The Round 19 game between Sydney Uni and NT Thunder had the makings of an incredible highlight reel for the Students as they annihilated the visiting Thunder. Breaking multiple club NEAFL records, including their highest score (167) and largest winning margin (118), the Students came away with 25.17 (167)- 7.7 (49) victory.
In perfect conditions at Henson Park, Sydney Uni got out to a great start, scoring their first goal within a minute of the opening bounce. Their second came not long after and the Students looked to be growing in confidence with every minute played. Sydney Uni were playing smart, high tempo footy. In sharp contrast, the fourth placed Thunder were poor in transition and lacked discipline, giving away multiple 50’s. The Students took a comfortable 32 point lead into quarter time.
The second quarter started in a similar way, with the Thunder under immense pressure across the park. Sydney Uni won majority of the centre clearances and never looked phased by the NT defence. They maintained complete control holding an 84-13 lead at half time.
Throughout the third quarter, Sydney Uni continued to have all the answers. The defensive unit of Ryan Hebron, Darcy Baron Hay and Xavier Richards were extremely solid, holding the Thunder to a mere 22 points over the first three quarters. Backed by the strong ball-winning combination in the middle, led by Zac O’Brien (41 disposals, 7 marks) and Tom Young (33 disposals, 8 marks) the Students were able to advance the ball into their attacking end with ease. The margin going into three quarter time was 112 points, as Sydney held a powerful 134-22 lead.
Up front Sydney Uni were having a field day. Aaron Day (4 goals), Bonney (3 goals) and Matt Wilson (3 goals) did considerable damage, with 10 goals between them, however it was a full team effort with 15 different players kicking goals.
NT were much more competitive in the final quarter, however the game was all but over. Despite scoring 3 goals in the last 5 minutes, the Thunder left their run far too late as Sydney University came away 118 point victors.
Coach Tom Morrison was pleased with his teams efforts in Round 18, but can still see room for improvement. “We were obviously really satisfied with the score difference on the weekend but were disappointed to drop away in the last 15 minutes of the game. We will be looking to provide a full 4 quarter effort this weekend against a Canberra side that are in form and playing for a spot in finals.”
Despite the Thunder scoring three quick goals in the last 5 minutes, the Students were outstanding defensively for the rest of the match holding the visiting side to just 30 points for the first 115 minutes of play.
“We were really strong in our defensive method, which allowed us to win the ball back early into NT’s offence. This opened up plenty of scoring opportunities and limited NT’s ability to score on transition in fast play scenarios – something that we had as a focus point heading into the match.”
“Our midfield was very dominant, being able to break tackles and exit through stoppage to give our forwards better supply of the football. The team defence was a real highlight, in particular some of the ‘team first’ behaviours of our small forwards. Also, our back line’s ability to assist Darcy Baron-Hay, who had a dominant performance on the competition leading goal kicker.”
Sydney Uni will head into their final two matches of the regular season with confidence and will continue to strive to play the ‘team first’ brand of football displayed so well against the Thunder.
“There has been a clear improvement in our training form over the past fortnight and we are starting to develop into the team that we have worked so hard to become,” Morrison added.
Sydney Uni head down to UNSW Canberra Oval on Saturday August 12 to take on the Canberra Demons. The two sides met back in Round 9 where the Students claimed a 71 point victory. With the Demons fighting for a finals spot, Sydney Uni will be preparing for a much tougher rematch.
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY 6.3 12.12 20.14 15.17 (167)
NT THUNDER 1.1 2.1 3.4 7.7 (49)
Sydney University: A Day 4 D Bonney 3 M Wilson 3 J Loneragan 2 M Manteit 2 A Gillespie 2 X Richards J Brain J Derickx T Young S Tagliabue J Williams A Lucy J Hiscox Z O’Brien.
NT Thunder: J Cheek 3 R Smith 2 D Ewing D Russell.
Sydney University: S Tagliabue Z O’Brien D Baron-Hay X Richards T Barton R Hebron.
NT Thunder: A Ankers N Yarran C Ilett M Rosier R Tambling J Cheek.