2012 NWPL: Sydney University 6 : 12 Wests
March 12, 2012 Leave a comment
Joel Dennerley set the tone for the match by saving two 5-meter penalty shots in the first quarter. Sydney Uni also had an extra-man opportunity that was well developed but a poor quality shot was again saved by the Wests’ keeper. Throughout the rest of the match Joel made a number of saves some of which were first class.
Wests won the first quarter 5:0 and the Sydney University camp looked clearly despondent. After the second period the score was 8:2 and 2 minutes into the third part it became 10:2. At that stage the game was virtually over.
The Magpies outplayed their counterparts in all facets: they were faster, stronger and more skilful technically and tactically. They scored 6 goals after clinically implemented counter-attacks and 2 more counter-attack related goals when Sydney University players were too slow to set a perimeter defence. The Wests’ other 4 goals were the result of extra-man opportunities’ conversion – 4 from 5 (80%).
Richie Campbell and Joel Dennerley were Wests’ best players over the last two days. Their quality performances make them strong contenders for the League’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ title. Campbell along with the 2008 Grand-Final MVP, Stephen Cody, and Johnno Cotterill did a good job in the centre-back position enabling their team to play ‘pressing’ system in defence which was ‘suffocating’ for SU. The other Wests’ players were also strong links in the team’s overall good performance.
SU had its opportunities but Dennerley’s skills coupled with SU’s inadequate shooting prevented them from capitalizing on those chances during their set attacks and counter-attacks. There is a gap between Thomas Whalan and Trent Franklin on the one hand and the younger players of the SU team on the other in terms of overall skills. In every match so far, both veterans, playing without replacement, successfully performed leading roles trying to cover all bases despite being the main targets of the opposition’s efforts aimed at their neutralization. But often their efforts were not adequately supported by their team-mates who, in my opinion, need a prolonged period of intensive drilling that the Wests’ players had when they were younger.
Sydney University remains in the contest for the top 6 position in the regular season whilst Wests will be trying to win both the minor Premiership and Grand-Final of the National League.
5 meter penalty: SU – 2/0, Wests – 0
Referees: Adam Richardson and Meagan Varlow