It was touted as a finals-like contest and that’s exactly what we got as Sydney University beat Canberra by 11 points in a ripping contest at Blacktown on Saturday.
The Students took a giant step forward in sealing a finals berth – whilst putting a massive dent in Canberra’s hopes – as they held on to win 13.10 (88) to 11.11 (77).
There were five lead changes in the first three quarters as the Students recovered from a slow start to dominant the second half.
Sydney Uni coach Tom Morrison acknowledged his side’s efforts and the importance of the win.
“Both teams gave everything they possibly could. We were just lucky to get out on top but it is rewarding being in really good form,” he told neafl.com.au.
“We looked to focus on a couple of things the opposition do well and level our strengths. Week-to-week our goal is to improve as a team.
“If we are to make finals, we will fly in with a heap of confidence and know we are the underdogs if we do make it.”
Tristan Davies booted the first major of the game for the Students after being rewarded with a 50m penalty. But the Demons were able to crawl themselves back into the contest and finish the opening quarter with a strong 15-point lead.
With Josh Maynard going down with an ankle injury in the first quarter the Demons struggled to find their feet heading into the second term.
Josh Stern helped further his side’s momentum with an outside 50 goal in the first five minutes of the second quarter, which gave Sydney Uni the confidence to produce back-to-back goals and take the lead.
The Demons hit back again to lead by three points at half-time, before another shift when Sydney University booted the first major of third term, which gave them the momentum to carry them through the second half of the match.
Demons captain and NEAFL games record holder Aaron Bruce added to Canberra’s casualty list after leaving the field with what looked to be a broken arm in the first 10 minutes of the third term.
The Students took advantage of Canberra’s bruised morale and kicked four goals to three in the third, and really made their move to start the last with three of the first four.
The Demons continued to battle hard but were unable to crawl themselves back into the contest and put the pressure on the scoreboard in the dying stages.
The loss, and percentage gap, means Canberra will have to win its last two matches against Aspley and Redland after next week’s bye, and hope Sydney University loses two of their last three games against NT Thunder, Redland and Southport if the Demons are to sneak into the finals.
Sydney University v Canberra Demons at Blacktown International Sportspark
SYDNEY UNI 1.1 5.3 9.5 13.10 (88)
CANBERRA 3.4 5.6 8.8 11.11 (77)
GOALS – Sydney Uni: T Davies 2 H Morrison 2 J Stern L Stevenson B Stewart J Veale N Foster A Gulden J Hiscox M Krochmal J Bartholomaeus. Canberra: J Harper 3 L Meline A Paech R Pollock J Powell A Smout A Swan H Carr T Faul.
BEST – Sydney Uni: B Stewart N Reinhard L Stevenson S Tagliabue J Bartholomaeus. Canberra: K Evans A Baker J Harper B Halse T Highmore.