Winning women pioneer new Sutho pathway

ChampsBack, l-r, Christa Rogerson, Melissa Elkin, Jillian Wyatt, Paris Barnard, Kayla Edwards, Megan Harrison, Jana Dimitrovska, Amelia Domrow, Camille Rogerson, Sarah Dredge. Front, Hannah McClung, Ruth Sannes, Kristen Agius, Ashton Waters (with the team mascot, Wallace), Felicia Swift, Joanne Momsen, Grace Matthews, Zara Matthews.

Historic. That’s the only way to describe last Sunday when Sutho’s trailblazing  Sydney Women’s Hockey League team finished its inaugural year as major premiers, minor premiers and undefeated in 2020.

We got a late invitation to field a team in the top Sydney women’s comp, in 6th Division. With a massive push on and off the field, Sutho gathered a team of youngsters and more experienced players to begin the adventure. Many doubled up each weekend from their juniors and Arangas commitments.

Our SWHL team is crucial. For too many years, Sutho’s best young women players have left for SWHL teams because we did not have one. Now we do, and the pathway is there both for individual players’ and team advancement in the SWHL competition. Sutho’s abiding thanks go to everyone involved.

Junior grand finals

Before we get to the match report of this great milestone, Sutho hosted the Sydney East Hockey Association junior grand finals on Sunday.

President Kathy Calokerinos paid tribute to two Sutherland people for their contributions to hockey in 2020: one of our Women’s Convenors, Dr Jo Momsen, who has advised Sutho, local Associations and Hockey NSW on COVID-19 management requirements; and the extraordinarily tireless David Richardson, who is both Sutho’s Junior Convenor and SEHA’s Junior Competitions Secretary. Both are genuinely amazing people, and hockey owes them a significant debt.

Presentations were made by SEHA’s Junior Competition Director, Graeme Barnard.

Five Sutho teams played in the deciders and four won (wait for it).

Our U11B Blue Tongues started the day with a huge upset, beating the previously undefeated St George Randwick 6-1; our unbeaten  U11A Geckos squeezed home 1-0 in a tense game in which the two goalies were best on-field;  our U13B Thorny Devils defeated Bankstown/Sydney Uni 2-0 (but the Bankstown fans won the award for the most excited on grand final day); then…

There were two, but only one could win, when in U13As, Sutho Geckos – unbeaten all year – lined up against Sutho Blue Tongues. 2-2 at full time, drop-off golden goal time – and a spectacular backstick into the goal roof in the first 40 seconds. The Blue Tongues did it. And they nailed the last Battle of the Lizards Trophy match for the year. We were delighted to have Dennis McHugh, Chairman of Tradies, our wonderful sponsor, present it to the captains.

Like to watch the junior GFs again?:

In men’s Sydney League finals, our fourth-grade team went down 1-4 to Bankstown, while fifths live to fight another day after taking their sudden-death semi against Bentstix 2-1.

And, finally, finally, before we get into the good stuff, because Sutho cannot hold its traditional Schools Summer Comp this year because of COVID-19, we are instead offering junior players an eight weeks-long Sutho Hockey Academy. It gives players aged 8-17 access to specialised coaching on the primary skills of the game, with high player-to-coach ratios and skills practice in mini-games each week.

The Academy, proudly sponsored by Tradies, runs from Monday 19 October to Wednesday 7 December 2020.

Full details are at


Sydney Women’s Hockey League

Sutho 3 Ryde 1 Grand Final and PREMIERS

Thank you for the pictures to Anna Domrow

Grand Final day had arrived, and it was a perfect morning at Olympic Park.  Pitch 2 had been lucky for us all season, and it’s a great place to watch hockey.

We knew today’s game would be tough. Ryde is a strong club with five teams in the women’s league and has experience playing in grand finals. But let’s get one thing straight, to walk away without the trophy was not an option for our SWHL ladies.

Sutho was on a mission; it had already been a big (short) season: inaugural SWHL season, undefeated minor premiers, 34 point differential (9 the next best), and ML6 top goal scorer (Hannah McClung).

In short, we weren’t afraid of winning or scoring goals. However, as many would know, in a grand final, anything can happen.

It’s unreal to be part of a grand final, the nerves, the excitement; it’s what you work for all season.

It was great to have so many friends and family out supporting our SWHL team – we heard all of you in the stands. Team member, Mel was unfortunately denied eligibility to play in the finals series for SWHL but also came to cheer us on.

It was a traditional start to proceedings, the team announced one-by-one (a few left off the list) as they ran out onto the pitch, and with players and spectators at the ready, Sutho took the starting ball. Here we go!

It was a strong start, and our excellent passing game led us straight into the circle. The ball stayed at our goal scoring end, and it wasn’t long before we were awarded a short corner. Our game plan was being executed to perfection.

The first corner was a drag flick from Ash. The Ryde goalie made a great save, and it dropped in front of Kristen; she shot, hitting a defender’s foot on the line. Stroke awarded! True to her form this year, our captain Ash didn’t miss, so we went into the dugout at quarter-time leading 1-0.

The second quarter saw Ryde get some more attacking opportunities and our defenders – Jo, Fish, Zara, Kayla and Jana – scrambled well. We were under pressure; everyone had to step up if we wanted the title.

We kept Ryde scoreless, but we managed to again mount some attacking pressure. The Ryde goalkeeper made some great saves to keep us up by only 1.

Eventually, a well-deflected ball from Jo inside the 25 saw Hannah receive and hit the ball at the top of the circle to score our second.

Our third goal came from some well-executed passing and Hannah sneaking Paris’ would-be well earned first goal of the season on the line. The No.1 goal assister becomes the goal-scoring master; Hannah had finally upgraded, to Paris’ dismay, of course.

Ryde continued to trouble our defence and a lapse in composure saw them get one back.

The final whistle went and that was it. We had done it!! A 3-1 win over Ryde. What a historic moment in Sutherland Hockey Club’s Senior Women’s history to take out the ML6 title in our first season in SWHL, undefeated.

Mission accomplished.

In a bittersweet moment, our Captain, Ashton, said goodbye to four years at Sutherland Hockey Club. She is heading back home to NZ at the end of November.

The season cannot end without some final acknowledgements:

  • Ruth and Jo – who were this year’s Sutho Women’s Conveners. In a very unconventional first year in the role, they did a magnificent job
  • Christa Rogerson – our team’s manager who we hope to have back again next year (please!). Christa is our quiet achiever who familiarised herself with all the rules and procedures of the SWHL competition and did a fantastic job
  • The Domrow Family, Luke and Anna – thank you for your support of #suthowomens and the SWHL team this year. It is amazing to have such wonderful people in our corner off and on the field every week! Also, thanks, Anna, for being our unofficial team photographer, and
  • Sarah Dredge (Assistant to the Coach but much more than that). Our SWHL team couldn’t have won the title without Sarah’s time and effort. She supported not only our young team members to become more confident and skilful players, but also first-time coach, Kristen. She helped greatly with all of the behind the scenes goings-on; game plans, substitutions, training preparation – you name it, she helped and without hesitation.

See you again next year Sutho!


SEHA Junior Grand Finals

U11B Blue Tongues 6 St George Randwick 1

Hopefully, everyone has had a chance to watch the Vimeo of the U11b grand final but if you haven’t, here is the match report. And yes the U11b Blue Tongues did what seemed like an impossible task and that was beating the unbeaten!!!

The last extremely cold morning of early morning sport had arrived and finally, it was announced that we could have more than one spectator watching. This was great news, especially for those who had been relegated to watching most of their matches from a very safe and far distance away behind fence lines.

So it was really nice to have both mums and dads, brothers, sisters, friends and grandparents along to watch the highly anticipated grand final against a red-hot, older, more experienced and undefeated St George/Randwick team.

Play got underway and within two minutes, Jack slapped a ball straight through the centre towards the goalie, who kicked it straight onto Mila’s stick. She put it straight into the back of the goal and that was it, we were up 1-0.

STGR came back strongly. They had a number of short corners but our defence held them off extremely well with Lincoln reading the play and clearing the ball wide, sometimes finding a St GR foot on the way through. About 6 minutes in there, was another great ball by Jack finding Mila in the space on the right and she travelled into the circle, taking it on and getting her second goal of the match.

ST GR was still in the game but the ball was up and down the field by both sides. Ethan and Audrey had some good combinations with the ball going wide of the goal on numerous occasions and putting lots of pressure of the ST GR defence. Grace and Alex both had tremendous games doing exactly what the coach asked of them.

Grace got the third goal of the game from a short corner. She pushed the ball out to Mila, then ran in on the baseline to be perfectly positioned on the left post and tap the ball into the goal. This was straight out of the hockey textbook.

The fourth goal came by Jack backing himself, penetrating the circle and having a go and slapping the ball straight past the goalie.  We went to the half time break 4-0.

The second half saw the intensity lifting and ST GR had a few great opportunities to score but these attempts were blocked by Caiden in goals this week.

Special mention to Caiden whose turn it was to be in goals this week. She took the initiative to take the goalie kit home and practice daily to give her the best possible preparation – as she had never played goalie before. This extra work paid off and she held off some fairly strong ST GR attack with the help of Lincoln, Alex and Sophie clearing the ball out of the circle and putting us back on the attack.

As the game was playing out, there was a bit of scramble hockey being played which resulted in the BT’s winning a short corner. Audrey pushed the ball out to Grace, who slipped the ball to Ethan who used his skill and strength and by fighting hard found the back of the net.

Ethan also got the sixth goal of the game through a great run by Audrey down the left transferring to Mila, then to Ethan who found the back of the net.  In the dying minutes of the game, ST GR took a very quick ball which was pounced on by a very highly-placed forward who took a shot on goal and got it in. The final whistle blew and it was game over; the score was 6-1 to the Blue Tongues.

The Blue Tongues had won and had learnt another valuable lesson in hockey and that is the unbeaten can be beaten.

Special mention to Lincoln Sharwood who was named Player of the Match. Well deserved, mate, not just in this game but every game you played. Your defence greatly contributed to the team’s performance.

Congratulations to all the players who played their hearts out each and every game to win their way to the grand final. Congratulations to Brian, stepping into the position of coach and doing a fantastic job. The kids learnt al ot and we are all very grateful to have you lead the team.  And finally thanks to all at the Sutho club and at SEHA who did so much work to get these kids onto the field this (crazy, COVID) year. These kids will move on in their hockey career but they will never forget winning their first grand final.

U11a Geckos 1 v UNSW U11a 0 – Thank you for your pictures once again, Rory Staples

Our team faced a strong UNSW u11a for the second week in a row, which was quite helpful by giving a good feel for how the opposition played.

As expected, the game was extremely tight. Our team, however, seemed to have the majority of control of the game but couldn’t seem to put our goal shot chances away.

In the second half, the game opened up a bit and we managed to sneak a goal that was well scored by Rowan. We had quite a few short corners and shots but the opposition keeper was having a brilliant game.

Thankfully we held on to the lead after a last-minute brilliant save from our goalkeeper Ryan.

We had some very specific roles given to our players for the game and I was pleased to see the team carry out the instructions and perform well under more pressure.

All of our players were outstanding and as their coach, I couldn’t have been happier to see a great bunch of kids go through the season undefeated.

Some Thank Yous:  The parents/carers of the kids for shuttling them to training and games each week, Greg Robertson our fantastic manager, Ruth Sannes for helping out at training and David Richardson for organising our junior teams seamlessly through the season.

Team awards for the season: Best and Fairest – Nick Staples, Coach’s Award – Ryan Apte, Most Improved – Thomas Mulcair. The Grand Final really was the culmination of the team’s hard work and dedication throughout the season.

U13B Sutho Thorny Devils 2 Bankstown/ Sydney University 0

The Grand Final really was the culmination of the team’s hard work and dedication throughout the season.

Every player in the team brought their A-game against this season’s toughest opponent, Bankstown/Sydney University.   This is the third year many players have faced Bankstown in the GF and they knew to expect a hard, close game.

There were some nerves early on,  but soon the Thorny Devils settled down and played some sensational hockey.  Many people played in different positions for this game.  Mackenzie moved to the forward line to toughen up our press.  Kaylee, Emily and Lachlan all swapped through a sweeper role to shut down the opposition’s impressive midfield.

The twins, Eli and Bethany, played as our wide midfielders and relished the wide-open sidelines.  Sarah moved into a defensive role to provide some speed to cover Bankstown/Syd Uni’s pocket-rocket strikers.  Luka stepped out of midfield to play as keeper and kept a clean sheet!

Early in the second quarter, Bethany made a great tackle on our defensive quarter line, ran and passed down the line to Hayden, who had led out to the sideline.  Hayden then ran with two defenders down to the T and dumped back inside to Jude, who precisely slotted the ball home into the goal  (who says our training drills don’t pay off!).

Once this was scored, the Thorny Devils settled down and worked hard.   Another decisive moment came 2 minutes after this. Bankstown/USYD had earned a PC through a rapid counterattack.

Our PC defence was set with Kaylee, Julian, Jack and Bridget.  Kaylee, our “Rock”, was first runner, got to the top of the circle, stole the ball and ran through two of their bigger hitters. After that, their offensive PC never threatened.

Half time came and oranges on separate plates for all the team.  All COVID-safe, gloves and tongs.  I think the team was more excited by this than the fact they were leading 1 nil.

The team was asked to keep the same intensity, to look up before passing to ensure we passed to our own players and keep using our wide options that will save our legs rather than turning the ball over in midfield.

Plenty of tough clashes and possession changes made for an exciting match.  Julian worked hard in the midfield to cover both the length and breadth of the field.

Mandy tackled hard on players nearly twice her size and made plenty of attacking runs down the wings. Jack was in control of our backline and cleared the ball from the top of the circle many times.

After a quick discussion from the umpires, a long corner was award to Sutho. Julian took a clear run and passed through to Jamie-Grace who took a quick shot at goal from the top.  Her shot, unfortunately, hit the keeper, but both Jude and Hayden were on their respective posts to clean up, with Jude slotting the ball away from 2 metres out.  Score 2 of the match and, again, another of our training moves!!

The fourth quarter turned into Bankstown throwing everybody forward and Sutherland was unlucky in not converting many other scoring attempts.

All players hadn’t played a season on a full field before and five of the team players were new to winter hockey. They’d graduated from the Tradies Summer Comp.  At the trial game, way back at Moorebank, this team lost 3-nil.

Following the post COVID restart, the team didn’t miss a beat and went 8 wins and 2 draws leading into the Grand Final. Then to take the day 2-nil was very satisfying from a coaching perspective.  A well-deserved win for a great group of kids who work hard for one another each and every week!

Special thanks to coaches Kevin Margetson and Adrian Collins, and Fitness trainer Robyn Rule who taught them skills but, more importantly, fostered their team spirit.

Best and Fairest: Jamie-Grace Pittello. Goals: Jude Lyons 2.

Under 13 A Sutho Blue Tongues 3 Sutho Geckos 2, in extra time

As usual, whenever two Sutho teams play each other, the winning report goes first, followed by the match pictures gallery, then the second report. So here we go with the U13A grand final day coverage, firstly from the Blue Tongues:

It was a Grand Final battle – and for the Lizard Trophy – between the Blue Tongues and the undefeated Minor Premiers, the formidable Geckos.

We had been training hard and working on every aspect of our game plan. This ranged from honing our skills and controlling our attitude to executing a strategy that might get us over the line against the Geckos, who had soundly beaten us twice during this weird 2020 season. In theory, we had it all worked our and felt that we had a shot at the title, even though I’m sure we were coming in as the underdogs based on recent form.

The camera started rolling, the whistle blew, and we were away… and around three minutes later the Geckos broke through our defence and scored: 1-0. We just couldn’t find our rhythm in that first quarter and the Geckos slotted yet another goal: 2-0 down and, ouch, we had our work cut out for us! It was time to calm the farm and reset. We had to get back to focusing on our game structure.

The second quarter saw us starting to string some passes together and spend some more time up in the Geckos’ half. Perseverance paid off, and after a number of scoring opportunities, Isabel picked up and converted our first goal. We were on the board.

This fired up the Geckos. They were on the attack, and Milan, Jack, and Luke Luke were tested as the Geckos attempted to infiltrate our circle time and time again, earning short corners along the way.

We grabbed our water bottles and jumped into our team talk at half time with the scoreboard reading 2-1. We can do this!

The 3rd quarter was an arm wrestle that highlighted the strength of both teams. Both sides created opportunities in attack and stood strong in defence. Late in the quarter, with some impressive passing, a little flair and a solid shot saw Louis punch in our second goal to even it up 2-2. Game on, Lizards!

Quarter four was a stalemate. Neither team were going to give up the Lizard Trophy or the Premiership without a fight to the end. That’s exactly where we were left at the end of regular time: 2-2. After a quick drink, some quick battle plans, and dropping two players from each team, we headed out for our first 6 minutes of golden point extra time.

Heart rates were up, faces were red, but every player on the field squeezed out whatever energy they had left to finish this off. Unbelievably, we didn’t have to wait long. Within 30 seconds, Louis received a Tully pass on the top of the circle and getting himself some space, hit a tomahawk that converted into the top of the goal! Any first-grade player would have been proud of that shot!

It sealed the deal, and delivered the Blue Tongues the U13A premiership title, along with the coveted Battle of the Lizards Trophy.

Massive thanks to Brad and the Geckos for the cracking game and congratulations for winning the Minor Premiership. Also, a big well done to Kalahni for winning the SEHA player of the Grand Final.

Congrats Blue Tongues; we got there in the end, despite the challenges 2020 kept throwing at us. Great job team!

Under 13A Sutho Geckos 2 Sutho Blue Tongues  3, in extra time

The SDHC field was sun-drenched and looked a treat for the premiership and the final Battle of the Lizards Trophy this season.

The Geckos trained extra hard during the week, having had a bye last weekend in the last round game in our competition. Our team all agreed to have an extra training session on Sunday. It was a gruelling 2.5-hour session under super master coach Brad Bollard, who left no stone unturned.

A massive thank you to all the Geckos parents for allowing your champions to attend the extra training. A real special mention to Isaiah (U15 goalkeeper). The Geckos are so grateful for him. Isaiah assisted the Geckos in goals for the last 30 mins of our sessions every Tuesday evening after his U15 team training. He also attended our Sunday session before the GF to offer his expertise and encouragement to Riley our goalkeeper for the GF. Thank you, Isaiah, you are a champion.

In true Lizard Trophy fashion, the grand final was end-to-end hockey, great defensive challenges with a number of shots on goal by both teams. The goalkeepers were outstanding, especially our Riley with critical saves from some skilful Blue Tongues play that kept the Geckos in the contest.

It was a dream start by the Geckos with two well-constructed goals in the first quarter. We couldn’t ask for anything more…BUT!! Never underestimate a SUTHO Lizard. With true SDHC grit, determination and coach Fisher’s quarter-time speech, the Blue Tongues came back a more confident team, clawing back a goal in the 2nd quarter to go into halftime with the Geckos leading 2-1.

The third quarter was more of the same, with the Blue Tongues steadily building in confidence and being rewarded with a goal.

Going into the fourth quarter and the scoreboard reading 2 – 2, the tension was high as both teams were hungry to beat the other and be crowned as champions. There were multiple missed opportunities by both teams that added to this tension, but it showed the determination by both teams the desire to win and not let down their teammates.

Then it was full time, and the scoreboard had not changed 2 – 2. Golden Point extra time!! What a battle! After a short break and final words from both coaches, it was all up to the players.

It didn’t last long. Within 40 seconds a surprising, brilliant tomahawk shot from just inside the ‘D’ exploded passed all defensive players to the top right-hand corner of the goals. It was Fisher’s Blue Tongues’ first Lizards Trophy of the season and the crown of 2020 SEHA U13A. And well deserved.

In true Gecko fashion – as it had been all season – they showed a depth of character and integrity and were quick to congratulate and cheer their fellow Sutho Lizards achievement. Our Geckos were disappointed but that quickly turned into fun and laughter showing true Sutho pride and mateship that can only be forged during the ups and downs of competition.

Well done to both Sutho teams for another enthralling match with all players giving 100% effort showing great Sutho pride and commitment.

A massive and heartfelt thank you to our SDHC president and all the committee members, coaches, managers, volunteers, junior umpires and the one and only Richo our Junior Convenor. To you all, THANKYOU for forging ahead in this most unsettled, unpredictable and difficult season yet, keeping our club going and hockey being played for our kids. It’s been the constant in our lives we all looked forward to weekly and needed…

SEHA Player of the Match: Kalahni. Goals: Amy 1, Peter 1. 2020 Geckoes team awards: Most improved, Skye; Best and fairest, Oisin; Coaches Award,  Dominic

Mazda launches praised new BT-50 ute

Our valued sponsor Sutherland Mazda this week officially launches the much-anticipated 2020 Mazda BT-50 ute (pictured).

The new model has been highly acclaimed by Australia’s most respected motoring media.

They like its even tougher build and performance, greater luxury and an even better new technology fit-out.

The BT-50 comes in single and free-style cabs, a dual cab 2-wheel drive and a dual cab 4WD.

The diesel-powered BT-50 comes with a five years warranty.

Check out the new Mazda BT-50 at, or call in to inspect and test drive at Sutherland Mazda, 26-28 Waratah Street, Kirrawee. Phone: 8536 9400.

SEHA Women

Sutho Arangas 1st grade 1 UNSW 2

It was certainly a close game. In the first half, we played mostly defence, and with the ladies having a hard time linking up, we were finding it difficult to feed the ball from the 16 up to our attack.

With some hard work from our defenders and some awesome tackles made by Jac, who was on almost every ball, we were able to keep the score nil-all for the first half.

In the third quarter, we started to link up. With strong transfers from Kayla, we were able to start moving the ball up the field, allowing our mids and attackers to have a chance in the attacking 16.

Sadly, with a solid run down the sideline and a good ball to the spot, classic drill execution, UNSW was able to put their first goal in the net.

We came back in the final quarter strongly. With some wise words from Hannah and Sarah on the sideline, we played confidently. We played pretty hockey.

With our game focused on see a ball and make a pass, we were strongly playing the passing game up the field and linking the ball.

We were able to score an awesome team goal, passing it around the defenders and keeper where Jess’ cherry’ was finally able to get her cherry!!

In the last minute UNSW were able to return our goal with a short corner. While we had been strong in our short corners and had not let a single one in throughout the game, they were able to get a straight shot hit into the right back corner.

Awesome season ladies, the scores don’t always reflect our improvement as a team.

Sutho 2nd grade Arangas 1 Sharks 2

And so the chaotic 2020 season comes to an end. Unfortunately, we could not pull off the win we had been hunting for all season. However, seeing as we had such a long gap and short prep for this season, the girls did exceptionally well with the challenges they faced.

Our game this week was yet another strong performance, even though we were missing three players. Going down 2-1 to Sharks it was an unfortunate way to end our season.

Our girls put up a good fight to hold Sharks scoreless in the last half of the game. Thank you to Zara Cathcart who we desperately needed as a sub; she had a very strong game around the pitch.

Our only goal came from what this person described as “luck” but what I know as “skill”, that was Grace! Well positioned and strong on the ball putting one behind the pads!

Our defence was our key to this week’s close game; everyone was resilient, however, there were several team members that stood out.

MVP of the day was the 3 point scorer, Andrea, who played one of her if not best games in defence. She made countless tackles and backed them up with strong carries and passes up the field.

Two points went to Tahlia, who again showed dominance in the backline. Her strong ball control and tackling allowed our team to recover from quick breakaway play. And 1 point went to Grace for her considerable effort under pressure from opposing players.

Finally, I would like to thank all the girls for a great season! I hope everyone had fun even though we had a rough year on the scoreboard. I am 100% committed to coming back next year as coach to develop the skills and knowledge we touched on this year.

I just hope life allows me to do so. With a full season, I know as a team and as individuals, we can achieve the goals we set. This year I think we mastered positivity and composure under pressure for sure!

Enjoy the offseason and summer!


Sutho 1st grade 0 Sydney University 3

The scoreline tells the story. This was one of our worst displays and embarrassing – beaten by a team who have never beaten us before. It showed a lack of discipline and quite a thoughtless display by the whole team.

We will need to take heed of what happened and pull ourselves together within the next 2 weeks when we play the 1st semi-final once more against Syd Uni.  We will need to completely reverse our form in this time if there is going to be any chance of moving on to the preliminary final.

If not, our season could end up quite abruptly and on a very sour note and not leave us with much pride.  For a team which showed what they are capable of when we beat NWS only a few weeks ago, we seem to have gone down a slippery spiral.

It is now up to the team to show true SUTHO grit and pride and take us to the level we are accustomed to seeing from our 1st-grade team.  So not much else to say other than let’s put it together and show what we are really made of.

Sutho 2nd grade 3 Sydney University 0

Last Saturday we played our final round game to the shortened 2020 season against  Sydney Uni at Lidcombe.

Lidcombe has not been a very kind place to us over the last two seasons. One team-mate broke a collarbone there two years ago, and we lost 5-1 there last year. We were not particularly excited to be returning to this pitch.

Upon arrival, things already were very ropey: the parking situation confused many, and the vending machine appeared to charge $10 per drink purchase – very worrying signs.

Our game was very open and free-flowing. Sydney Uni rarely pressed our defensive line in the first half, allowing us to move the ball from side to side, engaging our attacking mids with an early ball. Their real only attacking threat was from overheads or counterattacking plays if we were careless with possession.

Early into the second quarter, we scored our first of the match. From a short corner, we ran our favourite play, looking for a deflection off a slap hit. We got the deflection, just off the defenders stick instead.

In the second half, Uni pressed higher and forced us to play very defensively in the 3rd quarter. Through our work rate and scrambling defence, we were able to ride our this onslaught and build an attack of our own.

Some delicious splay from our midfield and strikers pilled the pressure on Uni, and this eventually led to our second goal off another corner. This time the slap hit deflection was selfishly aimed at the goal and rocketed into the bottom right corner.

Finally, as the game wound down, our victory looked certain, we earned a penalty stroke as the siren sounded. Our leading goal scorer claimed the free shot with great haste and converted confidently into the bottom corner to seal the game 3-0.

Points: Wade Tonna 3, Peter Mulcair 2, Iain McClung 1. Goals: Blake Sharp  2, Mason Neale 1.

Sutho 3rd grade 1 Sydney Uni 2

Coming into the final round game, a win or draw would see Sutho 3rds finish top 2 and avoid an elimination final in week 1 of the finals. Sydney Uni was chasing the win to jump into 5th spot.

Uni got the jump on us early. They scored from the hit-off after stringing a number of transfer passes together – and without Sutho even touching the ball.  However, minutes later we released Viney into space and he roofed a tomahawk to level the scores.

As the match progressed, with the wind howling and the pitch drying out, both teams struggled with ball control. Uni was awarded a contentious corner just before half time and won the ensuing scramble to convert for a  2-1 lead at the main break.

Despite enthusiastic team talks and aggressive attitude, we just couldn’t muster enough pressure in the right areas to convert, with a miraculous/clumsy luck save by the keeper with 2 minutes to go summing up our day.

Our basics weren’t good enough, and neither was our discipline.

And so we slip to 3rd and play Moorebank after the long weekend in an elimination semi final. All aspects need to improve if we are to progress. But, as the tougher recent games have shown, we are there and thereabouts even when not at our best, and very much still a shot at this premiership. Some fine-tuning at training can make it a reality.

Points – 3 Zak, 2 Viney, 1 – multiple players with 1 vote each. Goal  – Matt Vine

Sutho 4th grade 1 Bankstown 4 – Minor Semi-final

No report.

Goal: Huon Bollard.

Sutho 5th grade 2 Bentstix 1 – Minor Semi-final

The simple maths continued this week – win and we go through to week 2 of the finals, lose and the season was done and dusted. After beating Bentstix last week, we were confident we could do it again (not all of us were…). It wasn’t helped by the last-minute injury withdrawal by our leading goal scorer, Darren Pike.

The warm-up wasn’t great, with a number of guys turning up just before the start of the game. So we started the game sluggish and poor – but thankfully Bentstix overdid their warm-up, so they too started sluggishly: we were well matched.

This meant that quarter 1 lacked the high intensity of last week. Both teams were creating chances as well as failing to capitalise on opportunities. That said, Bentstix were first to score, but our heads didn’t drop (too much).

We built momentum and created chances – including a short corner that bounced back off the goal. We equalised not long after that opportunity from a short corner via Luke Mecham. Bentstix came right back at us, and we conceded a cheap short corner.

We held them out, but the highlight was watching our GK, Gilby, try to juggle and hit Bryn’s face mask over the backline as Bryn chased down the ball inside our 25-yard area. An impressive display, Gilby!

We had the chance to take the lead going into half time. We did think that we had scored via Lachlan Cartwright but it was ruled out. Then, not long after, we had a short corner after the half time hooter (yes, the hooter at P2 has been fixed!), but TV personality, A/Prof Darren (Daz) Saunders, dragged his short corner hit to the left. 1-all at half time.

The message was that we’re very much in it, lots of positives to come out of the first half, but we will need to lift for the second.

Quarter 3 was an arm wrestle with few real opportunities (so not much to write about). A quick chat at the break was again to keep it simple. We must win and we’ll likely change some structures if need be, but plans were ready for golden goal drop-off.

Those plans were mostly useless as we scored again from a short corner, this time by Seb. Then we had 5 mins to hold out.

A quick switch in structure to an extra defender and one less striker saw us repel Bentstix’s effort to push the game into extra time. It was a welcome relief when the final hooter sounded. Belief is building.

The week off is certainly welcome, and hopefully, some niggly injuries will settle – I do worry we may accumulate more (stay away from the oyster shells Lachie Groundwater!). The Prelim Final is our next challenge – hopefully 5th grade can go one better than last year.

Goals: Seb Etheridge, Luke Mecham.

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