Article and Photos by Michael Shillito

After six weeks of sunshine, Round 7 threw up our first taste of wet weather football for the season. On both Saturday and Sunday rain fell during the earlier games. Although it had largely cleared by the time the Premier Division games got under way, the grounds were softer and the ball more slippery than the players had been used to until now.
And so overcast skies greeted the players at Ern Holmes Oval on Sunday as Pennant Hills hosted Wests. The Demons were into the game with a 3-3 record, fighting for their spot in the top 5, while the Magpies had an opportunity to take top spot should they be able to record a win.

It was a lightning start for the Demons, and for one Demon in particular. Oliver Tweeddale, making his senior debut after showing some promising form for GWS in the TAC Cup competition, marked in the pocket. The son of a former Pennant Hills player, with his father and grandfather watching on from in the clubhouse, showed no sign of nerves as he calmly slotted the ball through, a goal with his first kick in open-age football.
From the bounce, Daniel De Looze landed a bump that saw Wests’ Chris Lees go down. The stretcher and a neck brace were called for as Lees was carried from the ground. He would play no further part in the game, and the Magpies would sadly miss his drive. It was the start of a horror day for the Magpies, who would also lose Dwain Watkins after his leg gave way behind play in the second quarter.

It would be goal for goal in the first quarter, and although the Demons led throughout the Magpies would hit back after every goal to stay within striking distance. Matt Eurell received a free 35 out at the 11 mark, but the Demons hit back with a soccer off the ground by Nick Campbell. But a generously-measured 50 metre penalty to Dave Linsen cut the margin to 2 points as the clock ticked close to time-on. With moments to go in the quarter, Tweeddale picked up a ball-up and snapped cleverly over his shoulder to give the Demons a 9-point lead at the first change.
The second quarter would be low-scoring, but not for a lack of endeavour from either team. The ball travelled from end to end, but both sides were breaking down around the half-forward line. There were two goals scored in the quarter, the first to Pennant Hills’ Nick Bills with a grubber that wrong-footed the Magpie defence and the second a soccer off the ground by Matt Eurell. But both sides created opportunities that they were unable to convert. The Magpies blew a golden opportunity to cut the margin in half on the stroke of half time when Matt Withers marked 20 metres out directly in front, but uncharacteristically the Magpie forward’s kicking radar was off and the Demons led by 11 points at the long break.

With only a couple of goals in it at half time it was still anyone’s game, but a 5-minute burst early in the third quarter saw the pendulum swing sharply in Pennant Hills’ direction. It began when Daniel De Looze marked within range to score the first goal of the third term. A free kick to Jake Trestrail, paid in front of the vocal Wests supporters near their bench and meeting with their disapproval, would result in another goal. And a 50 metre penalty turned a tough shot for Luke Bilbe into a certainty. The lead had blown out to 31 points, and the Demons were in the box seat.
The Demons could easily have been further in front. They had the bulk of possession during the third quarter, with the ball rarely moving into the Magpie 50 metre zone. The Magpies would get one goal back against the run of play, on the back of a run from Brenton Mumme; but it would be a rare highlight for the Magpies in what would be a frustrating day for them. And with just seconds on the clock, Nick Campbell marked in the pocket on as tight an angle as the narrow Ern Holmes Oval has. But the kick bent through beautifully to open up a 33-point lead at three-quarter time.

With a late start and overcast skies, light was fading and the match would conclude in near darkness. And the dark day for the Magpies got worse when Tweeddale scored his fourth goal to cap off a dream debut and put the result beyond doubt. Two more Demon goals would follow; and although Wests would score the last four goals of the game, the damage was done and the Demons would enjoy a 32-point victory.
Tweeddale kicked 4 for the Demons, and along with Kieran Wright and Alex Goodall was among their best. For the Magpies, Matt Eurell scored 4 while they were well served around the ground by Stephen Hudson, Dave Cusack and Dave Linsen.

St George continued their renaissance when they extended their winning streak to 4 games with a 30-point win over Campbelltown at Monarch Oval. The Dragons, after heavy losses in their first three games, have bounced back well over the last month to now find themselves only outside the top 5 on percentage.
Despite missing some chances early, the Dragons had the better of play in the first quarter to lead by 27 points at quarter time. And although the Blues tried hard to work their way back into the contest, they were only able to manage a single goal in the second quarter. And when the Dragons had the better of the third term, scoring four goals to two, the contest was effectively over.
Jon Shineberg scored 3 goals for the Dragons, while they were well served around the ground by Robert Lombardo and John Cooper. Mark Edwins scored 3 for the Blues, while Ryan Bottin-Noonan and Chris Jordan were key contributors.

Top spot was up for grabs when North Shore hosted East Coast at Gore Hill Oval on Saturday, and the game would be worthy of a battle for the top. Although the Eagles led all day after a strong first-quarter burst, the game would be one of momentum shifts. Several times the Eagles looked set to run away with the contest, only for the Bombers to keep fighting back and get the margin back to within a kick. But the Bombers were unable to go any further and take the lead, and so the Eagles would hang on to take the game by 9 points; the second week in a row the Bombers would lose by a single-figure margin.
The margin had been cut to 3 points at the last change, and the Bombers had their chances to take the lead but were unable to deliver as the Eagles’ defence held firm. Jamie Vlatko scored 5 goals for the Eagles, while other prominent performers included Mike Beardsley, Shane Ryan and Peter Vlatko. For the Bombers, Russell Grigg, Ron Wason and Chris Murphy were among their best.

The University derby on Saturday afternoon would go the way of Sydney Uni, the Students defeating UNSW-ES by 40 points at Sydney Uni No 1. The Bulldogs if anything had the better of play in the first term, but inaccurate finishing saw the Students lead by 2 points at the first change. The second quarter saw the Students having kicking problems of their own, as they would score 3.8 for the quarter, but the weight of possession was enough for them to lead by 20 points at the long break.
The third quarter was a shootout, but although the Bulldogs pressed hard to try to build momentum the Students had the answering goals to win the quarter; and the Bulldogs were unable to create any form of miracle comeback in the final term.
Mark Egan scored 4 for the Students, with Tim Barton, Nick Barton and Anton Turco playing solid games. For the Bulldogs, Leigh Lavery was again a handy target with 3 goals, while Thomas Betlehem and Earl Shaw were prominent contributors. The result sees the Students in a 4-way tie for top spot, only their relatively low percentage letting them down. But for UNSW-ES, already two games outside the top 5 and now with a 3-match losing streak, a change in momentum is needed quickly to avoid this season’s finals hopes slipping away.

The two teams still looking for their first win of the season faced off at Blacktown on Sunday afternoon, and it would be Wollongong who would break their duck after a 45-point victory in an entertaining and high-scoring contest. Balmain fought hard, and with former Swans hero Nick Davis looking good up forward there were times when the Dockers looked like getting back into the contest. But the Lions had the answers to any challenge the Dockers would throw up; and by winning every quarter the Lions ensured their hold on the game would never be threatened.
Ryan Price scored 6 goals for the Lions and Scott Dennis 4, while Price, Barron Hanson and Michael Toussis were among their best. Nick Davis, in his best game so far in Docker colours, returned a bag of 10 goals while Joseph Britton and Russell Gordon were also key contributors for the Dockers. The Lions had been desperately unlucky not to have won already before this weekend after having had several close calls, and will be hoping this win is the catalyst to turn around their fortunes in 2010. But for the Dockers, although the loss was by considerably less than many other capitulations this season, there is still some work to do to get their first victory for the season.

Pennant Hills 3.4 4.9 8.14 11.20 (86)
Western Suburbs 2.1 3.3 4.5 8.6 (54)
Goals : Pennant Hills –
O Tweeddale 4, N Campbell 2, L Bilbe, J Trestrail, N Bills, A Duncan, D De Looze. Wests – M Eurell 4, D Linsen, B Mumme, L Roehrig, E Kassem.
Best : Pennant Hills – K Wright, O Tweeddale, A Goodall, D De Looze, J Mobbs, N Aitken. Wests – S Hudson, D Cusick, D Linsen, L Roehrig, B Mumme.
At Ern Holmes Oval, Sunday 23rd May 2010.

St George 5.7 5.9 9.13 10.19 (79)
Campbelltown 1.4 2.12 4.12 6.13 (49)
Goals : St George –
J Shineberg 3, T Addison 2, D Donohue 2, S Richmond, B Addison, D Ryan. Campbelltown – M Edwins 3, D Chivas 2, N Hudson.
Best : St George – R Lombardo, J Cooper, S Wilsen, J Whyte, G Raper, M Milner. Campbelltown – R Bottin-Noonan, C Jordan, M Keys, M Edwins, G Webb, J Brazill.
At Monarch Oval, Saturday 22nd May 2010.

East Coast Eagles 5.1 9.4 12.5 14.7 (91)
North Shore 2.2 7.4 11.8 12.10 (82)
Goals : East Coast –
Jamie Vlatko 5, D Bowles 2, B Rogers, P Dugmore, M Beardsley, G Garner, D Spiteri, R Fitton, T Baker. North Shore – L Pryor 3, A Harry 2, M Carter 2, R Wason, D Casey, R Grigg, B Attwood, A Lowes.
Best : East Coast – M Beardsley, S Ryan, P Vlatko, Jamie Vlatko, E Kruger, D Bowles. North Shore – R Grigg, R Wason, C Murphy, C King, L Pryor, B Fitzgerald.
At Gore Hill Oval, Saturday 22nd May 2010.

Sydney University 3.2 6.10 11.13 15.17 (107)
UNSW-ES 2.6 3.8 7.11 9.13 (67)
Goals : Sydney Uni –
M Egan 4, C Kendrick 2, S Crichton 2, J Lawson, N Lewingham, A McConnochie, J Martin, M Thompson, A Kraefft, A Lee. UNSW-ES – L Lavery 3, B Abbott 2, P Kefalas, B Woods, S Martin, J Parmenter.
Best : Sydney Uni – T Barton, N Barton, A Turco, J Martin, S Crichton, J McIntyre. UNSW-ES – T Betlehem, E Shaw, B Woods, P Kefalas, J Kiel, C Ogle.
At Sydney Uni No 1 Oval, Saturday 22nd May 2010.

Wollongong 6.2 11.4 16.8 22.13 (145)
Balmain Dockers 5.4 8.5 10.9 15.10 (100)
Goals : Wollongong –
R Price 6, S Dennis 4, M Toussis 3, S Dowling 2, J McInnes 2, K Ewen-Chappell 2, T Bell, S Morgan, D McClure. Balmain – N Davis 10, N Todd 2, C Fletcher, A Azhar, J Britton.
Best : Wollongong – R Price, B Hanson, M Toussis, M Picken, S Dennis, S Dowling. Balmain – N Davis, J Britton, R Gordon, A Mitchell, N Todd, J Boyd.
At Blacktown Olympic Park, Sunday 23rd May 2010.

East Coast Eagles
North Shore
Western Suburbs
Sydney University
Pennant Hills
St George

First Division:
Sydney University 3.8 (26) d UNSW-ES 2.5 (17)
North Shore 15.7 (97) d East Coast Eagles 5.6 (36)
UTS 11.9 (75) d Macquarie Uni 8.8 (56)
Manly-Warringah 16.16 (112) d Wollongong 10.8 (68)
Pennant Hills 17.8 (110) d Western Suburbs 7.3 (45)
Ladder – Manly-Warringah (28, 195.20%), UTS (24, 250.00%), Sydney University (24, 183.22%), Macquarie Uni (20, 143.91%), North Shore (16, 145.00%), Pennant Hills (12, 71.25%), East Coast (8, 94.06%), Wollongong (4, 54.01%), Western Suburbs (4, 41.19%), UNSW-ES (0, 42.33%).

Second Division:
UTS 12.14 (86) d NorWest Jets 8.5 (53)
Camden 13.6 (84) d St George 9.16 (70)
Southern Power 12.11 (83) d Holroyd-Parramatta 9.10 (64)
Balmain Dockers 11.8 (74) d Sydney Uni 10.9 (69)
UNSW-ES 6.9 (45) d Manly-Warringah 5.4 (340
Ladder – Southern Power (28, 274.05%), UTS (28, 228.96%), Holroyd-Parramatta (20, 146.99%), Sydney Uni (16, 118.89%), NorWest (12, 106.83%), Camden (12, 64.22%), Manly-Warringah (8, 66.39%), Balmain (8, 52.70%), St George (4, 70.26%), UNSW-ES (4, 54.69%).

Third Division:
UTS 20.9 (129) d Campbelltown 1.3 (9)
Southern Power 11.9 (75) d Holroyd-Parramatta 7.5 (47)
Moorebank Sports 11.22 (88) d Macquarie Uni 4.1 (25)
Sydney Uni v East Coast Eagles –postponed
Penrith 18.20 (128) d Pennant Hills 2.5 (17)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – Moorebank Sports (85.71, 262.85%), Penrith (71.43, 185.94%), UTS (71.43, 175.35%), Macquarie Uni (57.14, 116.31%), Southern Power (57.14, 105.54%), East Coast (50, 133.88%), Campbelltown (42.86, 68.91%), Holroyd-Parramatta (28.57, 43.59%), Sydney Uni (16.67, 42.42%), Pennant Hills (14.29, 44.22%).

Fourth Division:
UTS 13.9 (87) d NorWest Jets 6.2 (38)
Auburn 19.20 (134) d Holroyd-Parramatta 6.0 (36)
Saints AFC 17.11 (113) d Camden 4.4 (28)
Mac Uni Warriors 12.4 (76) d Moorebank Sports 7.8 (50)
Penrith 15.10 (100) d Sydney Uni 13.9 (87)
Mac Uni Kookas v Southern Power – postponed
UNSW-ES 6.8 (44) d Manly-Warringah 3.6 (24)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – Auburn (100, 400.87%), Mac Uni Warriors (85.71, 373.99%), Saints AFC (71.43, 222.16%), Manly-Warringah (71.43, 179.60%), Penrith (71.43, 99.04%), UTS (66.67, 200.00%), Moorebank Sports (57.14, 159.49%), Sydney Uni (57.14, 109.13%), Southern Power (33.33, 68.20%), NorWest (28.57, 54.64%), Mac Uni Kookas (20, 32.27%), Camden (14.29, 45.33%), UNSW-ES (14.29, 39.10%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 13.20%).

Under 18s Premier:
St Ignatius Riverview 28.18 (186) d Campbelltown 2.2 (14)
Sydney Uni 10.18 (78) d UNSW-ES 2.7 (19)
North Shore 8.12 (60) d East Coast 8.5 (53)
Pennant Hills 13.16 (94) d Western Suburbs 6.0 (36)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – North Shore (100, 189.22%), Pennant Hills (83.33, 209.88%), St George (80, 126.59%), Sydney Uni (60, 202.58%), East Coast (50, 187.63%), St Ignatius Riverview (50, 137.56%), Wollongong (50, 92.15%), UNSW-ES (33.33, 68.22%), Western Suburbs (16.67, 57.86%), Campbelltown (0, 9.74%).
Balmain Dockers have withdrawn.

Under 18s Challenge:
Holroyd-Parramatta 9.12 (66) d Southern Power 6.7 (43)
Manly-Warringah 10.7 (67) d East Coast 3.7 (25)
Moorebank Sports 17.17 (119) d Macquarie Uni 4.4 (28)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – Penrith (100, 1221.21%), Southern Power (66.67, 138.18%), Holroyd-Parramatta (57.14, 125.07%), Manly-Warringah (50, 97.41%), Macquarie Uni (40, 46.23%), East Coast (33.33, 48.01%), Moorebank Sports (16.67, 81.22%).

NEXT WEEK’S FIXTURES (Lurker’s Kiss of Death in bold):
Saturday 29th May
Drummoyne Oval – Balmain Dockers v UNSW-ES (2:10pm)
Bruce Purser Oval – East Coast Eagles v Pennant Hills (6:10pm)
Henson Park – Western Suburbs v Wollongong (6:40pm)
Sunday 30th May
Blacktown Olympic Park – North Shore v Campbelltown (2:10pm)
Sydney Uni No 1 – Sydney University v St George (2:10pm)

First Division:
Saturday 29th May
Pittwater No 6 – Manly-Warringah v UNSW-ES (2:30pm)
Bruce Purser Oval – East Coast Eagles v Pennant Hills (4pm)
Henson Park – Western Suburbs v Wollongong (4:30pm)
Sunday 30th May
Blacktown Olympic Park – North Shore v UTS (12pm)
St Pauls Oval – Sydney Uni v Macquarie Uni (2:10pm)

Second Division:
Saturday 29th May
Drummoyne Oval – Balmain Dockers v UNSW-ES (12pm)
Pittwater No 6 – Manly-Warringah v Camden (12:30pm)
Bensons Lane – NorWest Jets v Holroyd-Parramatta (2:10pm)
Gwawley Oval – Southern Power v UTS (2:30pm)
Sunday 30th May
Sydney Uni No 1 – Sydney Uni v St George (12:00pm)

Third Division:
Saturday 29th May
Gwawley Oval – Southern Power v UTS (12:30pm)
Bruce Purser Oval – East Coast Eagles v Pennant Hills (2pm)
Greygums Oval – Penrith v Campbelltown (2:10pm)
Rosedale Oval – Moorebank Sports v Holroyd-Parramatta (2:10pm)
Sunday 30th May
St Pauls Oval – Sydney Uni v Macquarie Uni (12pm)

Fourth Division:
Saturday 29th May
Gwawley Oval – Southern Power v UNSW-ES (10:30am)
Pittwater No 6 – Manly-Warringah v Camden (10:30am)
Bensons Lane – NorWest Jets v Mac Uni Warriors (12pm)
Greygums Oval – Penrith v Saints AFC (12pm)
Rosedale Oval – Moorebank Sports v Holroyd-Parramatta (12pm)
University Oval – Mac Uni Kookas v UTS (1:30pm)
Mona Park – Auburn v Sydney Uni (2:10pm)

Under 18s Premier:
Saturday 29th May
Riverview First Field – St Ignatius Riverview v North Shore (10am)
Village Green – UNSW-ES v Campbelltown (10am)
Bruce Purser Oval – East Coast Eagles v Pennant Hills (12pm)
Henson Park – Western Suburbs v Wollongong (2:30pm)
Sunday 30th May
Sydney Uni No 1 – Sydney Uni v St George (10am)

Under 18s Challenge:
Saturday 29th May
Pittwater No 6 – Manly-Warringah v Macquarie Uni (8:30am)
Bruce Purser Oval – East Coast Eagles v Penrith (10am)
Rosedale Oval – Moorebank Sports v Holroyd-Parramatta (10am)
Southern Power has the bye.