NEAFL ROUND 9
Saturday, June 1, 2019 Canberra Demons (6th) v Sydney University (4th) Phillip Oval, 12pm
By Mitch Terpstra (NEAFL)
An intriguing clash awaits us at Phillip Oval on Saturday as Canberra hosts Sydney Uni in an important top-six battle.
Both of these youthful teams occupy the middle of the ladder, as Sydney University have been re-invigorated with young talent that sees them with a 3-3 record. The Demons were favoured to be one of the title contenders coming into 2019 and have been caught on the wrong end of some close games that sees them with three wins and four losses.
Both teams will be confident heading into the match as this game will have massive ramifications towards the final standings and fixtures come finals time. This game will mean an eight-point swing for either side, as the winner will go a game clear of the other on the ladder. Sydney University have a chance to get closer to the contenders of the competition, meanwhile Canberra will be looking to get back to themselves back on track.
2019, Round 4: Canberra Demons 10.5 (65) defeated Sydney University 8.12 (60) at Henson Park. 2018, Elimination Final: Canberra Demons 15.13 (103) defeated Sydney University 14.10 (94) at Blacktown. 2018, Round 20: Sydney University 17.19 (121) defeated Canberra Demons 11.8 (74) at Blacktown.
1. The last time these two sides played was back in round four and it was an absolute thriller. Canberra was able to hold out the Students, with the help of last week’s Rising Star nominee Rhys Pollock kicking a late snap to ice the game.
2. This game will likely end in a close finish which a situation the Demons have found themselves in a few times already during the 2019 season. The Demons have come out on top of two close games against the SUNS and Sydney University, while also losing to Southport and the GIANTS by a combined 20 points.
3. This match will mean a lot to the Canberra Demons as veteran and club captain Aaron Bruce will play his 150th NEAFL match this weekend. Bruce will be just the fourth ever player to reach the milestone, behind NT pair Cameron Ilett and Darren Ewing, and Aspley’s Reece Toye.
There is young talent galore on Saturday, but one player in particular to look out for is Sydney University defender, Michael Carroll. The former Swans Academy member is building nicely so far this season, and will play a key role this week, particularly in the absence of star Tim Barton.
STATS THAT MATTER
Heading into this match both teams are averaging 50 inside 50s per game. While Sydney University has been more efficient when going inside 50, Canberra has a better scoring accuracy percentage. The team that has a more efficient forward-line and is able to capitalise on those chances in the forward 50 will dictate the result of this game.