By JESS WEBSTER
Sydney University midfielder Craig Bird re-wrote the history books as the Students proved too good for Canberra by 47 points at Blacktown on Saturday.
The former Sydney and Essendon midfielder amassed an incredible 20 clearances in the 17.19 (121) to 11.8 (74) victory, beating the previous record of 17 by Southport’s Jordan Keras and Ainslie’s Aaron van den Berg.
Bird was undoubtedly one of Sydney Uni’s best as they booted four goals to one in the final term to eventually break a plucky Demons outfit.
The Students were on the front foot early to establish a 15-point quarter-time lead, which grew slightly to 22 points at half-time.
Canberra made a run for it in the third, at one stage cutting the margin to just 12 points when Reed Stevens produced a Goal of the Year contender from deep in the pocket.
Stevens, playing his first match of the season after a serious shoulder injury, shrugged off a tackler as he spun towards the boundary, before throwing the ball on his boot and guiding it home along the goal face.
The Demons kicked six goals to five in a high-scoring quarter to be within 20 points at the last change.
But Sydney University dampened the fire early, kicking two early goals to push the margin to 31, and were never threatened thereafter.
Bird collected 38 disposals and 10 inside 50s along with his 20 of his side’s 57 clearances for the match.
Will Sierakowksi was also hard to stop in his newfound attacking role this season, finishing with 31 disposals, nine clearances, 12 inside 50s (two shy of the all-time record) and a goal.
Tom Faul booted five goals to be a focal point in Canberra’s attacking 50. Rising Star nominee Angus Baker had a terrific game with 30 disposals, whilst Mitch Maguire collected 20 plus six clearances.
Canberra has now lost three games in a row after an eight-match winning streak put them on top of the ladder. The Demons are safely in the top six, but could drop to sixth if they cannot beat Aspley at home next week.
Sydney University, sitting fourth on percentage, continues its quest for a home Preliminary Final against NT Thunder at Blacktown in the final round.
Sydney University v Canberra Demons at BISP
SYDNEY UNI 4.4 7.8 12.13 17.19 (121) CANBERRA 2.1 4.4 10.5 11.8 (74)
GOALS – Sydney Uni: T Davies 3 J Derickx 3 J Potter 2 N Reinhard 2 N Foster W Sierakowski T Young J Hiscox S Tagliabue J Bartholomaeus A Gulden. Canberra: T Faul 5 J Powell 2 N Oakes H Carr R Stevens A Bruce.
BEST – Sydney Uni: C Bird W Sierakowski S Tagliabue A Gulden T Davies D Bonney. Canberra: T Faul M Maguire A Bruce A Paech A Baker S Martyn.