. UNSW-ES – J Pawle 2, C Kilpatrick 2, H Lewis, L Hoy.
Best : St George - D Soffe, J Hall, K Ayres, C Flanagan, K McKellar, L Sansom. UNSW-ES – H Lewis, L Johnson, J Hennessy, J Pawle, J Sorenson, C Kilpatrick.
At Blacktown International Sportspark, Saturday 2nd September 2017.

Under 19s Two:
Preliminary Final
Southern Power 5.4 8.6 10.11 13.13 (91)
St George 3.0 3.1 5.2 7.4 (46)
Goals : Power -
S Lienert 4, B Travers 2, H Tattersall 2, B Donnelly, C Briody, M King, B Querzoli, K Goodwin. St George – J Round 2, Z Newton 2, J Cashman, C Horbury, L Sorich.
Best : Power - B Travers, B Querzoli, S Lienert, H Tangohau, F Smith, J Woolmer. St George – W Hack, Z Newton, C Horbury, J Round, J Cashman, A McGregor.
At Henson Park, Saturday 2nd September 2017.

Women Premier Division:
Preliminary Final
Sydney Uni 3.2 5.3 8.3 10.7 (67)
Macquarie Uni 0.1 0.1 2.1 3.1 (19)
Goals : Sydney Uni -
R Stack 2, S Walker 2, A Laven 2, C Binazzi, M Haynes, E Brush, K Sutcliffe. Macquarie Uni – M Kiely, A Albury, A Hessell.
Best : Sydney Uni - N Barr, K Sutcliffe, E Brush, M Haynes, R Stack, P Clegg. Macquarie Uni – A Farrugia, A Hessell, E Herron, G Ferreira, A Albury, M Kiely.
At Henson Park, Saturday 2nd September 2017.

Women Division One:
First Semi-Final
Western Magic 4.2 6.6 9.9 12.9 (81)
Pennant Hills 0.0 0.0 1.1 1.1 (7)
Goals : Magic -
A Weir 4, E Pickering Rodriguez 2, S Freeman 2, A O'Keeffe, D Dimond, T Kleyn, S Luczak. Pennant Hills – A Bruce.
Best : Magic - M O'Keeffe, L Houghton, J Mann, R Leeds, S Freeman, A Weir. Pennant Hills – A Wade, E Wade, E Rugg, J Wood, M James, H Lowe.
At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 2nd September 2017.

Second Semi-Final
Wollongong 3.0 5.5 7.8 7.10 (52)
Manly 1.1 1.2 3.3 3.3 (21)
Goals : Wollongong -
R McGartland 4, E Morris 2, B Dalgleish. Manly – K McNaughton, R Lewis, H Graham.
Best : Wollongong - T Bell, G Biedenweg-Webster, L Donnelly, K Church, R McGartland, E Morris. Manly – R Lewis, J Joslyn, I Tremauville, R Howard, M Watts, R Rawle.
At Kanebridge Oval, Saturday 2nd September 2017.


NEXT WEEK’S MATCHES

Premier Division:

Preliminary Final – Saturday 9th September
Blacktown ISP – North Shore v Pennant Hills (2:10pm)

Division One:
Preliminary Final – Saturday 9th September
Blacktown ISP – St George v Pennant Hills (11:40am)

Division Two:
Preliminary Final – Saturday 9th September
Blacktown ISP – UNSW-ES v Western Suburbs (9:30am)

Division Three:
GRAND FINAL – Sunday 10th September
Blacktown ISP – North Shore v Camden (4:30pm)

Division Four:
Preliminary Final – Saturday 9th September
Henson Park – Western Magic v UTS (12pm)

Division Five:
Preliminary Final – Saturday 9th September
Henson Park – Camden v UTS (9:45am)

Under 19s One:
GRAND FINAL – Sunday 10th September
Blacktown ISP – North Shore v St George (11:30am)

Under 19s Two:
GRAND FINAL – Sunday 10th September
Blacktown ISP – South-West Cats v Southern Power (9am)

Women Premier Division:
GRAND FINAL – Sunday 10th September
Blacktown ISP – UNSW-ES v Sydney Uni (2pm)

Women Division One:
Preliminary Final – Saturday 9th September
Henson Park – Western Magic v Manly (2:15pm)


FIRST GRAND FINAL DAY
Four premiership cups will be up for grabs at Blacktown International Sportspark next Saturday, as the first four Grand Finals are held. These are the Grand Finals for the divisions with a final four.
The schedule for the day is:
9am – Under 19s Two – South-West Cats v Southern Power
11:30am – Under 19s One – North Shore v St George
2pm – Women Premier Division – UNSW-ES v Sydney Uni
4:30pm – Division Three – North Shore v Camden