UNSW/ES AFL Mid Season Review: How is your team faring?

With three months of football complete, we take a look at how all our teams are performing in the lead up to the Sydney AFL finals series.

Premier Division – Bulldogs

Our men’s Premier Division side has become the team to watch in 2017, with the playing squad forming a tight knit group under the guidance of Player / Coach Steven Pollock.

With only two losses this season against top of the table Sydney Uni and a lacklustre performance against the Western Suburbs Magpies, the young team has its eyes firmly set on a finals berth.

The turnaround on last season’s form has been driven by some exciting talent rising through the ranks, with teenagers Justin Cann, Jack Buckley, Darcy Cordell and Max Lower regularly dominating in the red, white and blue.

Co-captains Jack Mcanespie and Jeremy Daniher’s consistency has also helped the team pull through in some close contests and their experience will be instrumental in the back end of the season.

Ladder position Second | Wins 8 | Loss 2 | For 930 | Against 716 | Percentage 130%

Times in best: Justin Cann (6), Jack Buckley (5), Darcy Cordell (5)

Top three goal scorers:  Justin Cann (14), Michael Thompson (13), Jack Buckley (12)

Games to watch:

  • Sunday 9 July – 2:30pm @ Henson Park sees a top of the table match-up against SUANFC
  • Saturday 15 July – 2:30pm @ Henson Park sees the Eagles looking to avenge their two point loss in Round One

Premier Division – Stingrays*

The Stingrays Premier Division team is sitting comfortably in second position on the ladder, with only one loss recorded from the opening eleven rounds. A defeat against arch rival Sydney Uni has been the only blemish on their record, with a goal in the last 20 seconds giving them the win in the 2016 Grand Final rematch.

Coach Tracey Kick says the team has had several outstanding performances that were testament to the depth of the squad.

“We’ve had 54 individual players who have stepped up in Premier Division this year and watching the development of our young Stingrays has been a highlight of the season”

The roster will now look to be consolidated in the lead up to finals, with Kick indicating the introduction of new structures and consistent on-field combinations will be paramount to success.

Ladder position second | Wins 10 | Loss 1 | For 1057 | Against 120 | Percentage 880%

Times in best: Rebecca Beeson (8), Phoebe Monahan (7), Jasmine Smith (7)

Top three goal scorers:  Rebecca Beeson (30), Sera Kaukiono (23), Belinda Pride (14)

Games to watch:

  • Saturday 15 July – 12:30pm @ Trumper Park sees a top of the table clash v Sydney University

Division Two – Bulldogs

The Division Two Bulldogs have suffered only one loss in their opening twelve rounds, recording a 21 point defeat against table toppers, the North Shore Bombers.

With an average winning margin of ten goals against other opposition, the Dogs are looking in strong form in the lead up the final series.

A fluctuating player list has seen 53 players line up for the Division Two team in the season thus far, with the depth of the squad evident when noting 37 have notched up a mention in the team’s best.

Tom Williamson has led up front in his role as Player / Coach, but it’s the form of Jack and Cameron Mckinlay, Ben Hyndes and Luke Irvine that has solidified their second place ladder position.

Ladder position second | Wins 11 | Loss 1 | For 1223| Against 542 | Percentage 225%

Times in best: Jack Mckinlay (7), Cameron Mckinlay (5), Luke Irvine (4)

Top three goal scorers:  Tom Williamson (27), Jack Mckinlay (13), Harold Sleigh (13)

Games to watch:

  • Saturday 15 July – 12:30pm @ Henson Park against the Eagles, with another close contest expected
  • Sunday 20 August – 4:45pm @ Henson Park in the top of the table clash against North Shore

Division Four – Bulldogs

Sitting only one win away from the top four, and with a good run of matches through July and August, our Division Four team is still a strong chance to make finals in season 2017.

Under the tutelage of long-standing coach, Dennis Rider, the Dogs recorded a much needed win against UTS in Round 11 to keep them in the hunt. Rider was delighted by the team’s pressure against their arch rivals, indicating that “in years gone by we would have fallen away, but in this game we rose to the challenge and won the arm wrestle”.

With a strong percentage courtesy of Lachlan Simpson’s 35 goals up front and an experienced back line holding out the opposition, the team has looked consistently threatening when the whole team has been firing.

The team has celebrated milestone matches for Chris Peters, Josh Martin, Chook Mcilwrath Jake Reid, Mark Cullen and captain Adam Martin this season alone, with the much loved team men racking up an incredible 500 games between them.

Ladder position Sixth | Wins 6 | Loss 5 | For 850 | Against 635 | Percentage 134%

Times in best: Timothy O’Donnell (5), Christien Reid (5), Timothy De Niese (4), James Nash (4)

Top three goal scorers:  Lachlan Simpson (35), Mark Cullen (17), Christien Reid (13)

Games to watch:

  • Sunday 6 August – 12:30pm @ Henson Park looking to avenge their one goal loss against Pennant Hills earlier in the season
  • Sunday 20 August – 10:00am @ Henson Park against the UTS Bats in a match that could decide both team’s finals fate

Division Five – Bulldogs

Our Division Five team made it through to the Grand Final in 2015 and 2016, and have been hit hard by the competition in the season to date.

With a number of the players lured to higher divisions, they’ve remained in finals contention thanks to the consistent efforts of club journey men Mick Martin, Daran Mahenthirarajah and Aaron Bantoft.

Upfront they’ll be looking to John Hook to fire up in the second half of the season, with the big man sitting on 11 goals from 6 games, a far cry from his 42 and 47 in years past.

They only sit one win out of the top four and will need to kick straight in weeks to come to lift their percentage if they want to secure another finals berth.

Ladder position seventh | Wins 6 | Loss 5 | For 592 | Against 636 | Percentage 93%

Times in best: Mick Martin (5), Timothy O’Donnell (4), Daran Mahenthirarajah (4), Aaron Bantoft (4)

Top three goal scorers: John Hook (11), Tom Dunkley (8), Troy Nicoll (7), Nathan Radford (7)

Games to watch:

  • Saturday 15 July – 8:30am @ Henson Park in a must win game against Campbelltown Blues
  • Sunday 6 August – 2:30pm @ Henson Park against UTS Bats who sit one win below on the ladder

Under 19s – Bulldogs

Our Under 19s team are blessed with some extraordinary talent, with many of our best now playing in Premier Division for the club or for their respective Academies of a weekend. Whilst this creates a slightly unstable team list week in, week out, it has allowed Coaches Steven Chichester and Kevin Dyson to blood a good number of juniors from local clubs Easts and Maroubra.

The team has developed an enjoyable and exciting brand of football, evident by their third position on the ladder, and big things are expected as they consolidate their playing numbers and concentrate on their structures and team roles over the next six weeks.

Their turning point of the season came with a win over the previously undefeated St George in Round Ten, which has given the team belief that they are good enough to contest finals.

Watch this space to see if the boys can go one up on their Grand Final performance in 2016.

Ladder position third | Wins 6 | Loss 5 | For 668 | Against 546 | Percentage 122%

Times in best: Harry Lewis (8), Luke Leon Johnson (6), Finn Robbins (4)

Top three goal scorers:  Harry Lewis (16), Liam Hoy (10), Johnny Pawle (8)

Games to watch:

  • Saturday 29 July – 10:30am @ Mike Kenny Oval sees the squad looking to avenge their Round 11 loss against Pennant Hills
  • Sunday 6 August – 10:30am @ Henson Park sees the boys take on top of the table North Shore Bombers in what should be an engaging contest

Division One – Stingrays

Our Division One Stingrays have seen some mixed results on the scoreboard in 2017, but every game has shown they’re a team of fighters and believers.

With a number of players in their first season of AFL, the tenacity and camaraderie are evident as they take on teams blessed with more experienced playing squads.

They are still a chance for their first appearance in Sydney AFL finals series, and are looking for a few big performances in weeks to come to make this a reality.

Their win against the previously undefeated North Shore Bombers showed us they’re capable of a big upset, and that focusing on their own game is key to their success.

2016 Rising Star nominee, Madi Moar, has proven one to watch again in 2017, and has been ably supported by her new teammates Tamita Blanco, Eddie Ross, Koozee Huybers and Sarah Langdon.

Ladder position ninth | Wins 4 | Loss 7 | For 323 | Against 344 | Percentage 94%

Times in best: Madi Moar (5), Sarah Langdon (4)

Top three goal scorers:  Rachelle Godman (7), Eddie Ross (4)

Games to watch:

  • Saturday 8 July – 10:00am @ Mahoney Park sees the Wollondilly Knights match up, a must win for the girls to make finals
  • Saturday 15 July – 2:30pm @ Trumper Park sees the girls take on Sydney Uni in what is shaping up to be a season defining game


*As the writer of this article plays for the Premier Division Stingrays team, no individuals have been singled out for their success or contribution for fear of cries of favouritism and / or enforced ego management. 

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