By CAMERON SMITH
It was third time lucky for the Canberra Demons who have broken their hoodoo against Sydney University by 19 points in a fiercely contested match at UNSW Canberra Oval.
The Demons ran away with it in the last quarter to win 13.14 (92) to 10.13 (73), jumping to equal second on the Tribal Sport NEAFL ladder whilst earning their first ever victory over the Students in the process.
Canberra coach Klade Kemke was excited for the club to beat the Students for the first time as well as win their sixth on the trot.
“It was really pleasing and exciting to knock them off for the first time and to continue our run,” he told neafl.com.au.
Canberra had a lot of opportunities in the opening term but were unable to capitalise, whereas the Students were.
The Students were also aided by some ill-discipline from the Demons to kick three goals in a row and form a decent gap between the two sides.
Canberra kicked one late in the first quarter and took that momentum into the second, kicking two goals in the first five minutes to even the score.
The Demons kicked another two goals later in the second to win the quarter four goals to none, and take a 13-point lead into half-time.
The Demons kicked their sixth goal in a row, three minutes into the third before the Students finally responded through Nick Foster.
The Students then kicked four goals in a row and hit the lead halfway through the quarter before the Demons stemmed the flow late in the term and levelled the scores going into the last.
Canberra, like they did in the second, dominated with the slight breeze in the fourth, to win their sixth match in a row and establish themselves as real contenders in 2018.
Klemke said he was impressed with the maturity of his group after some ill-discipline in the first quarter.
“The first quarter was really disappointing. We gave some free kicks away, Uni came out hard, and we let them get into our heads,” he said.
“The positive out of it though, is that we finally got our heads in the game and started to play the footy we can.”
Unusually, it was the first time for Canberra this season that the possession statistics did not correlate with the result, with the Students having 49 more disposals.
“It was definitely a first for us. Sydney Uni are very good at controlling the footy, and we were probably lucky at times,” Klemke said.
“We had a focus this week it to stop them from having control, and at times we let them get away with it.”
Alex Smout (31 disposals, six clearances) and Isaac Taylor (31 disposals, 12 clearances, eight inside 50s) were both terrific for the Demons, and Aaron Bruce was good up forward with three goals.
But for Canberra, it was all about doing the job to get that elusive win over the Students.
“The good thing about our team is that everyone is playing their role,” Klemke said.
“You can say the backs are doing great, but our forward pressure was fantastic. Like Tommy Faul’s two-run down tackles which caused goals demonstrates what we are about.”
It will not be a fun trip back to Sydney for the Students who have now lost four of their last five games.
Jake Bartholomaeus (27 disposals), Sam Tagliabue in the ruck and Jack Hiscox (17 disposals and two goals) played well for the Students, but in the end they couldn’t get over the line.
Next week will be a huge game for the Students at Blacktown when they take on the Brisbane Lions. The Demons will remain in Canberra to play Redland at home.
Canberra Demons v Sydney University at UNSW Canberra Oval
CANBERRA 2.5 6.8 8.10 13.14 (92) SYDNEY UNI 4.4 4.7 8.10 10.13 (73)
GOALS – Canberra: A Bruce 3 T Faul 2 S Tonkes 2 J Turner N Richards B Fulford J Powell I Taylor C Milne. Sydney Uni: N Foster 2 T Young 2 J Hiscox 2 J Dimery S Fong M Thompson N Reinhard.
BEST – Canberra: J Powell I Taylor A Bruce J Osborne A Paech A Smout. Sydney Uni: M Krochmal J Bartholomaeus L Stevenson J Marsh A Gulden N Foster.