Graham Croker and Brett Pettersen
Sydney University clinched the Sydney AFL Premier Division minor premiership for the second time in the club’s history with a dominant display in the final round of the competition proper – a 93-point win over St George at Olds Park on Saturday.
Captain Mark Egan took his season tally to 62 with a four-goal haul in Sydney University’s 15.15 (117) to 3.6 (24) romp.
The Students finished the competition on 64 points, to edge out Western Suburbs (60) for the minor premiership. They also finished with their best ever home-and-away record of 16-2, including 14 straight wins at the end of the season.
East Coast Eagles (52), North Shore (48) and Pennant Hills (40) make up the top five. Western Suburbs will meet East Coast Eagles in the qualifying final on Saturday, while North Shore and Pennant Hills will fight out the elimination final on Sunday.
Sydney University will play in the major semi final at Bruce Purser Reserve, Rooty Hill, on Saturday, September 4 after a week off.
Despite their domination of the Premier Division, Sydney University finished third on the Club Championship ladder which was headed by UTS – for the third year in a row – ahead of Western Suburbs. The Club Championship award is presented to the club with the best on-field performance across their top three teams in any division – with six points awarded for each Senior team win; four points for each Reserves team win; and two points for each Under 18’s/Thirds team win.
The Students will be shooting for their first senior flag since 1992 when Ron Carter and Brett Scott led the First Grade to a premiership and the Club of the Year award. The Students finished the 1992 season with a 14-3 record and the minor premiership before accounting for North Shore 18.16 (124) to 8.11 (59) in the Grand Final.
The club’s inaugural First Grade premiership was in 1969 when Rodney Tubbs captain-coached First Grade to a NSW AFL title with a win over St George after they had disposed of Newtown and Western Suburbs in the minor semi-final and the final.
St George were never really in the hunt on Saturday, despite University being wasteful in front of goal early in the match – allowing the Saints to keep within 11 points at the first change of ends.
A strong breeze across the ground made conditions very difficult throughout, however the Students were able to defeat their opponents throughout the match, conceding little and piling on six goals in the middle stanza to end the contest.
Egan’s four goals took him to third on the league’s goal-kicking ladder. Richard Burrows, Benjamin Mankarious, Adam McConnochie and Tim Barton were also solid contributors.
The Club’s Reserve Grade and Under 18 teams will also play finals football after both finished third in their respective competitions.
The Colts, in particular, have performed extremely well after moving up to the Premier Cup competition following their win in the second tier Under 18 competition last season. Both teams are well placed to make successful assaults on the flag which begins with qualifying finals next week at Blacktown Olympic Park.
Unfortunately the club’s Third Grade side was over-taken for the final spot in the Division Two competition after losing to Holroyd-Parramatta in a hard-fought match at Goanna Park.
Three out of six grades in the finals augurs well for the club which has only been elevated back to the top competition in recent years and has been expanding to cater for open age teams in every division – the only club in Sydney to do so.
Sydney Premier Division – Round 18
Premier Division: Sydney University 15.15: 117 (Mark Egan 4, Sam Crichton 3, Adam McConnochie 2, Alexander Lee 2, Andrew Kraefft 2, Anton Turco , Jess McGuirk, Nick Perry, Tom Elkington) d St George 3.6: 18 (Damian Pratt, David Ryan, Nathan Smith) at Olds Park.
Best players: Sydney University: Richard Burrows, Adam McConnochie, Tim. Barton, Benjamin Mankarious, Jordan McIntyre, Sam Sloane.
St George: Daniel Napper, Declan Donohue, Stephen Wilsen, Michael Holmes, Andrew Tarasuik, Jonathan Shineberg.
Division One: Macquarie University 8.9: 57 (Scott Cations 3, Nathan Sullivan , Andrew Polkinghorne , Brett Harland , James Coburn , Joshua Murphy) d Sydney University 3.13: 31 (Leigh McWhirter , Nick Lye , Sebastian Wende) at Macquarie University Oval.
Division Two: Holroyd-Parramatta 8.4: 52 (Luke Mansbridge 2, Troy Balzan 2, Mark Hill, Tony Mance, Luke Walsh, Shaun Costello) d Sydney University 5.13: 43 (Mark Horsley 2, Roland Wood 2, Brendan Rankine) at Gipps Rd Oval.
Division Three: Sydney University 20.11: 131 (Christopher Perkins 10, Timothy Lewis 5, Roland Barnes, Alex Shain, Thomas Wallage, Stuart Wright, Alex Crowe) d Holroyd-Parramatta 1.2: 8 (R Woods).
Division Four: Macquarie University Warriors 13.10: 88 (Stephen Mann 4, Scott Uglow 3, Andrew Robertson 2, Rohan Pryor 2, Mathew Tharme, Nath Nevin) d Sydney University 6.6: 42 (Marcus Jones, Robert Fallon, Ewan Rankin, Stephen Beeson, Jonny Katz, Paul Oscar).
Under 18 Premier Cup
Sydney University 13.13: 91 (Thomas Aitken 3, Dean Knight 3, Todd Considine 3, Gabriel Robbie 2, Tim Barrett , Pat Francis) d St George 7.4: 46 (Alexander Brooks 3, Ben Sharp 2, Lloyd Perris, Lachlan Orr ).