HARBOURSPORT  

SYDNEY AFL ROUND 1 2009 - St George's Future Looks Bright in Red and White

Article and Photos by Michael Shillito

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There's always a sense of anticipation, but also a sense of uncertainty, when a new season comes around. New players have come in, new coaches for some clubs as well. Clubs have worked hard over the off-season to rework their game plans to work around the strength of the players they have, and although they hope they have it right the real test comes when the teams take the field and the competition gets under way.

When St George and Sydney Uni faced off in the season opener, both sides had new coaches. Brad Pullin was now in control for St George, while Roger Moten was running the Sydney Uni tactics; although the Students had the services of former coach Daniel Archer, who played in the match. St George had more changes, with considerable player turnover during the off-season. And the club had gone back to tradition, donning the red and white and changing their name back to the Dragons for 2009 after an 8-year existence as the Crows.

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Rain in the leadup to the weekend caused fixtures to be altered. The closed sign went up at Olds Park, forcing the match to be switched to Mahoney Park on Sunday afternoon. But Sunday turned out to be a fine afternoon and so the stage was set for a fascinating contest; one in which momentum would fluctuate before producing a largely unexpected result.

 

After Sydney Uni led by 7 points at quarter time, they then looked to be running away to a lead when a run of goals in the second term twice blew the Students' lead out to 21 points. The new-look Dragons lineup were struggling to find their feet, blown away by the speed of the Sydney Uni runners who seemed to have a superior ability to find the ball. St George used big Pat McBride as a focal point up forward, but there was plenty of tall timber on their forward line with Nathan Smith, Michael Holmes and Guy Newman also providing marking options in the Dragons' attacking zone. Some key marks, and some clever long kicking, cut the deficit back to 5 points at half time. But again during the premiership quarter, the Students threatened to run away with the match.

St George's defences struggled to contain their opponents in the early minutes of the third quarter. Mark Egan was left unmarked at the 3 minute mark, and Daniel Archer repeated the dose in almost identical circumstances a minute later. Mitch Thompson ignored a lead from Archer and went himself, but got away with it with a long bomb goal. And when Daniel Archer was paid a free for over the shoulder 25 metres out and made no mistake with the kick, the margin was out to 4 goals and the Dragons were in danger of losing contact with the match.

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But the Students started to tire, and their running game struggled to last the distance in the warmish conditions. And while Sydney Uni were slowing down, St George were still tall. A nice grubber from Wicken then a lucky bouncing goal helped get the Dragons back in the contest. A mark by big Pat McBride 30 out on a slight angle got another goal back before Nathan Smith marked even closer to cut the margin back within a kick. The St George marking game was starting to work, so well that even umpire Anton Lewis over-anticipated it by immediately blowing the whistle when Pat McBride got his hands on the ball, only to have to call play on and then bounce the ball after McBride dropped the mark. And deep in time-on, a clever snap from Shane Demir put the Dragons in front, a scoreline that barely looked possible and certainly looked unlikely midway through the quarter.

Once they had taken the lead, St George never looked back. Demir snapped again in the opening minute to double the lead. From there it was low-scoring, but there was no way back into the match for Sydney Uni. The Students were unable to score a goal in the last quarter, as the final margin was 26 points for St George. And another blast from the past came after the match, as the old Dragons' song to the tune of "Yanky Doodle Dandy" was revived in a rousing rendition. The new-look Dragons side, with several new faces to replace those who had moved on to new pastures, had completed a memorable first-up win.

 

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Click here to see Harboursportís photo gallery from the St George v Sydney University match.

 

Another victim of the weather was Pennant Hills. The Demons had been hoping to unveil their premiership flag at Ern Holmes Oval before the grand final replay against East Coast Eagles. But Ern Holmes Oval was closed, with the match transferred to Bruce Purser Oval; bringing the Sydney AFL debut for the new Rouse Hill ground forward two weeks. With an exodus of several key players over the off-season, including three premiership players finding new homes in the AFL, the Demons were severely undermanned while East Coast had retained most of last year's grand final team. On the day the Eagles were way too strong, and despite some early inaccuracy would go on to win by 37 points. Gus Seebeck kicked 7 for the Eagles, while Kieran Wright was Pennant Hills' top scorer with 3.

 

The North Shore v UNSW-ES match at Gore Hill went ahead as scheduled, and the result was largely as expected. The star-studded UNSW-ES side, who took out the minor premiership last year and further bolstered by some well-targetted recruiting during the off-season, were far too strong for an undermanned North Shore side and cruised to a comfortable 61-point win in a high-scoring shootout. Brad Abbott, as he often has in recent years against North Shore, was again in sparkling form up forward with 7 goals, while Jon Bradfield chipped in with 4 goals and former Sydney Swan Earl Shaw dominated the ruck; while for North Shore Daniel Kulk and Alex Chiew each scored 3.

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Campbelltown got their 2009 campaign off to a positive start when the Blues were comprehensive winners over Balmain at Henson Park on Saturday. Both sides unveiled several new signings that they are hoping will contribute to their improved fortunes in 2009; but it was the experienced hands at Campbelltown that were prominent. Chris Lees kicked 4 for the Blues while Shanan Kershaw was best on ground as the Blues cruised to a 74-point victory. In a disappointing day for the Dockers, Andrew Abraham was their only multiple goalkicker, while Jarred Mobbs and Janis Blums were among their best.

 

Henson Park was again the venue on Sunday as Wests were far too good for Wollongong in the TV match. The Magpies ran through 12 goals to 1 in the first half to ensure the contest was already over before the long break; and with the pressure off the Magpies went on to win by 73 points. Matt Eurell kicked 5 for Wests, while Matt Withers scored 4 in a best on ground performance and Bill Lafferty and Eid Kassem were prominent. In a disappointing game for Wollongong, Ken Ewan-Chappel looks like a good signing on the forward line with 4 goals from limited opportunities.

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St George   3.1   8.3   13.10   16.13 (109)

Sydney University   4.2   8.8   12.10   12.11 (83)

Goals : St George - P McBride 3, S Demir 2, J Shineberg 2, N Smith 2, D Rixon 2, S Wicken 2, S Wilsen, R Craig, M Holmes. Sydney Uni - M Egan 3, M Thompson 3, D Archer 2, C Kendrick 2, A Scott, B Coles.

Best : St George - C Lombardo, R Bennett, P McBride, J Shineberg, B Addison, R Craig. Sydney Uni - M Thompson, T Smith, L McWhirter, C Kendrick, M Egan, G Burch.

At Mahoney Park, Sunday 5th April 2009.

 

East Coast Eagles   1.5   5.10   9.10   13.12 (90)

Pennant Hills   0.1   4.1   6.4   8.5 (53)

Goals : East Coast - G Seebeck 7, A Polkinghorne 3, B Ure, B Bourke, A Byerlee. Pennant Hills - K Wright 3, L Bilbe 2, A Crisfield, T Angel, M Thomas.

Best : East Coast - D Bowles, J Vlatko, J Dimery, A Polkinghorne, R Smyth, B Ure. Pennant Hills - L Shepherd, L Bilbe, C Richardson, D Dell'Aquila, P Barnes, T Angel.

At Bruce Purser Oval, Saturday 4th April 2009.

 

Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs   7.4   11.6   18.10   22.17 (149)

North Shore   2.4   5.8   9.12   12.16 (88)

Goals : UNSW-ES - B Abbott 7, J Bradfield 4, L Lavery 3, E Shaw 2, R Underwood, M Collett, E Carroll, J Coulloupas, S Rutland, R Arnold. North Shore - D Kulk 3, A Chiew 3, J Watters, T McMahon, L Pryor, T Elkington, J Harry, J Webster.

Best : UNSW-ES - E Shaw, M O'Regan, J Coulloupas, B Abbott, L Lavery, B Kiel. North Shore - B Fitzgerald, C Holmes, D Kulk, J Webster, A Chiew, J Harry.

At Gore Hill Oval, Saturday 4th April 2009.

 

Campbelltown 18.8 (116) d Balmain 5.12 (42)

Goals : Campbelltown - C Lees 4, S Kershaw 3, D Wolfe 3, A Bassani 2, I Sumner 2, L Coughlan, B McAllister, M Moore, C Munro. Balmain - A Abraham 2, D Ryan, N Todd, N O'Brien.

Best : Campbelltown - S Kershaw, C Lees, M Morey, M Edwins, C Fretwell, B Reid. Balmain - J Mobbs, J Blums, B Jones, A Abraham, J Miller, M Bujch.

At Henson Park, Saturday 4th April 2009.

 

Western Suburbs   5.3   12.9   14.9   19.13 (127)

Wollongong   1.2   1.2   4.4   8.6 (54)

Goals : Wests - M Eurell 5, M Withers 4, T Cole 2, C McGuirk 2, A Fiddler, M Kassem, L Roehrig, D Watkins, B Absolum, D Clout. Wollongong - K Ewen-Chappel 4, C Stanton 3, A McConnochie.

Bests : Wests - M Withers, B Lafferty, E Kassem, D Watkins, B Absolum, D Clout. Wollongong - M Hogan, K Ewen-Chappel, K Temple, A McConnochie, S Davis, T Heath.

At Henson Park, Saturday 5th April 2009.

 

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

For

Against

Pts

%age

Streak

Campbelltown

1

1

0

0

116

42

4

276.19

W1

Western Suburbs

1

1

0

0

127

54

4

235.18

W1

East Coast Eagles

1

1

0

0

90

53

4

169.81

W1

Uni NSW-Eastern Suburbs

1

1

0

0

149

88

4

169.32

W1

St George

1

1

0

0

109

83

4

131.33

W1

Sydney University

1

0

0

1

83

109

0

76.15

L1

North Shore

1

0

0

1

88

149

0

59.06

L1

Pennant Hills

1

0

0

1

53

90

0

58.89

L1

Wollongong

1

0

0

1

54

127

0

42.52

L1

Balmain

1

0

0

1

42

116

0

36.21

L1

 

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First Division:

UNSW-ES 12.8 (80) d North Shore 11.9 (75)

Pennant Hills 11.9 (75) d East Coast Eagles 9.9 (63)

UTS 13.10 (88) d Manly-Warringah 5.7 (37)

Wests 11.8 (74) d Wollongong 9.10 (64)

Sydney Uni 21.15 (141) d St George 7.5 (47)

 

Second Division:

Balmain 19.9 (123) d Campbelltown 4.4 (28)

UTS 11.14 (80) d Manly-Warringah 3.7 (25)

Southern Power 23.19 (127) d East Coast Eagles 1.2 (8)

Camden v Sydney Uni - Postponed.

Macquarie Uni 16.14 (110) d Holroyd-Parramatta 6.6 (42)

 

Third Division:

UTS 6.11 (47) d Pennant Hills 2.5 (17)

NorWest Jets 12.15 (87) d Southern Power 4.7 (31)

Macquarie Uni 14.11 (95) d Holroyd-Parramatta 6.5 (41)

Moorebank Sports v Penrith - Postponed.

 

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Fourth Division:

UTS 9.7 (61) d Manly-Warringah 8.9 (57)

Macquarie Uni 13.24 (102) d Holroyd-Parramatta 2.12 (24)

Camden v Sydney Uni - Postponed.

Moorebank Sports v Penrith - Postponed.

NorWest Jets 17.12 (114) d UNSW-ES 6.15 (51)

 

Under 18s Premier:

North Shore 20.8 (128) d UNSW-ES 7.2 (44)

Balmain 10.14 (74) d Campbelltown 10.12 (72)

East Coast Eagles 9.17 (71) d Pennant Hills 5.4 (34)

Wollongong 19.15 (129) d Wests 5.5 (35)

St George 18.9 (117) d St Ignatius Riverview 5.8 (38)

 

Under 18s Challenge:

Pennant Hills d Manly-Warringah - forfeit

Southern Power 10.20 (80) d East Coast Eagles 3.3 (21)

Holroyd-Parramatta 11.9 (75) d Macquarie Uni 7.17 (59)

Moorebank Sports v Penrith - Postponed.

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

 

Saturday 18th April

North Dalton Park - Wollongong v Sydney University (6:10pm)

Bruce Purser Reserve - East Coast Eagles v North Shore (7:00pm)

Sunday 19th April

Drummoyne Oval - Balmain v St George (2:10pm)

Monarch Oval - Campbelltown v Western Suburbs (2:10pm)

Village Green - UNSW-ES v Pennant Hills (2:30pm)

 

First Division:

Saturday 18th April

Trumper Park - UTS v St George (2:30pm)

Pittwater No 6 - Manly-Warringah v Wests (2:30pm)

North Dalton Park - Wollongong v Sydney Uni (4pm)

Bruce Purser Reserve - East Coast Eagles v North Shore (5pm)

Sunday 19th April

Village Green - UNSW-ES v Pennant Hills (12:30pm)

 

Second Division:

Saturday 18th April

Pittwater No 6 - Manly-Warringah v Holroyd-Parramatta (12:30pm)

Bruce Purser Reserve - East Coast Eagles v Camden (1pm)

St Pauls Oval - Sydney Uni v Southern Power (2:10pm)

Sunday 19th April

Drummoyne Oval - Balmain v UTS (12pm)

Monarch Oval - Campbelltown v Macquarie Uni (12pm)

 

Third Division:

Saturday 18th April

Trumper Park - UTS v Moorebank Sports (12pm)

Greygums Oval - Penrith v Macquarie Uni (2:10pm)

Sunday 19th April

Village Green - UNSW-ES v Southern Power (10:30am)

Ern Holmes Oval - Pennant Hills v Holroyd-Parramatta (12pm)

BYE - NorWest Jets.

 

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Fourth Division:

Saturday 18th April

Trumper Park - UTS v Moorebank Sports (10am)

Pittwater No 6 - Manly-Warringah v Holroyd-Parramatta (10:30am)

Greygums Oval - Penrith v Macquarie Uni (12pm)

St Pauls Oval - Sydney Uni v UNSW-ES (12pm)

Bensons Lane - NorWest Jets v Camden (2:30pm)

 

Under 18s Premier:

Friday 17th April

Alan Davidson Oval - Balmain v St George (7pm)

Saturday 18th April

Bruce Purser Reserve - East Coast Eagles v North Shore (3pm)

Sunday 19th April

Village Green - UNSW-ES v Pennant Hills (8:30am)

Monarch Oval - Campbelltown v Wests (10am)

St Ignatius Riverview v Wollongong - Postponed.

 

Under 18s Challenge:

Saturday 18th April

Pittwater No 6 - Manly-Warringah v Holroyd-Parramatta (8:30am)

Greygums Oval - Penrith v Macquarie Uni (10am)

St Pauls Oval - Sydney Uni v Southern Power (10am)

Sunday 19th April

Ern Holmes Oval - Pennant Hills v Moorebank Sports (10am)

 

 

 

 

 

ALSO IN SYDNEY AFL:

Semi-Finals 2007 Report
Prelim Final 2007 Report
Grand Final 2007 Report
Round 1 2008 Scoreboard
Round 2 2008 Scoreboard
Round 3 2008 Scoreboard
Round 4 2008 Scoreboard
Round 5 2008 Scoreboard
Round 6 2008 Scoreboard
Round 7 2008 Scoreboard
Round 8 2008 Scoreboard
Round 9 2008 Scoreboard
Round 10 2008 Scoreboard
Round 11 2008 Scoreboard
Round 12 2008 Scoreboard
Round 13 2008 Scoreboard
Round 14 2008 Scoreboard
Round 15 2008 Scoreboard
Round 16 2008 Scoreboard
Round 17 2008 Scoreboard
Round 18 2008 Scoreboard
2008 Finals Wk1 S'board
2008 Finals Wk2 S'board
Grand Final 2008 Report
Round 1 2009 Scoreboard
Round 2 2009 Scoreboard
Round 3 2009 Scoreboard
Round 4 2009 Scoreboard
Round 5 2009 Scoreboard
Round 6 2009 Scoreboard
Round 7 2009 Scoreboard
Round 8 2009 Scoreboard
Round 9 2009 Scoreboard
Round 10 2009 Scoreboard
Round 11 2009 Scoreboard
Round 12 2009 Scoreboard
Round 13 2009 Scoreboard
Round 14 2009 Scoreboard
Sydney AFL v AFL Canberra
Round 15 2009 Scoreboard
Round 16 2009 Scoreboard
Round 17 2009 Scoreboard
Round 18 2009 Scoreboard
2009 Finals Wk 1 S'board
2009 Finals Wk 2 S'board
2009 PrelmFinal Scoreboard
2009 GRAND FINAL
Round 1 2010 Scoreboard
Round 2 2010 Scoreboard
Round 3 2010 Scoreboard
Round 4 2010 Scoreboard
Round 5 2010 Scoreboard
Round 6 2010 Scoreboard
Round 7 2010 Scoreboard
Round 8 2010 Scoreboard
Round 9 2010 Scoreboard
Round 10 2010 Scoreboard
Round 11 2010 Scoreboard
Round 12 2010 Scoreboard
Round 13 2010 Scoreboard
Round 14 2010 Scoreboard
Round 15 2010 Scoreboard
Round 16 2010 Scoreboard
Round 17 2010 Scoreboard
Round 18 2010 Scoreboard
2010 Finals Wk 1 S'board
2010 Finals Wk 2 S'board
2010 PrelmFinal Scoreboard
2010 GRAND FINAL
Round 1 2011 Scoreboard
Round 2 2011 Scoreboard
Round 3 2011 Scoreboard
Round 4 2011 Scoreboard
Round 5 2011 Scoreboard
Round 6 2011 Scoreboard
Round 7 2011 Scoreboard
Round 8 2011 Scoreboard
Round 9 2011 Scoreboard
Round 10 2011 Scoreboard
Round 11 2011 Scoreboard
Round 12 2011 Scoreboard
Round 13 2011 Scoreboard
Round 14 2011 Scoreboard
Round 15 2011 Scoreboard
Round 16 2011 Scoreboard
Round 17 2011 Scoreboard
Round 18 2011 Scoreboard
Round 19 2011 Scoreboard
Round 20 2011 Scoreboard
2011 Finals Wk 1 S'board
2011 Finals Wk2 S'board
2011 PrelmFinal Scoreboard
2011 GRAND FINAL
PHOTO GALLERIES:
2006 Grand Final
2007 Grand Final
2008 Rnd 1 - Syd Uni v
Balmain
2008 Rnd 1 - Wests v
W'gong
2008 Rnd 1 - Pen Hlls v
Camp
2008 Rnd 1 - UNSW-ES v
ECE
2008 Rnd 1 - St Grge v Nth
Shre
2008 Rnd 2 - Wests v
Camptwn
2008 Rnd 3 - W'gong v
NthShre
2008 Rnd 4 - Camptwn v S
Uni
2008 Rnd 5 - Nth Shore v
Balm
2008 Rnd 6 - Wests v Syd
Uni
2008 Rnd 7 - C'town v Nth
Shre
2008 Rnd 8 - Syd Uni v St
G'rge
2008 - Rnd 9 - W'gong v
Pen Hl
2008 - Rnd 10 - Pen Hills v
Nth Shre
2008 - Rnd 11 - Sydney Uni
v Nth Shre
2008 - Rnd 11 - Balmain v
Camp'town
2008 - Rnd 12 - Nth Shre v
East Cst
2009 - Rnd 1 - St George v
Syd Uni
2009 - Rnd 2 - Camp'twn v
Wests
2009 - Rnd 3 - Sydney Uni v
Penn Hills
2009 - Rnd 4 - Wests v Nth
Shore
2009 - Rnd 5 - Syd Uni v
Nth Shore
2009 - Rnd 6 - East Coast v
St George
2009 - Rnd 8 - Nth Shore v
Penn Hills
2009 - Rnd 9 - UNSW-ES v
East Coast
2009 - Rnd 10 - St George v
Nth Shore
2009 - Rnd 11 - Balmain v
Wollongong
2009 - Rnd 12 - UNSW-ES
v Nth Shore
2009 - Rnd 13 - Wests v
East Coast
2009 - Rnd 14 - Pen Hills v
Camp'twn
2009 Represent -Sydney v
Canberra
2009 - Rnd 15 - Nth Shore v
Syd Uni
2009 - Rnd 16 - Pen Hills v
Nth Shore
2009 - Rnd 17 - Nth Shore v
Campbelltown
2009 - Rnd 18 - Wests v
Penn Hills
2009 - Qual Final - Wests v
UNSW-ES
2009 - Elim Final - Pen
Hills v Camp'town
2009 - 1st Semi -
UNSW-ES v Pen Hills
2009 - 2nd Semi - East
Coast v Wests
2009 - Prelim Final - Wests
v UNSW-ES
2009 Grand Final Day
2010 - Rnd 1 - Wests v St
George
2010 - Rnd 2 - UNSW-ES v
North Shore
2010 - Rnd 3 - East Coast v
Sydney Uni
2010 - Rnd 4 - Sydney Uni v
North Shore
2010 - Rnd 5 - Camp'town v
UNSW-ES
2010 - Rnd 6 - Wests v
North Shore
2010 - Rnd 7 - Penn Hills v
Wests
2010 - Rnd 8 - Nth Shore v
Campbelltown
2010 - Rnd 9 - Camp'town v
Sydney Uni
2010 - Rnd 9 - Pennant Hlls
v North Shore
2010 - Rnd 10 - St George v
Wests
2010 - Rnd 11 - Balmain v
Campbelltown
2010 - Rnd 12 - St George v
North Shore
2010 - Rnd 13 - Nth Shore v
Sydney Uni
2010 - Rnd 14 - Wests v
East Coast
2010 - Rnd 15 - East Coast
v North Shore
2010 - Rnd 17 - Nth Shore v
Pennant Hills
2010 - Qual Final - Wests v
East Coast
2010 - Elim Final - North
Shore v Pennant Hills
2010 - 2nd Semi - Sydney
Uni v Wests
2010 - Prelim Final - Wests
v East Coast
2011 - Rnd 1 - East Coast v
Sydney
2011 - Rnd 2 - Balmain v
UTS
2011 - Rnd 3 - Balmain v
UNSW-ES
2011 - Rnd 5 - Pennant
Hills v North Shore
2011 - Rnd 6 - North Shore
v Campbelltown
2011 - Rnd 8 - UTS v North
Shore
2011 - Rnd 9 - Wests v
Sydney Uni
2011 - Rnd 10 - Balmain v
St George
2011 - Rnd 11 - Illawarra v
North Shore
2011 - Rnd 12 - East Coast
v St George
2011 - Rnd 13 - North Shre
v St George
2011 - Rnd 14 - Balmain v
Pennant Hills
2011 - Rnd 15 - North
Shore v Pennant Hills
2011 - Rnd 15 - Sydney Uni
v East Coast
2011 - Rnd 17 - North
Shore v Wests
2011 - Rnd 18 - Balmain v
North Shore
2011 - Rnd 19 - North
Shore v Sydney Uni
2011 - Rnd 20 - UNSW-ES
v North Shore
2011 - Qualifying Final -
Balmain v Sydney Uni
2011 - First Semi - Sydney
Uni v North Shore
2011 - Prelim Final -
Balmain v Sydney Uni