In Round 17, Sydney Uni were upset by the cellar dwelling UWS Giants, who were boasting a couple of key experienced AFL players who were returning from injuries. The Giants, who hadn’t had a win since Round 1, downed the third placed Students 84-71.
The Students got out to an impressive start, kicking the first four majors of the contest. Although the Giants ended the opening quarter well, Sydney Uni took a 6 point lead into the first break. Coming out of quarter time, the Giants applied a lot of pressure and Sydney Uni made some uncharacteristic errors, remaining goaless for the quarter. The Giants took control and were able to capitalise, taking a 20 point lead into half time.
After the main break, momentum shifted and Sydney Uni began to make a comeback. Kicking four goals to one for the quarter, the Students were only down by 5 points at three quarter time. Crucial errors and slow ball movement limited Sydney Uni’s scoring opportunities and the Giants came away 13 point victors.
“A really disappointing result on the weekend, but full credit to the Giants, they really brought it and got behind some A-grade AFL footballers they had playing. Some of their younger players and non-listed AFL players were really competitive and got on top of some of our more senior players. They’ll be a really difficult opponent for the remainder of the season,” Sydney Uni assistant coach Lloyd Perris said after the game.
“We made costly errors all throughout the game, and particularly at important stages, we just handed the footy back to them through poor decision making and execution and it really hurt us on the scoreboard.”
Despite their low standing on the ladder, the Giants showed up in Round 17 with an impressive line-up. They were bolstered by the return of 243-game AFL veteran Brett Delidio. In his debut in Giants colours, Delidio provided excellent run off the ball and vital experience to the young group. Fellow AFL team member and 2016 All Australian nominee, Stephen Coniglio, also got a start with the NEAFL group in his return from injury. Coniglio was dominant around the ball finishing with 36 disposals and added a goal. Add tough defender Harry Himmelberg (12 marks) and a number of GWS Giants Academy members to the mix and this Giants outfit was a force to be reckoned with.
For the Students, Zac O’Brien was once again outstanding through the midfield, finishing with 3 goals, 36 disposals and 11 tackles for the students.
Still sitting third on the ladder with the NT Thunder only 4 points behind, the Students will be looking to gain some momentum with finals just around the corner. “We’ll really look to tighten up and bounce back next week against Aspley who we know will provide another strong challenge. I’m really confident we can improve our ball movement and decision making and get back to our damaging best,” Perris added.
The Students take on the Aspley Hornets at Henson Park on Saturday 29th July at 12pm.
SYDNEY UNI 5.2 5.4 9.5 11.5 (71)
GIANTS 4.2 8.6 9.10 12.12 (84)
Sydney University: Z O’Brien 3 T Ayton 2 A Gillespie 2 M Wilson J Hiscox J Loneragan J Derickx.
Giants: M Walker 4 L Tiziani 2 J Buckley 2 S Coniglio Z Sproule D Simpson H Himmelberg.
Sydney University: Z O’Brien T Barton X Richards D Baron-Hay T Young.
Giants: H Himmelberg I Cumming S Coniglio J Buckley D Lloyd B Myers.