2012 NWPL: Sydney University 7 : 10 Melbourne

Sydney University played better than in the previous game. Up until the middle of the fourth period the outcome was not clear. Rob Maitland’s presence added another dimension and made a positive difference to the team’s perfromance. Along with his experienced team-mates, Franklin and Whalan, he was useful in alleviating dangerous situation defensively as well as setting and scoring some spectacular goals.

However, when the score was 4:3, the Lions had 2 clear chances to extend their lead but Maitland and Cargill’s shots hit the cross-bar. There is a rule of thumb: ‘If you do not score your 100% opportunity, you are going to get it at the other end’. And that is what happened – Melbourne punished SU by scoring their opportunities.

Both team’s extra-man conversion was low; SU – 2 from 7 (29%) and Melbourne – 2 from 6 (33%). The Tigers were also awarded 2 penalties, one of which they received at the last second controversially when the outcome of the match had already been decided.

In the end, Melbourne won due to powerful outside shooting by Sam McGregor and Englishman, Scott Carpenter. However, the Lions helped them through goalkeeping errors coupled with field players’ poor blocking technique. At least 3 shots came from a distance of 7-8 meters and they were the main reason as to why the Lions lost the match.

Whilst both keepers made a number of good saves, Carl Zvekan was more reliable than his counterpart. That was another significant factor that impacted upon the final result.

Refereeing was again an issue. In my opinion, interpretations of many situations were not reflective of what actually occurred. But that was only part of the problem. Another was lack of consistency and I could understand the negative reaction of coaches and players who were complaining, obviously in vain.

X-man: SU – 7/2 (29%); Melbourne – 6/2 (33%)
Penalty: SU – 0; Melbourne – 2/2

Referees: Daniel Bartels and Chris Hook


As a general observation, whilst the level of individual and collective skills that many teams are displaying has significantly improved in recent years mainly due to better, more professional coaching, that development is not being supported by adequate improvement in the level of refereeing. I have been observing several matches in recent weeks and can confirm that there are good reasons for coaches’ unhappiness that has been expressed not only through their body language but also through robust outbursts during the matches for which some have been receiving yellow and red cards. Many have also expressed their opinion in the after-match comments.

Balmain’s coach, Phillip Bower, has recently made a reasonable and relevant comment (see the ‘2012 National League: Balmain (5) 9:7 (5) Drummoyne’ post). He also posed a correct question: “Who are referees answerable to?”

For that matter, the situation with refereeing  is much worse on a junior level since the young players often receive incompetent judgement as to what is right and what is wrong during their formative years. That negatively affects their skills’ development. They acquire the wrong habits which are difficult to change when they become adults. As the result, Australian players are not as skilful as they should be which in turn affects the country’s international performance.

Coaches and players work hard and make a lot of sacrifices. They deserve to be treated with respect and are entitled to receive competent refereeing.

Melbourne’s next two matches are against the Wests Magpies. These two teams and the Brisbane Barracudas are the main favourites to win the National League’s regular season and the Grand-Final. If Magpies come on top in both matches, they are likely to repeat their 2007 success when the team won the minor Premiership. It will be an interesting week-end.

About Erkin Эркин Shagaev Шагаев
European, world, Olympic champion, two times World Cup winner Чемпион Европы, мира, Олимпийских игр, двукратный обладатель Кубка мира

4 Responses to 2012 NWPL: Sydney University 7 : 10 Melbourne

  1. Maurice Eames says:

    Great game summary keep them coming.

    Thanks Erkin it is very interesting reading your game reports it helps to stay in touch with how other teams are performing.


  2. Jeff Barrow says:

    Whilst a lot of people may not agree, your comments on refereeing is terrific to see. We need the referees to not only be good, but also to enjoy their contribution to the game. The biggest issues in my view are consistency, interpretation of the CF/ CB contest, defending the driver, staying in touch with the rules and interpretations of the game, and practice. I really doubt many actually practice!

    The game is referred for the CF and does not allow a fair contest for the CB.

    Skill level of players to defend a driver is not appreciated. Players today have amazing skills and practice 10 -20 hrs per week depending on the level of eliteness. All NL players are skilful.

    We in Australia should follow Europe in interpretations and not attempt to develop our own style. Fortunately or unfortunately it is a heavy game with a high degree of physicality at the elite level. Fortuantely the players respect each other and play accordingly.

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