HARBOURSPORT  
Sydney AFL
This article originally published on RedAndWhiteOnline.

The one day in September that we want to remember had
come around again, and for the second time in three years
the teams taking part were Pennant Hills and East Coast
Eagles. 2006 was remembered for driving rain that
reduced the ground to a quagmire and a finish that would
go down to the wire. 2008 would be the opposite.
On a day when the maximum temperature reached 33.6
degrees, it was the hottest grand final day in the history of
Sydney footy. And just as hot was the irrepressible form of
Pennant Hills that would turn the match into a one-sided
affair and make the statisticians reach for their record
books.

The game didn't look like it would break any records early. A
flukey, swirling wind along with the high temperatures
made it difficult for both clubs to get their games going,
while both sides found the defences getting on top and
struggling to find any way beyond their attacking 50. The
Eagles got the opening centre break and opened the
scoring with two behinds, but once Matt Carey pounced on
a loose ball 40 metres out and banged the goal through,
the Demons had a lead and would never be headed again.
Goals were hard to come by early, although Eagle forward
Ryan Smyth was unlucky to be denied an opportunity when
he ran down the Demon defence but the holding-the-ball
free wasn't paid. Instead the Demons ran the ball downfield
and out of trouble. Carey's second came from a set shot,
before the Eagles got themselves on the goal-scoring
scoresheet thanks to a downfield free to Ben Rogers.
Pennant Hills by 5 points at the first change, it was still a close contest. But a key passage of play
early in the second gave the Demons a launching pad to increase their lead. After a Pennant
Hills behind, Rowan Bilkey went to kick the ball back into play. Twice baulking and changing his
mind about the kick, Bilkey went wide close to the boundary line. Glenn Garner claimed the mark,
but the boundary umpire ruled the ball had gone out on the full. Laine Spencer took the free and
found Clint Setford on the lead, who in turn with a quick give to an unmarked Kieran Wright set up
a Demon goal. It was not just the goal, but the ease with which they found unmarked opponents,
that was a shade of things to come; and when Alex Goodall converted a free kick just 2 minutes
later, the Demons had a handy lead. Carey's third for the half would come as the clock ticked into
time-on, but Byerlee got it back to make the margin 17 points at the long break.

A three goal margin at the half time, and although Pennant Hills had the advantage, it wasn't time
to celebrate yet. But it soon was, as the Eagles capitulated after the break. 6 unanswered goals
in the third term blew the margin out to 56 points by the last change; and it became a rout in the
last term when the Demons ran through 9 goals to 1. The last goal of the game, Matt Carey's 5th,
inflated the margin to over 100 to complete a trumphant day for the Demons.
The second half was deeply disappointing for the Eagles, who struggled to find any form of
cohesion. Too many turnovers, too many unmarked opponents, too few able to put themselves
on the line to attempt any resistance. The heat didn't help, neither did fatigue with the Demons
having fresh legs after last week off compared to just a 6-day turnaround for the Eagles. A month
of sudden-death football, coming from the bottom reaches of the final 5, had taken its toll and the
Eagles had nothing more to give. Too many players who had given their all to get the Eagles into
the grand final were sadly beaten on the day and struggled to achieve any possession. And as
the realisation set in that the Eagles would again be defeated by their bogey team, the heads
dropped and confidence was down. While the Eagles scored 7 goals in the wet in their 2006
defeat, they were unable to manage half that in the dry.
But to focus excessively on the Eagles would be to sell the Demons short - and they were
magnificent. Every one of them played their game plan to perfection. The defence kept the
star-studded Eagle forward line quiet. The drive from the midfield, making first use of the
contested football, delivered opportunities downfield. While the forward line were constantly able
to create space, get away from the Eagle defence; and time and time again created opportunities
that turned what would have been tricky individual shots into easy team goals. The final margin
was 104 points. Matt Carey and Clint Setford each kicked 5 for the Demons and were among
their best players.

For the second straight year, a Scholarship player would be awarded the Podbury Medal for best
on ground in the grand final. Last year's winner, Ryan Davis, was picked up by West Coast and
played senior AFL football in 2008. This year's winner, Scott Reed, is tied to Collingwood; and the
AFL Magpies would surely be considering inviting Reed to join their list in 2009.

While the Eagles will be bitterly disappointed with how the grand final finished, they had plenty of
reason for pride in their achievements in 2008. A return to the finals, and coming through sudden
death finals all the way to play in the showpiece game. It had been a good season for Eagles, but
was one game short of greatness.

But to the winners go the spoils, and the spoils were delivered in an emphatic fashion to
Pennant Hills. As coach Mick Cousens and captain Seb Parker lifted the premiership cup, the
beer and champagne flowed; and for the boys from Ern Holmes it was party time as they basked
in the glory of their third senior premiership and surely the club's finest hour.

Pennant Hills                                   2.3        5.7        11.11        20.12 (132)
East Coast Eagles                         1.4        2.8          2.9             3.10 (28)
Goals : Pennant Hills -
M Carey 5, C Setford 5, N Campbell 2, L Spencer, S Reed, K Wright, A
Goodall, B McGrath, J Duncan, B Jack, L Bilbe.
East Coast - A Byerlee, L Furlan, B Rogers.
Best : Pennant Hills - S Reed, M Carey, C Setford, A Goodall, A Richardson, L Spencer. East
Coast -
R Bilkey, E Wilson, B Physick, B Ure, A Stubbs, M Johnston.
At Henson Park, Saturday 20th September 2008.

East Coast would not leave grand final day empty-handed, as the Eagles took out the Reserves
premiership and completed a three-peat at that level. A scrappy and low-scoring first half saw the
margin just 3 points at the long break, but the Eagles tore the game apart during the premiership
quarter by scoring 5 unanswered goals. The Students, who had come from the bottom reaches
of the final 5 to make the grand final, were unable to score a goal in the second half as the
Eagles asserted their authority to win by 70 points. Corey Durie was awarded the best-on-ground
medal.
East Coast Eagles                        2.4        2.6        7.9        12.15 (87)
Sydney University                         0.2        2.3        2.3           2.5 (17)
Goals : East Coast -
M Arbon 3, J Mann 2, R Frost 2, D Gatte, J Patira, N Laing, T Kear, C Durie.
Sydney Uni - C Walsh, A Wilson.
Best : East Coast - C Durie, J Mann, S O'Connor, T Physick, D Gatte, R Fitton. Sydney Uni - N
Bibby, P Younan, N Costello, C Walsh, A Clark, A Hawkins.

For the third year in a row a North Shore side took out the Under 18s Premier Cup. This time it
was the Bombers after a 42-point win over East Coast in the early game. The Eagles scored the
first 2 goals to open up a challenge to the minor premiers, but the Bombers fought back to take
the lead by quarter time; and by winning every quarter denied the Eagles the chance to build any
form of winning momentum. The match was a triumph for the Brain brothers, with Levi kicking 7
while James was awarded the best-on-ground medal.
North Shore Bombers                  4.2        9.5        12.11        15.11 (101)
East Coast Eagles                         2.2        4.6           5.9            8.11 (59)
Goals : North Shore -
L Brain 7, J Brain 2, A Robertson 2, B Thompson, M Hutton, M Trent, J Hall.
East Coast - J Gordon 2, J Steer 2, D Clinch, M Power, S Pierce, J Shephard.
Best : North Shore - L Brain, J Brain, M Trent, D Dickerson, J Lumsden, S Easey. East Coast - M
Power, J Shephard, M Karafilis, S Pinchen, M Mostert, J Gordon.

In the Monday before the grand final, the Phelan Medal count took place; and for the second year
in succession the award was taken out by a Pennant Hills player. This time the winner was Matt
Carey who polled 17 votes, 1 ahead of Sydney Uni's Alex Lee while Wollongong's Adam
McConnochie came in third.
Congratulations to the following medal winners:
Phelan Medal (Premier Division Seniors) - Matthew Carey, Pennant Hills
Sanders Medal (Premier Division Reserves) - Leigh McWhirter, Sydney Uni
Snow Medal (First Division Seniors) - Andrew Davis, UTS
McFarlane Medal (First Division Reserves) - Phillip Taylor, UTS
Armstrong Medal (Second Division) - Mark Dixon, UNSW-ES Bulldogs
Kealey Medal (Under 18s Premier) - Anthony Robertson, North Shore Bombers
Hart Medal (Under 18s Challenge) - Wills Brassil, Manly-Warringah.

EPILOGUE
It's amazing how time flies when you're having fun. It seems so recent that we had the 5-header
at Henson Park to open the season; and yet it's already come to an end. A season where
dreams have been fulfilled and shattered, a year in which reputations have been enhanced and
diminished.
For Pennant Hills, it will be a summer of celebration as they reap the rewards of their efforts in
2008. East Coast will lick their wounds but will bounce back in 2009 determined to right the
wrong of this year and go one better next season. And for eight other clubs who didn't make the
2008 grand final, planning will already be under way with hopes high of being a part of next year's
decider.

Thank you to all the players who have been a part of Sydney football this season. Thank you to all
the umpires, officials, volunteers and supporters - without you there would be no game. Thank
you to the readers of this column and contributors to the message board - it's been a lot of fun.

Have a great off-season. And roll on April 2009, when we'll be back for another sensational
season of footy; hopefully the game will be bigger and better than ever.
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