SYDNEY AFL ROUND 5 - The Plot ThickensRyan Officer shoots for goal
2008 is shaping as one of the most even seasons ever. Already every team has tasted defeat at least once, and only one side is yet to experience a win.
And that side, Balmain, are surely not far away. Recent weeks have seen the Dockers begin to close the gap on their rivals. In the opening round of the season the Dockers were pumped by Sydney Uni, but going into their round 5 clash against North Shore they had gone down by just a kick against Campbelltown and were only down by a couple of kicks at the last change against Wests. And when Balmain started strongly against North Shore, kicking the first 3 goals of the game within the first 10 minutes, hopes were high that the long-suffering club could finally break through.

In the end it wasn't to be. After an even first half, North Shore froze the Dockers out of the contest in the third quarter. It had been a tough and sometimes spiteful game, with both sides having a man sent to the sin bin before half time; but as the game went on it was North Shore who gradually asserted themselves and went on to record a 26-point win. It wasn't pretty, but it was a valuable result for North Shore, with the reigning premiers finally recording the first win of their title defence season.


The even-ness of the season and the competition was also on display at North Dalton Oval, when Wollongong hosted last year's runners-up St George. St George made the early front-running, but the third quarter saw the inspired Lions fight their way back into the contest to trail by just 2 points at the last change; and had it not been for the Crows' accuracy in kicking 11.3 before the final break, Wollongong may well have hit the front and been on course to spring an upset.

In earlier games this season against East Coast Eagles and Pennant Hills, St George had gone down after having had comfortable leads; and there were nervous moments in the Crows' camp at the last change. But, close as they came, the Lions were never able to get the goal to hit the lead that would have changed the momentum of the match. Instead, it was St George, spearheaded by a 5-goal haul from Pat McBride, who were able to pull away in the last quarter to record a 27-point win.

Centre bounce
The previously unbeaten Sydney Uni suffered their first defeat of 2008 when they were blown away by a strong opening quarter from Pennant Hills. The Demons raced out of the blocks with 6 unanswered goals in the first term, and with a 37-point lead the contest already looked over. And so it was to be; and although the Students outscored the Demons from then on, the damage was done. The result saw Pennant Hills leap-frog the Students onto top spot on the ladder.


Wests returned to Picken Oval, with the ground next door to the club hosting its first Sydney AFL senior game for many years when the Magpies took on UNSW-ES. And with a large crowd of Wests supporters on hand to celebrate the Magpies' 60th anniversary, hopes of the locals celebrating with an upset win were boosted with a strong third quarter that reduced the deficit to just 11 points at the last break.

But the Bulldogs steadied in the last, scoring 2 goals to 1 to record a 19-point win. Veteran forward Brad Abbott was the star of the show with a 10-goal bag, again proving to be the difference between the Bulldogs and their opposition. The result keeps UNSW-ES in third place, with just percentage keepiing them off the top of the ladder; while Wests' percentage keeps them in the top 5.Damian Hall takes a free

And moving into the top 5 for the first time in 2008 is East Coast Eagles. The Hills-based side stormed into contention with a commanding 103-point demolition of Campbelltown at Monarch on Saturday. Seven unanswered goals in the second term set up the result, with Gus Seebeck in irrepressible form with 7 goals for the day. The result was a triumph for Eagles' coach Glenn Garner, a former Campbelltown coach; and sees the Eagles replace the Blues in the top 5; and after a promising beginning to 2008 the Blues will need to dig deep to rediscover theit early-season form.


First Division action saw Holroyd-Parramatta break through for their first win of the season when the Goannas took out a 47-point result against competition newcomers Camden. UTS had a tough fight on their hands in the university derby but broke away when it mattered in the last term to take a hard-fought 24-point win over Macquarie Uni. But it was far more one-sided in the other clashes, with Southern Sharks beating Penrith by 155 points and Manly recording a 162-point win over NorWest Jets.


North Shore   3.2   6.4   9.9   12.13 (85)

Balmain   3.0   5.3   7.4   9.5 (59)

Goals : North Shore - P Brackin 4, A Lowes 2, R Wason 2, R Harry, L Brain, T Strudwick, M Thompson. Balmain - D Hall 3, R Officer 3, D Wilson, D Turner, J Dickens.

Reserves - North Shore 20.13 (133) d Balmain 6.8 (44)

At Gore Hill Oval, Saturday 3rd May 2008.

 Boundary throw-in

St George   4.1   8.3    11.3   17.4 (106)

Wollongong   1.1   5.1   10.7   12.7 (79)

Goals : St George - P McBride 5, D Ryan 3, P Dugmore 3, A Low 2, J Horder, C Windle, J Shineberg, S Wilsen. Wollongong - R Neels 3, J Philp 2, A McConnochie 2, M Sheppard, M Adamson, S Dennis, T Heath, T Bartlett.

Reserves - St George 10.10 (70) d Wollongong 9.9 (63)

At North Dalton Oval, Saturday 3rd May 2008.


Pennant Hills   6.3   11.5   14.9   17.12 (114)

Sydney University   0.2   4.3   6.7   13.11 (89)

Goals : Pennant Hills - C Setford 4, M Carey 3, P Carey 2, L Bilbe 2, D De Looze, S Parker, M Hossen, A Goodall, A Richardson, B Jack. Sydney Uni - B Coles 3, M Egan 2, J Champion de Crespign, B Mankarious, C McLachlan, M Healy, A Kraefft, J Carr, R Wood, F Punch.

Reserves - Sydney Uni 11.19 (85) d Pennant Hills 12.12 (84)

At Sydney University No 1 Oval, Saturday 3rd May 2008.


Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs   1.3   8.8   14.10   16.14 (110)

Western Suburbs   2.5   5.5   12.11   13.13 (91)

Goals : UNSW-ES - B Abbott 10, M Carey 2, J Kiel, A Darling, T Luff, L Forrestal. Wests - M Eurell 4, C French 2, M Withers 2, S Kassem 2, C McGuirk, C Noordhof, E

Reserves - UNSW-ES 15.11 (101) d Wests 2.8 (20)

At Picken Oval, Saturday 3rd May 2008.


East Coast Eagles   5.0   12.2   15.6   20.9 (129)

Campbelltown   2.1   2.2   2.2   4.2 (26)

Goals : East Coast - G Seebeck 7, B Rogers 4, M Arbon 3, A Byerlee, A Floyd, S Ryan, M Sankey, S O'Connor. Campbelltown - M Edwins, C Fretwell, S Kershaw, T Wright.

Reserves - East Coast 24.24 (168) d Campbelltown 2.1 (13)

At Monarch Oval, Saturday 3rd May 2008.


Pennant Hills540158043016134.88W2
Sydney University540156143416129.26L1
Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs540156243816128.31W2
East Coast Eagles530254040312134.00W2
Western Suburbs530247941212116.26L1
St George530243541112104.84W1
North Shore5104378494476.52W1


First Division:

Holroyd-Parramatta 17.13 (115) d Camden 9.14 (68)

Southern Sharks 27.23 (185) d Penrith 5.0 (30)

UTS 16.16 (112) d Macquarie Uni 13.10 (88)

Manly-Warringah 33.14 (212) d NorWest Jets 7.8 (50)

Reserve Grade

Holroyd-Parramatta 17.17 (119) d Camden 3.3 (21)

Southern Sharks d Penrith - forfeit

UTS 17.15 (117) d Macquarie Uni 6.8 (44)

Manly-Warringah 22.17 (149) d NorWest Jets 3.2 (20)

 Tempers flare on the forward pocket
Second Division:

Sydney Uni Blue 28.29 (197) d Macquarie Uni 1.1 (7)

UNSW-ES Whales 17.18 (120) d Holroyd-Parramatta 8.4 (52)

Pennant Hills 13.15 (93) d Sydney Uni Red 4.1 (25)

UNSW-ES Bulldogs 13.14 (92) d UTS 7.9 (51)

Moorebank Sports 16.17 (113) d Manly-Warringah 3.7 (25)


Under 18s Premier:

North Shore Bombers d Balmain - forfeit

Western Suburbs 13.14 (92) d St Ignatius Riverview 6.11 (47)

East Coast Eagles 7.10 (52) d Campbelltown 7.6 (48)

Pennant Hills 18.7 (115) d North Shore Bears 13.8 (86)

Wollongong 15.10 (100) d St George 7.10 (52)


Under 18s Challenge:

Macquarie Uni 12.18 (90) d Pennant Hills 4.5 (29)

Southern Sharks 12.9 (81) d Penrith 6.5 (41)

Manly-Warringah 9.20 (74) d Moorebank Sports 7.9 (51)

UNSW-ES 19.13 (127) d East Coast Eagles 6.8 (44)Three-quarter time in the Balmain huddle

NEXT WEEK'S FIXTURES (Lurker's Kiss of Death in bold):

Saturday 10th May (Seniors 2:10pm, Reserves 12pm)

Drummoyne Oval - Balmain v Wollongong

Gore Hill Oval - North Shore v UNSW-ES

Olds Park - St George v Campbelltown

Charles McLaughlin Oval - East Coast Eagles v Pennant Hills

Sunday 11th May (Seniors 2:10pm, Reserves 12pm)

Picken Oval - Western Suburbs v Sydney University


First Division:

Saturday 10th May (Seniors 2:10pm, Reserves 12pm)

Gipps Rd Oval - Holroyd-Parramatta v NorWest Jets

Trumper Park - UTS v Southern Sharks

University Oval - Macquarie University v Penrith

Weldon Oval - Manly-Warringah v Camden


Second Division:

Saturday 10th May

University Oval - Macquarie Uni v UTS (8:15am)

Weldon Oval - Manly-Warringah v Pennant Hills (8:15am)

Gipps Rd Oval - Holroyd-Parramatta v Sydney Uni Blue (10am)

St Pauls Oval - Sydney Uni Red v UNSW-ES Bulldogs (10am)

Rosedale Oval - Moorebank Sports v UNSW-ES Whales (5pm)


Under 18s Premier:

Saturday 10th May

Drummoyne Oval - Balmain v Wollongong (10am)

Gore Hill Oval - North Shore Bombers v St Ignatius Riverview (10am)

Olds Park - St George v Campbelltown (10am)

Charles McLaughlin Oval - East Coast Eagles v Pennant Hills (10:15am)

Sunday 11th May

Picken Oval - Western Suburbs v North Shore Bears (10am)

 North Shore's Anthony Lowes lines up a shot
Under 18s Challenge:

Saturday 10th May

Charles McLaughlin Oval - East Coast Eagles v Pennant Hills (8:15am)

University Oval - Macquarie Uni v Penrith (10:15am)

Weldon Oval - Manly-Warringah v UNSW-ES (10:15am)

Rosedale Oval - Moorebank Sports v Southern Sharks (3pm)



The followers of the AFL, and of the Swans, may find themselves at a loose end, with no AFL games scheduled this weekend. But in the Sydney AFL, we have the answer to your football withdrawal symptoms; with a full round of fixtures, and matches spread around the Sydney metro area. In Premier Division it's rivalry round, with some games matching up opponents who have had some classic encounters in the past.

So if you're in Sydney and craving some football action, come along to a Sydney AFL game and check out some of the action. It's Australian Football with a difference - away from the SCG or Homebush concrete jungles, it's football in your local community.



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