07.04.08 – Nick Bailey

Sydney University kicked off their second season in the Sydney AFL Premier Division in style, notching up an impressive 63 point victory over last year’s wooden spooners Balmain Dockers at Henson Park on Saturday.

With the starting bounce at the unique time of 9am, the Uni-Balmain clash was the first match of a quintuple header on a blockbuster day of AFL in Newtown. All ten teams in the competition played their first round matches back to back in a mammoth feast of Aussie Rules not surprisingly dubbed “Super Saturday”.

Also super was Uni’s performance, with the Students sitting pretty at the top of the ladder after a perfect opening to the 2008 season, scoring 20.14-134 to Balmain’s 10.11-71.

Uni were quick out of the blocks, kicking six goals to two in the opening term to open up a handy 23 point quarter time lead. The Students then put the result beyond doubt in the second quarter, kicking six goals to take a 51 point lead into halftime.

Despite a tighter second half, in which Uni kicked eight goals to Balmain’s six, they were never troubled by the Dockers, who went winless throughout season 2007 and will have to wait at least another week for their maiden 2008 victory.

Christopher McLachlan and Alexander Lee on debut each kicked four goals for the Students, while Joel Carr and Mark Egan with three apiece were the other major goal kickers.

Returning captain Frank Punch was amongst the best on ground, with Alex Lee, Andrew Kraefft, and Mark Egan also putting in good performances.

Uni will look to improve on their efforts from last season, where they won five of their eighteen matches to finish 8th in the ten team competition.

Considering it was Sydney Uni’s first season in the Premier Division, the general post season consensus was that the rookie Students had acquitted themselves well in a high level competition. 2008 looks to be a year of continued development and improvement, as the side attempts to make a serious challenge for a finals berth.

Daniel Archer, who was last year’s Sydney AFL Premier Division Coach of the Year, said of Uni’s prospects for 2008: “We will be looking to continue our improvement from last year. Whilst we have been able to pick up some players we have also been able to bring in some experienced guys to compliment our list.”

Uni will be looking to make it two from two as they travel down the coast to take on the Wollongong Lions at North Dalton Park this Saturday. Finishing 9th with just three wins last season, Wollongong went down to Western Suburbs by 38 points in round one. The Sydney Uni reserves will be in action from 12pm, with the Premier Division opening bounce at 2:10pm.