SYDNEY AFL ROUND 12 2011Article and Photos by Michael Shillito
The last weekend in June was one of bright sunshine, virtually no wind and sensational conditions for footy. Premier Division featured three Saturday games, and two Sunday games; the Sunday game at Bruce Purser Reserve being a twilight fixture.
The match saw East Coast Eagles taking on St George. East Coast had suffered a narrow loss in the opening week, but had then won their next eight matches by over 10 goals. Meanwhile, St George had been floating around the middle of the ladder, just outside the top five but within striking distance.
Jamie Vlatko quickly got on the board for the Eagles, but Ben Jones scored a virtually instant reply for the Dragons. Although the Eagles were the hottest of favourites, the Dragons had come to play, contesting every possession; some of the early pieces of play more closely resembling volleyball or soccer than football.
But the Eagles began to get their game going, Jamie Vlatko and Stephen Doyle adding goals. But their shooting accuracy began to desert them, some kickable shots being missed. But the Dragons worked their way back into the contest with some possession football. Playing the ball shorter, finding unattended team-mates, patiently working their way forward. Michael Holmes intercepted a kick-in to goal. Then after an Eagle behind, it took eight shot-chip marks for the Dragons to get the ball to centre wing, only to turn it over. But after the ball was centred, Ben Jones forced a turnover to regain possession for the Dragons, and shot truly from the 50 metre line to cut the margin to five points at the first change.
Within a minute of the start of the second term, the Dragons were in front, some late attention by Peter Vlatko resulting in a 50 metre penalty that took Paul Sain to within kicking distance. The Dragons were out-possessing the Eagles, forcing the Eagles to man up defensively rather than go into space to get a running game going. At 12 minutes, Jamie Vlatko marked and goaled to restore the Eagle lead, but the Dragons would soon be back in front after big Pat McBride took a free kick forward to well inside the 50m arc, and a push-out gave Ben Sharp a free kick and goal.
As the clock ticked past 20 minutes, the Dragons were leading by a point and the Eagles looking frustrated. But the final minutes of the quarter were pivotal, the Eagles regaining the run of possession and driving it forward for three goals. All of them came from marks, Jamie Vlatko bringing up four goals for the half. Those final minutes before half time set up a lead that the Eagles would not relinquish for the remainder of the evening; a 17-point lead at the long break. For all St George’s efforts, they would go no closer during the second half.
The game had started in sunlight, and during the course of the first half the lights would replace the illumination of the setting sun. Day had turned into night by the time the half time break was over, only the final rays of the sun producing a red sky to the west. And in the early minutes of the second half, it looked like the red sky at night was Eagles’ delight.
A downfield free in the opening minute of the third quarter gave Jamie Vlatko his fifth goal. A set shot by Doyle from 50 metres added another. And at the 6 minute mark, Stephen O’Connor, who had come forward for the third quarter, marked 50 metres out. O’Connor centred the ball to Alex Foxall who found Jack Dimery 25 metres out. The Eagles had extended their lead to 35 points in just six minutes, and were looking set for another win of over 10 goals.
St George needed a circuit-breaker, and it came when Declan Donohus took an intercepting mark to stop an East Coast attempt to switch play. Donohue’s set shot from 40 metres out sailed through the goals. And the Dragons began to lift around the ground, particularly Daniel Napper up forward. Napper twice marked within goal-kicking distance, one a strong pack mark and the other a diving slips-catch mark; and with goals from both, the half-time margin was restored.
Daniel Spiteri played on from the centre square, and with momentum carrying him drove the ball long for a quick Eagle goal. The Eagles drove the ball forward again, for Jamie Vlatko to mark virtually under the goalposts. Despite being swung around to a virtually impossible angle, Vlatko bent the goal through the big sticks. But the tenacious Dragons again refused to let the Eagles run away; a double to Paul Sain, the second a soccer off the ground, took the margin back to 17 points. It had been 5.0 apiece for the quarter, neither team scoring a behind during the term.
The Dragons were 17 points behind at the last change, and had they got the first goal of the final quarter, they may have been able to launch a bid to steal the game. And they had their chances.
A long bomb went over the heads of both Dragon forward Jon Shineberg and Eagle defender Rowan Bilkey. Shineberg recovered first to get to the ball, but rather than soccering the ball off the ground, Shineberg attempted to gather. Under pressure, Shineberg handballed to Napper, but the ball sailed out on the full. A few minutes later, a 50 metre penalty put Pat McBride to 40 metres from goal, but the Dragon ruckman was unable to make the distance and the Eagles cleared.
It took 10 minutes for the first goal of the final term to come, with Stephen O’Connor forcing a turnover and then snapping truly. A minute later, despite the attention of two Dragon tacklers, Ben Rogers burst through to score.
The pressure of playing from behind began to take its toll, the Dragons several times attempting to clear from half-back and spraying out on the full in front of the clubhouse.
But two goals in a minute threw the Dragons a lifeline. Robert Lombardo picked up the ball on the forward 50 metre line and found a leading Napper 25 metres out. The Dragons got the centre break, and Trent Baker was then unlucky to be penalised for a deliberate out of bounds; a 50 metre penalty for backchat gifting Lombardo the easiest of goals. But a mark and goal by O’Connor at the 23 minute mark put the issue beyond doubt.
The final margin was 26 points in favour of the Eagles. Their winning streak remains intact, extended to nine games; but for the first time since the opening round they were held to a margin of less than 10 goals. Jamie Vlatko finished with six goals, while Stephen Doyle finished with four. Rowan Bilkey, Jamie Vlatko and Jack Dimery were among the Eagles’ best. Mitchell Edwards, Declan Donohue and Paul Sain were key contributors for St George.
At Picken Oval on Saturday afternoon, Wests won their second game on the trot for the first time this season when the Magpies came from behind to edge out UTS by 11 points. The Bats had the better of the early exchanges to lead by 22 points at the first change. The second quarter, although tightly contested around the ground, was an exhibition of accurate finishing. There were only six scoring shots for the quarter, but all of them were goals, three apiece, with the Bats retaining their 22-point advantage at the long break.
But the premiership quarter saw the fortunes of the game turn around, as the Magpies stepped up a gear and UTS were unable to keep up. Six goals to two for the quarter was a welcome turnaround for the embattled Magpies as they hit the front late in the quarter to take a narrow two point advantage into the final term.
The margin was close, but Wests had taken the momentum and they would continue that in the last quarter. The Bats hung in there, and scored three goals for the quarter to maintain hopes they could regain the lead; but the Magpies found five goals to ensure victory.
Matt Eurell was a handy target up forward for the Magpies and finished with six goals; while Kyall Walford, Stephen Hudson and Ryan Barrett were key possession getters. Tom Steinfort, Mark Trewhella and Hamish Turner were among UTS’s best.
Pennant Hills ensured they kept their position in the top five, and ensured Campbelltown were still looking for their first win of the season, when the Demons completed a comprehensive 146-point win at Monarch Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The Demons wasted no time in asserting themselves and with seven goals in the opening term while holding the Demons scoreless. The Demons let themselves down with some inaccurate finishing in the second term, but the Blues never looked threatening and the Demons held a 69-point lead at half time.
The Demons were already in control, but the third quarter turned it into a rout. Another nine goals to two for the quarter ensured the margin would go well into three figures. And by then, Campbelltown’s resistance had crumbled and another one-sided quarter would follow.
The Demons had plenty of targets, with 11 of their number getting on the scorers list. Brant Jack with seven goals and Josh Keen with four were the leading contributors on the scoresheet; with Jack, Keen and Damian Dell’Aquila being key contributors around the ground, but there were many who played valuable roles on what was a sensational afternoon for the Demons. Mark Leach, Dave Linsen and Scott Hardy tried hard all day for the Blues, but it was a dirty afternoon for Campbelltown and another chapter in what has been a disappointing afternoon for the injury-ravaged and under-manned Blues.
For the second week in a row North Shore recorded a win by less than a kick, this time getting up by five points over UNSW-ES in a roller-coaster ride of emotion at Gore Hill on Saturday afternoon. The Bombers led throughout the first half, but were never able to shake off the efforts of the persistent Bulldogs, leading by three points at quarter time and seven points at half time.
But the Bulldogs took the lead during the third quarter, threatening to upset the Bombers, before two goals in the final moments before three quarter time restored the North Shore lead at the last change, the Bombers holding a four-point advantage.
The Bulldogs again took the lead in the first minute of the final term, but a run of three Bomber goals gave them a handy buffer. But the Bulldogs refused to concede, and a quick-fire double cut the margin to five points at the 16 minute mark. That would be the last score for the game, as the Bombers defended resolutely for the remaining minutes to prevent the Bulldogs from scoring; the final siren coming as a relief to the Bombers.
Adrian Harry, Rory Pryor at Pat Brackin were among North Shore’s best, in a result that further consolidates the Bombers’ position in the top five. Leigh Lavery contributed four goals for the Bulldogs, while Peter Kefalas, Jeremy Kiel and Joel Robbie won plenty of ball for the Bulldogs.
Two of the top three teams were in contention at Drummoyne Oval on Sunday afternoon when Balmain hosted Sydney Uni. And it would be a game of fluctuating fortunes, which finished with the Dockers defeating the Students for the second time this season, retaining top spot on the ladder with a 20-point victory.
The Dockers kicked the only two goals of the first quarter to lead by 10 points at the first change, but the Students clicked into gear in the second term. Quickly erasing the quarter time deficit, the Students kicked seven goals for the quarter to power to a 19-point lead at half time. But the Dockers then fought back in the third term with six goals to three, and the Students held a 2-point lead at three quarter time.
A close finish was on the cards, but instead the Dockers starved the Students of attacking opportunities in the final quarter, scoring four goals to one to ensure victory. Jason Saddington scored five goals for the Dockers, while young prodigy Thomas Head contributed four. Tim Schmidt, Alex Mitchell and Saddington were among Balmain’s best; while the Students were well served by Clint Wells, Peter Dugmore and Ban Mankarious.
So after Round 12, Balmain are top of the ladder, with ten wins from their 11 games. East Coast are a game behind, but have a game in hand and a far better percentage than the Dockers. Sydney Uni are a further game behind. Unless some major catastrophe strikes, those three teams will play finals this year.
North Shore are a game behind Sydney Uni with a game in hand, but have an inferior percentage to the Students. Pennant Hills complete the final five, a further game behind North Shore but with a better percentage than the Bombers.
A game behind Pennant Hills, but having played an extra game and with an inferior percentage, are three teams – UNSW-ES, Illawarra and St George – who will need to string some wins together and hope that Pennant Hills have some losses when they play the four teams above them during July.
And although it’s still mathematically possible for Wests, UTS or Campbelltown to make the finals, it would require a miraculous turnaround in form for them to play a part in the business end of the season.
East Coast Eagles 3.8 7.9 12.9 15.14 (104)
St George 3.3 5.4 10.4 12.6 (78)
Goals : East Coast –
Jamie Vlatko 6, S Doyle 4, S O’Connor 2, B Ure, D Spiteri, J Dimery. St George –
D Napper 3, P Sain 3, B Jones 2, M Holmes, D Donohue, R Lombardo, B Sharp.
Best : East Coast –
R Bilkey, Jamie Vlatko, J Dimery, A Foxall, B Bourke, D Spiteri. St George –
M Edwards, D Donohue, P Sain, R Lombardo, M Graham, T Addison.
At Bruce Purser Reserve, Sunday 26th June 2011.
Western Suburbs 0.2 3.2 9.3 14.6 (90)
University of Technology 3.6 6.6 8.7 11.13 (79)
Goals : Wests –
M Eurell 6, K Walford 3, S Hudson, S Lear, C Specha, R Bamford, J Morgan. UTS –
S Way 2, A Kymantas 2, M Atkinson 2, J Caica 2, M Trewhella, A Morley, C Tolj,
Best : Wests –
K Walford, S Hudson, R Barratt, M Eurell, L Roehrig, B Lafferty. UTS –
T Steinford, M Trewhella, H Turner, M Atkinson, A Kymantas, P Tagart.
At Picken Oval, Saturday 25th June 2011.
Pennant Hills 7.3 11.10 20.12 27.15 (177)
Campbelltown 0.0 1.1 3.3 4.7 (31)
Goals : Pennant Hills –
B Jack 7, J Keen 4, L Bilbe 3, B Unwin 3, D Dell’Aquila 2, J Gourlay 2, M Crawford 2, T Scoular, M Thomas, K Wright, M McCamey. Campbelltown –
M Moore 2, B Reid, M Leach.
Best : Pennant Hills –
B Jack, J Keen, D Dell’Aquila, J Gourlay, K Wright, S Turner. Campbelltown –
M Leach, D Linsen, S Hardy, H Sherwood, B Reid, S Doherty.
At Monarch Oval, Saturday 25th June 2011.
North Shore 2.4 5.6 8.10 11.11 (77)
Uni of NSW-Eastern Suburbs 2.1 4.5 8.6 11.6 (72)
Goals : North Shore –
S Paynter 3, D Roberts, B Attwood, D Fitzgerald, P Brackin, T Strudwick, R Pryor, P Codling, L Kilpatrick. UNSW-ES –
L Lavery 4, J Parmenter 3, M Collett 2, T Heath, R Pert.
Best : North Shore –
A Harry, R Pryor, P Brackin, S Paynter, B Fitzgerald, R Wason. UNSW-ES –
P Kefalas, J Kiel, J Robbie, A Gulden, A Rogrigues, H Nichols.
At Gore Hill Oval, Saturday 25th June 2011.
Balmain 2.1 4.3 10.6 14.10 (94)
Sydney University 0.3 7.4 10.8 11.8 (74)
Goals : Balmain –
J Saddington 5, T Head 4, J Britton 2, J Ryder, T Luff, J Howard. Sydney Uni –
T Barrett 4, S Crichton 2, A Turco, C Clarebrough, D McKay, J Cole.
Best : Balmain –
T Schmidt, A Mitchell, J Saddington, T Head, M Edwins, B Jones. Sydney Uni –
C Wells, P Dugmore, B Mankarious, T Barton, A Turco, M Rice.
At Drummoyne Oval, Sunday 26th June 2011.
Black - Confirmed finalists
Green - Currently in a finals position, but not yet guaranteed a place in the finals
Blue - Not currently in a finals position, but still a chance to qualify
Purple - Will not be competing in the finals
Red - If the season ended now, would be relegated.
UTS 6.18 (54) d Western Suburbs 6.17 (53)
North Shore 12.16 (88) d UNSW-ES 12.7 (79)
Manly-Warringah 24.15 (159) d Pennant Hills 5.3 (33)
Macquarie Uni 14.10 (94) d Sydney Uni 3.2 (20)
Southern Power 10.9 (69) d East Coast 6.4 (40)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – Manly-Warringah (81.82, 253.06%), Southern Power (80, 152.83%), Macquarie Uni (72.73, 207.99%), Sydney Uni (72.73, 110.23%)
, East Coast (50, 127.74%), UTS (50, 98.89%), North Shore (40, 71.39%), Pennant Hills (40, 68.93%), UNSW-ES (36.36, 67.61%), Wests (18.18, 61.41%)
, Illawarra (9.09, 48.73%)
Manly-Warringah 19.13 (127) d Camden 4.5 (29)
NorWest 16.10 (106) d St George 6.4 (40)
Holroyd-Parramatta 15.9 (99) d Auburn 7.10 (52)
Penrith 8.13 (61) d Moorebank 3.4 (22)
Balmain 14.10 (94) d Sydney Uni 5.8 (38)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – Balmain (81.82, 155.54%), Penrith (72.73, 169.55%), Holroyd-Parramatta (72.73, 149.75%), Sydney Uni (63.64, 122.73%), NorWest (54.55, 108.37%)
, Auburn (54.55, 93.71%), St George (36.36, 65.66%), Moorebank (27.27, 83.31%), Manly-Warringah (27.27, 73.81%)
, Camden (9.09, 50.05%)
UTS 15.11 (101) d Western Suburbs 9.3 (57)
UNSW-ES 28.24 (192) d North Shore 4.3 (27)
Campbelltown 9.4 (58) d Saints AFC 7.8 (50)
Sydney Uni 12.14 (86) d Macquarie Uni 7.8 (50)
Southern Power 10.12 (72) d East Coast 9.6 (60)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – UNSW-ES (90.91, 279.87%), UTS (77.78, 156.24%), Sydney Uni (72.73, 139.60%), Saints AFC (60, 174.29%), Southern Power (50, 93.73%)
, East Coast (40, 76.77%), Wests (40, 75.13%), Macquarie Uni (36.36, 111.87%), Campbelltown (27.27, 43.12%)
, North Shore (9.09, 33.09%)
NorWest 13.4 (82) d UTS 8.5 (53)
Holroyd-Parramatta 11.7 (73) d Auburn 6.6 (42)
Penrith 13.12 (90) d Moorebank 2.5 (17)
Macquarie Uni 10.16 (76) d Manly-Warringah 7.8 (50)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – Macquarie Uni (100, 177.01%), Penrith (90, 218.14%), UTS (57.14, 134.35%), UNSW-ES (50, 92.88%)
, Moorebank (50, 92.72%), Holroyd-Parramatta (40, 97.76%), NorWest (28.57, 84.80%), Manly-Warringah (22.22, 67.81%)
, Auburn (10, 41.28%)
Manly-Warringah 17.13 (115) d Camden 6.4 (40)
Moorebank 20.17 (137) d Holroyd-Parramatta 2.4 (16)
Southern Power 11.8 (74) d Macquarie Uni 6.4 (40)
Saints AFC 11.16 (82) d Sydney Uni 6.6 (42)
Ladder – Southern Power (44, 287.60%), Moorebank (28, 149.44%), Saints AFC (28, 134.05%), Manly-Warringah (28, 99.61%)
, Sydney Uni (24, 132.57%), Macquarie Uni (16, 94.70%), Camden (8, 57.55%), Holroyd-Parramatta (0, 26.28%)
Under 18s Premier:
North Shore 13.13 (91) d UNSW-ES 6.8 (44)
Pennant Hills 6.10 (46) d St Ignatius Riverview 4.7 (31)
Sydney Uni 10.22 (82) d Penrith 10.11 (71)
East Coast 20.18 (138) d St George 4.7 (31)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – East Coast (95.45, 247.80%), North Shore (85, 198.19%), Pennant Hills (70, 118.59%), Sydney Uni (63.64, 132.02%), St Ignatius Riverview (63.64, 120.30%)
, St George (36.36, 99.35%), Penrith (27.27, 52.11%), Illawarra (25, 74.37%), Wests (25, 41.73%)
Under 18s Challenge:
Holroyd-Parramatta 10.7 (67) d Moorebank 7.5 (47)
Campbelltown 31.13 (205) d Mac Uni Kookas 4.1 (25)
Mac Uni Warriors 11.13 (79) d East Coast 10.16 (76)
Balmain 11.10 (76) d Southern Power 10.6 (66)
Ladder (Match Ratio) – Campbelltown (100, 321.41%), Mac Uni Warriors (77.78, 151.36%), Manly-Warringah (60, 148.62%), Holroyd-Parramatta (50, 119.40%)
, Southern Power (50, 109.58%), Balmain (44.44, 81.53%), Moorebank (30, 81.33%), East Coast (30, 61.82%), Mac Uni Kookas (10, 23.11%).
NEXT WEEK’S FIXTURES
Premier Division (Lurker’s Kiss of Death in bold):
Saturday 2nd July
Ern Holmes Oval – Pennant Hills v East Coast
North Dalton Oval – Illawarra
v Campbelltown (2:10pm)
Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni
v UTS (2:10pm)
Village Green – UNSW-ES v Balmain
Gore Hill Oval – North Shore
v St George (2:30pm)
Saturday 2nd July
Gore Hill Oval – North Shore v Southern Power (10:30am)
Ern Holmes Oval – Pennant Hills v East Coast (12pm)
North Dalton Oval – Illawarra v Manly-Warringah (2pm)
Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v UTS (12pm)
Sunday 3rd July
Village Green – UNSW-ES v Macquarie Uni (2:10pm)
Saturday 2nd July
Olds Park – St George v Auburn (12pm)
Greygums Oval – Penrith v Balmain (2:10pm)
Harrington Park – Camden v NorWest (2:10pm)
Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Manly-Warringah (2:30pm)
Rosedale Oval – Moorebank v Sydney Uni (4:30pm)
Saturday 2nd July
Gore Hill Oval – North Shore v Southern Power (8:30am)
Bruce Purser Reserve – East Coast v UTS (12pm)
Monarch Oval – Campbelltown v Sydney Uni (12pm)
Pioneers Park – Saints AFC v Western Suburbs (2:10pm)
Sunday 3rd July
Village Green – UNSW-ES v Macquarie Uni (12pm)
Saturday 2nd July
Greygums Oval – Penrith v UTS (12pm)
Village Green – UNSW-ES v NorWest (12pm)
Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Manly-Warringah (12:30pm)
Rosedale Oval – Moorebank v Auburn (2:30pm)
Saturday 2nd July
Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Sydney Uni (10:30am)
Rosedale Oval – Moorebank v Manly-Warringah (10:30am)
Harrington Park – Camden v Southern Power (12pm)
Pioneers Park – Saints AFC v Macquarie Uni (12pm)
Under 18s Premier:
Friday 1st July
Sydney Uni No 1 Oval – Sydney Uni v St Ignatius Riverview (7:30pm)
Saturday 2nd July
Ern Holmes Oval – Pennnt Hills v East Coast (10am)
North Dalton Oval – Illawarra v Penrith (10am)
Village Green – UNSW-ES v Western Suburbs (10am)
Gore Hill Oval – North Shore v St George (12:30pm)
Under 18s Challenge:
Saturday 2nd July
Gipps Rd Oval – Holroyd-Parramatta v Southern Power (8:30am)
Bruce Purser Reserve – East Coast v Manly-Warringah (10am)
University Oval – Mac Uni Kookas v Mac Uni Warriors (10am)
Rosedale Oval – Moorebank v Balmain (12:30pm)