By Cameron Smith (NEAFL Media)
Southport reduced ladder leaders Sydney University to their club’s lowest ever NEAFL score with a stunning 110-point victory at Fankhauser Reserve.
The Sharks blew Sydney University out of the water in the first quarter, and kept the foot on the throttle for the remainder of the match, astonishingly winning 18.15 (123) to 1.7.(13).
The game was won in the first quarter, with the Sharks kicking six goals to nothing as they stamped their authority on the contest with elite tackling pressure.
It only got worst for the visitors with Nathan Cooper (ankle) and Xavier Richards (hamstring) suffering game-ending injuries by halfway through the second term.
The Sharks were able to win the clearances, and keep the ball in their half, setting up behind the ball to stop the Students in transition, on a very slippery deck.
As the game opened up, Southport remained in control and continued to hit the scoreboard, taking a commanding 77-point lead into the last change.
Not much changed in the last quarter, except that Sydney University were able to kick their first goal of the match through a set shot to Jacob Derickx.
Southport coach Stephen Daniel was “absolutely happy with the response” from his players after two losses against AFL clubs Gold Coast in Sydney in the past fornight.
“We knew we had to bounce back and make a statement against a non-AFL club, and today we did,” he told neafl.com.au.
“We’ve done a mountain of work in our structure and it paid off, so we come away very happy.
“We pride ourselves on the basic things and make those things our trademark. We live by that trademark and what we are doing, which is really important.”
Craig Bird (34 disposals), Sam Tagliabue (49 hit-outs) and Ryan Hebron (23 disposals, 10 marks, 10 rebound 50s) were gallant for the Students, but in the end it was all Southport who had contributors all over the field.
Josh Clayton (34 disposals), Rob Clements (28 disposals and one goal) led the way for the Sharks, with Mitch Johnson having a day out kicking five goals.
For the Students, it will be a long flight back to Sydney after just their second interstate loss under Tom Morrison as head coach, as well as kicking their lowest score ever in the NEAFL.
Morrison was particularly disappointed after the match.
“We need to respond next week, because we can’t serve up that rubbish again,” he said.
“Southport were terrific, and they completely out played us in every area. However, we let them have the game played on their terms and hit the scoreboard.
“We weren’t resilient as a group; we were fragile, we were soft, and we were second to the ball. We were weak.”
One player that surprisingly didn’t have much impact on the game for Sydney Uni was Tom Young, with Morrison saying “he was a little bit sore coming into the game.”
“We thought we could play him forward but because of the game played out, it was hard to get the ball in his hands, and at three-quarter time we decided to ice him up,” he said.
The Students will play the Hornets, who have now four of their last five matches, next week in an important clash at Henson Park, whilst Southport travel to the bay to take on Redland.
Southport Sharks v Sydney University at Fankhauser Reserve
SOUTPORT 6.8 9.12 11.14 18.15 (123)
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY 0.0 0.1 0.3 1.7 (13)
GOALS – Southport: M Johnson 5 J Hall 3 N Corbett 3 W Hancock M Doran D Fyfe R Clements J Turner K Sheers J O’’Shea Sydney University: J Derickx
BEST – Southport: R Clements E Reeves J Clayton R Clark D Charlesworth A Boston Sydney University: C Bird R Hebron D Baron-Hay S Barkley J Bartolomaeus L Hayres