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NEAFL: Swans conquer ladder leaders

Luke McManus  May 19, 2017 10:37 PM

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Sam Fisher evades heavy traffic in Friday night's clash against Sydney Uni.

To be able to come back and play with the poise and polish in these tough conditions was a great effort. He was just one of several standout mids that we had tonight.

A clinical display from first-year Ollie Florent not only strengthened his chances for a senior recall but helped the Sydney Swans record an emphatic 67-point win against the previously undefeated Sydney University on Friday night.

In weather that traditionally brings out the worst in a footballer’s skills, Florent, in the words of stand-in coach Nick Davis, “looked like he was playing with a dry football” such was his poise and class in the Round 8 clash at Henson Park.

The rain didn’t go away all night, forcing the rather boisterous crowd who braved the wet weather at the Marrickville venue to take cover in the King George V Memorial Grandstand while the action unfolded out in the middle.

What they witnessed, particularly in the second half, was a young Swan putting his name back in front of the selectors.

The 18-year-old midfielder-forward collected the footy at will, tallying 30 disposals (12 contested) and a goal in the 16.17 (113) to 6.10 (46) win, but it was what the No. 13 did while in possession that really impressed Davis.

“He’s a super talent, and a super kid, and he’s worked really hard (in recent weeks),” Davis said of the first-round draftee.

“He was obviously rested last week and came back (to the NEAFL) with a mature and positive attitude.

“It’s a long year for him, he’ll be ready to go back and play senior football when he’s called upon and do a good job up there.

“To be able to come back and play with the poise and polish in these tough conditions was a great effort. He was just one of several standout mids that we had tonight.”

Florent and his fellow on-ballers in Brandon Jack (28 disposals and 1 goal), Shaun Edwards (25 disposals and 1 goal) and Sam Fisher (23 disposals, three goals seven tackles) were given a surplus of footy by ruckman Darcy Cameron.

Cameron dominated the aerial contests and stoppages, amassing 55 hit-outs while providing his well-oiled defence, which was brimming with AFL talent (Jeremy Laidler, Aliir Aliir, Harry Marsh and Michael Talia), with extra cover when Sydney Uni were on the offensive.

That didn’t happen often, the NEAFL Swans’ defensive pressure proving too good at either end (62-48 inside 50s), Robbie Fox (14 tackles), Toby Pink and James Rose spearheading ensuring there was no easy footy for the Sydney Uni defenders.

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James Rose, fists pumped, celebrates a brilliant second-half goal on Friday night.

It was Fox, who’s also vying for a senior recall, who kicked things off in the opening term kicking the first of his two goals, a recipient of some bustling work and a good release handball from Fisher.

It began a flurry of goals for the visitors, five unanswered in fact, even Aliir getting in on the act with a nice set-shot from 40m out to help the then second-ranked Swans on their way.

Sydney Uni fought back in the second quarter, kicking four goals to one, including two in the closing stages after winning a free-kick between scores.

Former Swan Xavier Richards (three goals), who had a resilient Jack Maibaum for company all night, kicked his first from long range, then remonstrated with old pals Laidler and Aliir to draw a free-kick of which the Students capitalised, all of this before the footy reached the centre again.

After the dust settled and the teams re-emerged from the half-time break, it was all one-way traffic, James Rose (two goals) getting the NEAFL Swans off to the perfect start with a fend off and beautiful kick from the arc before Fisher kicked another from angle on the wrong side for a left-footer.

The Swans then went about cutting Uni’s forward supply while adding even more scoreboard pressure, kicking 10.7 to 2.3 across the third and final quarters to run away with a big win.

On a sour note, midfielder Dan Robinson was taken from the field in the hands of trainers and failed to come back on after copping high contact in a marking contest during the second quarter.

Head of Football Tom Harley will have more on Robinson’s injury in next week’s HCF Injury Update.

The NEAFL Swans, who’ll regain Rhyce Shaw, travel to Newcastle next weekend for a Round 9 clash with Gold Coast.

Sydney University v Sydney Swans

Sydney Swans 5.6  6.10 11.16 16.17 (113)
Sydney Uni 0.1 4.7 4.8 6.10 (46)

GOALS – Sydney: S Fisher 3, J Rose, R Fox 2, D Cameron, O Florent, J Brown, B Jack, J Laidler, T Leonardis, A Aliir, L Maze, S Edwards. Sydney Uni: X Richards 3, T Barrett 2, Z O’Brien.
BEST – Sydney: S Fisher, O Florent, R Fox, J Laidler, B Jack, S Edwards. Sydney Uni: Z. O''Brien, R. Hebron, A. Day, X. Richards, T. Barrett, D. Baron-Hay