NEAFL ROUND 18
By Chelsea Gibbs/NEAFL
Saturday, August 3, 2019 Sydney University (6th) v Canberra Demons (7th) Blacktown International Sportspark, 12pm
Sydney University and the Canberra Demons will be preparing for one of their hardest challenges in this year’s competition when they come head-to-head for a spot in the finals this Saturday.
With a top six ranking on the line it will be the most important game of the year for the two sides. They will not be shy of each other with already having met three times, with one draw and two wins to Canberra set to give the Demons a confidence boost.
But Sydney University has found some form, beating Aspley by seven points last week in an upset to put even more pressure on Canberra. The Demons simply must win to give themselves a shot of a second consecutive finals series.
We can expect nothing less than a physical and gruelling encounter when these two sides meet on Saturday. Bring it on!
Round 14, 2019: Canberra 15.13 (103) drew. Sydney 15.13 (103) at Phillip Oval Round 9, 2019: Canberra 13.10 (88) def. Sydney 8.16 (64) at Phillip Oval Round 4, 2019: Canberra 10.5 (65) def. Sydney 8.12 (60) at Henson Park
1. This week’s decider will be the most anticipated game of the 2019 season for both of these sides. Sitting in sixth (Sydney Uni) and seventh place (Canberra) on the NEAFL ladder, both teams are separated only by percentage but the Students have a game in hand with Canberra set to have the bye next week. Adding extra spice to this clash is only a few weeks ago they played in a dramatic draw at Phillip Oval. The next chapter in this growing rivalry is expected to go down to the wire once again.
2. Last week’s win against Aspley was something special for Sydney University. Out-muscled in nearly every key statistical area, the Students were more efficient going forward and opened the Hornets up on the rebound. Josh Stern was the star up forward with six goals. If they can replicate last week’s performance they’ll be hard to stop.
3. One of the foundations of Canberra’s success in 2019 has been the performances of its young stars. Currently with five NEAFL Rising Star nominees his season – headlined by star defender Angus Baker – it will be the biggest test for the Demons’ youthful line-up to see how they perform when their season is on the line.
Sydney University midfielder Bailey Stewart doesn’t mind playing against the Demons. A NEAFL Rising Star nominee this year, Stewart has averaged 24 disposals, 13 contested possessions, 5.3 clearances and nine tackles against Canberra in 2019.
STATS THAT MATTER
Canberra is at its best on the rebound, punishing teams who turn the ball over. The Demons are ranked second in the NEAFL behind Brisbane for scores from turnovers, kicking an average of 52 points per game from this source.