By Charlie Goodsir (NEAFL Media)
Sydney University has snapped a three-game losing streak after holding on for a six-point victory against a fast finishing Gold Coast SUNS at Blacktown on Saturday.
The SUNS were down by 30 points at three-quarter time and nearly completed a remarkable comeback, but it was too little too late with the end score reading 11.15 (81) to 10.15 (75) to Sydney Uni.
Sydney University coach Tom Morrison was happy that his side won yet also knew that it wasn’t his team’s best outing.
“We nearly found a way to lose” he told neafl.com.au.
“We need to better than what we today… our theme for the year is continual improvement because we need to be a better side each and every week.”
Sydney Uni were arguably the better side in the first quarter by kicking the first two goals of the game with Jack Hiscox kicking a beautiful coast-to-coast goal for the Students.
However, two soft goals, both on the back of turnovers meant that the SUNS went into the first change with an unlikely one-point lead.
The second term played very similar to the first quarter. Both sides were using the ground to full advantage and played running and attacking footy. Players from the two teams were coming off the ground absolutely exhausted at regular intervals.
Sydney Uni got the important first goal of the second quarter through Jake Derickx after 13 minutes. Once again, the Students were dominating in all facets of the game but the SUNS were able to score against the run of play.
Brad Scheer scored after the half-time siren for the SUNS to cut down Uni’s lead to only one point at the main break.
Sydney Uni came out a completely different side after half-time and kicked 6.5 to the SUNS’ 1.6. The Students were gifted two easy goals inside the first three minutes of the quarter courtesy of a brain fade from SUNS defender Kwaby Boakye after he bumped Sydney Uni’s Sam Fong in direct sight of the umpire directly after Uni had scored.
That incident gave Sydney Uni the momentum they needed as they opened up the game and set up a commanding lead. Young ruckman Jonathon Marsh scored his first NEAFL goal in the third and shortly got his second after a brilliant bit of work in the pocket and close to the boundary by another young gun in Ned Reinhard.
The SUNS began the last quarter fantastically as they looked to pull off the unlikeliest of victories after an early goal. However, Scheer and Will Brodie missed a few shots right in front of goal that in the end proved to be costly.
Gold Coast kicked the final four goals of the game with three of them coming in the final nine minutes. Unfortunately, the SUNS’ five goal final quarter wasn’t enough to defeat Sydney Uni who ended a horror three-week period.
Zac O’Brien was a star for Sydney Uni all day with 33 disposals, 12 clearances, seven rebound 50’s, five inside-50’s, five tackles and two vital goals.
It was Sydney Uni’s young guns who really impressed. Jake Bartholomaues continues to go from strength-to-strength (25 disposals, six clearances, five inside-50’s and four tackles) and Jonathon Marsh had 12 touches, 14 hitouts and two goals.
Sam Barkley was a rock in defence for the Students and made a strong case for this week’s Tribal Sport NEAFL Rising star with 12 possessions, seven marks, three tackles and two rebound 50s and was rarely beaten in a contest.
“It was the youngest side we have had since I’ve been at the club” said Morrison. “A lot of them stepped up and played some really good football.”
After a disappointing outing last week, Brayden Crossley bounced back terrifically for the SUNS and put in a mammoth effort. Crossley ended the afternoon with 25 disposals, nine marks, five tackles, seven inside 50s, 40 hitouts, four clearances and 1.2.
Brodie (32 touches, 10 clearances, six tackles and two inside 50s), Jesse Lonergan (23 possessions, 10 clearances, seven inside 50s, two tackles and 0.2) were also good for the SUNS. Kade Kolodjashnij continued his strong return back from injury with 19 disposals, three inside 50s, one clearance and a tackle.
“He [Crossley] wasn’t too happy with his game last week” said SUNS coach Nick Malceski.
“He worked really hard during the week and it shows that when he puts in the work during the week it comes together on the day.”
The win wasn’t without a cost for Sydney Uni, with young player Cooper Lee suffering a broken hand midway through the second quarter.
Sydney Uni will have the week off next week whilst the SUNS will take on Redland next week.
“We keep our focus pretty simple and it’s all about team defence and we’ll try to nullify how they move the ball,” said Malceski.
Sydney University v Gold Coast Suns at Blacktown International Sports Park
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY 2.2 4.7 10.12 11.15 (81)
GOLD COAST 2.3 4.6 5.12 10.15 (75)
GOALS – Sydney Uni: J Derickx 3 Z O’Brien 2 J Marsh 2 J Hiscox S Fong N Reinhard J Potter Gold Coast Suns: E Baru 3 B Scheer 2 J Gore T Bowie R Gilmore J Heron
BEST – Sydney Uni: A Gulden S Tagliabue J Hiscox J Bartholomaeus Z O’Brien R Hebron. Gold Coast: B Crossley J Jaska W Brodie T Bowie T Lowah B Scheer.