By Myles Stedman (NEAFL Media)
Feature Image courtesy of Brad Redfern Photography
Sydney University has improved to a perfect 5-0, getting the better of a plucky Canberra Demons side by 20 points at Blacktown on Saturday.
After a slow start from both sides in wet conditions, the Students made the third quarter their own, kicking five goals to two on their way to a 12.10 (82) to 9.8 (62) victory.
Wet weather and an earlier game made conditions on the day less than ideal, with only one behind registered on the scoreboard through the first 10 minutes of the match.
The opening quarter ended with neither side asserting themselves on the game as the Students led by four points at the first break.
Generating opportunities became easier in the second as the game opened up, but goal kicking certainly did not, both sides heading into the long break having missed multiple chances.
Craig Bird (15 disposals, 7 clearances) and Adam Gulden (13 disposals, three rebound 50s) stood out at the main change, but had little effect on the scoreboard with the Students leading by two points.
As the sun made an appearance early in the second half, so did Sydney Uni, kicking away to a 21-point advantage with Sam Fong popping up with two goals.
It looked unlikely the eight-point margin of the two side’s Round 1 encounter would be replicated as Sydney University increased their margin to 33 halfway through the last.
The home team encountered some late pressure, but it was not enough with the Students proving too classy in the end.
The tightly contested encounter saw plenty of ball-winners. Sydney University registered six above 20 disposals, while Fong and Jacob Derickx had four and three goals respectively.
For the Demons, Rising Star nominees Mitch Maguire and Mitch Hardie shone, amassing 27 and 25 disposals each, with the team sharing the load on goal with seven individual goal kickers.
After the game, Students coach, Tom Morrison, noted his happiness with his team’s response to a first half challenge.
“(Our performance) was disappointing when you look at it from a four-quarter perspective,” he told neafl.com.au.
“In saying that, we responded really well in the third quarter after I challenged the boys, so that’s something I’m happy with.
“We’ve been really good at responding in games when we haven’t had the game on our terms.
“In every game we’ve had to respond, and our third quarter was really good, had we taken a few more opportunities on goal, it might have been game over at that point in time.
“Canberra was really impressive with their and their effort, so hats off to them.”
Demons player-coach, Kade Klemke, shared both his disappointment and optimism post-game, discussing the challenges for his team.
“We were really disappointed with our third quarter, our boys didn’t handle the pressure Sydney Uni brought, they really hurt us down the middle, and we made some costly mistakes as well,” he said.
“I think our defense was really good, but I think our midfield was where we lost it. In that third quarter, they were winning both centre clearances and stoppages, their run was coming through.
“We weren’t smart going forward. The struggle for us is consistency. We played patches.
“I think our boys got a little bit lazy for 15 minutes and switched off, it was just 15 minutes of footy that really hurt us.
“We thought we were a red hot chance today.”
Sydney University will aim to kepe their undefeated record in tact in a blockbuster encounter with Aspley in Brisbane next week, while Canberra returns home to host the GIANTS.
Sydney University v Canberra at Blacktown International Sportspark
SYDNEY UNI 2.1 3.7 8.9 12.10 (82)
CANBERRA 1.3 3.5 5.6 9.8 (62)
GOALS – Sydney Uni: S Fong 4 J Derickx 3 M Wilson 2 J Hiscox T Young N Reinhard. Canberra: A Swan 2 J Powell 2 J Turner J Nunn H Carr L Meline M Hardie.
BEST – Sydney Uni: A Gulden S Fong C Bird R Hebron J Derickx M Wilson. Canberra: J Nunn M Hardie L Meline A Baker M Maguire.