2023 senior coaching announcement
The Sydney University AFL Sydney Division 3 teams have had an outstanding start to their season, with both the Men’s and Women’s teams securing their first wins in round 1. These victories are particularly special as they mark the first senior coaching wins for new coaches Julia Mathers and Tony Edser, who must have been elated with their teams’ performances.
The Women’s Division 3 team, known as the “Gems,” has moved up from Division 4 this season following a successful 2022 campaign that saw them narrowly miss out on a preliminary final to South West Sydney Blues. The team wasted no time making a statement in the competition, securing a commanding victory over UTS. First-time coach Julia Mathers admitted to having pre-game nerves. “I was far more nervous than the girls after all the anticipation and excitement preceding Sydney Uni’s debut in Division 3,” she said.
The team’s 56-point win over an established Division 3 side is sure to fill them with confidence. Mathers was particularly pleased with the team’s ability to execute what they had been working on during preseason. “The girls played with typical Gems enthusiasm and showed off some slick skills and ball movement patterns that we practiced to death during preseason, resulting in a convincing win over UTS.” The Gems provide a great opportunity for girls to make their AFL debut, and the club welcomed nine new players who made their club debut in the win. Four of those players were also playing their first game of AFL. Arachi Park had a standout performance and was awarded best on ground, while Hayley Kenzler led the charge with three goals.
The Men’s Division 3 team, known as the “Golds,” had a closely contested game in wet conditions against Inner West rivals, the Newtown Breakaways. The opening game turned into a scrap early on, with Newtown looking more energetic and up for the contest. The Students struggled to make the most of their opportunities, but they stuck to the task and made their debut coach proud as they got things clicking in the second half. “Newtown looked hungrier early, while we wasted the few opportunities we had. As the game opened up in the second half, we spread the ball a lot better, linked hand passes, and looked the better team. We stayed patient and finally hit the scoreboard when it mattered most.” Jack Ventura Gleeson was awarded best on ground, while Gabriel Bass-Tracey capped off a good performance with a goal. Edser expressed his relief and enjoyment after securing the win and quickly turned his attention to the team’s lofty goals. “It’s a different feeling coaching, a mixture of relief and enjoyment compared to the soreness and bruises associated with playing. Our goals are to have a red-hot crack at the flag in a very winnable comp. That said, results are the byproduct of respecting the Guernsey and looking after our teammates on and off the field.”
Club president Jim Beard was encouraged to hear that the Division 3 sides had started the season so well and echoed the importance of the lower grades to the club’s football program. “Jules and Tony have been brilliant club people for a few years now, and we are stoked that they have stepped up to coach the Div 3 sides. The Gems and Golds are really important to SUANFC – they enrich our club with wonderful people, who are often new to the game. What a perfect start to the season! Who knows, maybe we should start talking September plans?”
Michelle Hauschild was at the Gems game against UTS and her wonderful photos can be found here: Sydney UNI 2023 photos. Keep an eye out for Michelle around the grounds this season and be sure to thank her for the amazing photos she takes!
These wins are a testament to the hard work, dedication, and teamwork displayed by both the Women’s and Men’s Division 3 teams. It is a fantastic start to their season, and the club can’t wait to see what they can accomplish throughout the year. The Gems will play their first game at Oval One for the year next week as they take on the St George Dragons at 10:15. Meanwhile, the Golds will enjoy a week off before a big match with the Camden Cats on St Pauls Oval in Round 3.
Best: Arachi Park, Finlay Menz, Hayley Kenzler, Kellyn Coetzee, Phoebe Skuse, Madii Himbury
Goals: Hayley Kenzler 3, Lorna Arkell 2, Stellar Babidge, Meg Doyle, Kellyn Coetzee
Best: Jack Ventura Gleeson, Gabriel Bass-Tracy, Axel Norris, William Rowland, Zubair Awan, Aidan Maher
Goals: Mark Lister, William Rowland, Gabriel Bass-Tracy