A 50-point routing of the visiting Aspley Hornets in the Elimination Final, has Sydney Uni one step closer to an elusive NEAFL Grand Final appearance in 2017. The Students put the foot down in the second half, on their way to a 19.12 (126) to 11.10 (76) victory over the Hornets. The win has booked them a place in the Preliminary Final, against the Brisbane Lions this weekend.
The first half was tightly contested with both teams getting off to a slow start. Despite the Students easily claiming a 60 point victory over the Hornets in their previous Round 18 encounter, the visiting side were showing no signs of backing down. Midway through the second quarter, Aspley held a five point lead. However, the Students adjusted mid quarter and the momentum of the match shifted considerably. A 31-2 run heading into half time, put Sydney Uni in front 65-41 at the main break.
After their late second quarter haul, the Students took complete control of the match. Their defensive intensity lifted, holding Aspley to a mere four goals for the second half. They continued to apply scoreboard pressure, seemingly growing in confidence as a group with each minute played.
“To Aspley’s credit they were able to come out and play the finals football that they are so well known for,” Coach Tom Morrison said.
“We were a bit indecisive early and didn’t get on the front foot in some key areas of the match. I was really happy that the group were able to stay focussed and respond to the challenge and come away with a convincing win.”
Zac O’Brien once again asserted his dominance through the midfield, adding four goals and 24 touches. James Brain’s three goals and 16 disposals earned him a mention among Sydney Uni’s best. While Tim Barton (24 disposals, 6 marks) Lewis Stevenson (22 disposals) and Tom Young (21 disposals, two goals) also put in solid performances.
Jonathan Williams (21 disposals, six tackles, one goal) was impressive defensively, curbing the influence of Aspley’s best, Matt Payne, when given the assignment.
“James Brain was brilliant up forward with a ruthless attack on the football and man as well as his ability to hit the scoreboard. Jon Williams took care of their best player for the final 3 quarters of the match, which had a significant effect on the contest. Our midfield were once again prolific and was happy with the offensive and defensive output of our forward line,” Morrison added.
In arguably their most successful season to date, Sydney Uni are focused on the challenge ahead. “We are excited to get up to Brisbane and take the opportunity that lies ahead of us in the form of a Brisbane team that are keen to win the competition. These challenges excite this group and it’s something we have worked hard for more than 9 months now.”
The Students head to Brisbane to take on the Lions in what is set to be a blockbuster match. The Preliminary Final will be played at the Gabba, with the winner booking a place in the 2017 NEAFL Grand Final. Kick off is at 12pm on Saturday 2nd of September.
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY 4.4 10.5 15.11 19.12 (126)
ASPLEY HORNETS 3.2 7.5 9.5 11.10 (76)
Sydney Uni: Z O’Brien 4, J Brain 3, D Bonney 2, J Derickx 2, T Young 2, M Manteit 2, J Williams, J Hiscox, T Derickx, A Gillespie
Aspley: J Nelis 5, O Baker, D Henderson, M Payne, A Hughes, J Ives, H Joyce
Sydney Uni: J Brain, J Williams, Z O’Brien, T Young, M Manteit.
Aspley: J Nelis, E Barlow, C Carseldine, O Baker, J Stanley, J Ives.