Uni travelled to City Beach Oval to take on West Coast in a feisty contest for round five of the A-grade season.
A luckless West Coast were expected to be handed a thumping from a strong Uni side, as they were yet to win a game this season while Uni were entering the round on 4-0, putting them at the top of the ladder.
However, it was West Coast who dominated the first half and they managed to hold the lead for the first three quarters, but Uni managed to gain control in the last term giving them a final score of 9.13 (67) to beat West Coast’s 8.8 (56).
Uni was presented with an unexpected challenge from West Coast, and their frustration was exposed when a red card was paid against their player Brendan Lim for a hit against a West Coast tagger.
University coach Andrew Browne said that he didn’t see the incident but will discuss it further with the umpires.
“I didn’t actually see the incident but the player that was involved didn’t think there was a lot in it, and certainly didn’t think it was something that deserved a red card.” He said.
West Coast coach Andrew McDougall said that Lim has a history with West Coast that encouraged his team to sledge the player.
“He has coached down here before and we wanted him to play with us, but he wanted to play with his friends (at Uni),” he said.
“I think the boys wanted to give him a bit of a hard time for it.”
West Coast found their dominance in the opening term by being really clean on the rebound and making the most of their opportunities going forward.
Although Uni dominated the midfield and won the clearances, they couldn’t convert their opportunities to scoreboard pressure and West Coast made them pay with dangerous turnovers.
West Coast entered into the second quarter with an 11-point lead and the intensity went up a gear as they managed to get under Uni’s skin, resulting in the red-card.
Browne acknowledged that his team were lacking in the first half and needed to make changes going into half time.
“I thought in the first half we just lacked our intensity around the contest, West Coast were a lot harder around the ball and their tackle pressure was a lot better than ours,” he said.
“We tried to address that at half time and get the momentum swinging back in our favour.”
West Coast went into the third quarter with a strong lead at 8.6 (54) to Uni’s 3.5 (23), however Uni seemed successful in changing the way they attacked the ball, as they made a gain of 10 points and left West Coast scoreless for the term.
The final quarter saw Uni take control of the game with clean ball use and accurate kicking that resulted in five goals, while managing to keep West Coast at bay by leaving them goalless in the second half.
West Coast seemed to have spent most of their fuel in the first half, leaving them vulnerable to a late surge from Uni that gave away a tight win.
McDougall said his players knew a strong Uni side would challenge them.
“We tried to be physical today because they’re a very young side that have a lot of players always coming through the university and they’re coached well by Browne,” he said.
“They’re a top two or three side every single year so for us it’s a big challenge and we have try and do everything we can,”
“At the end of the day they were probably just too fit and too skilful.”
McDougall acknowledges that West Coast’s poor start to the season is linked to the quality sides they have had to face in the first five rounds.
“Of the top five sides from last year, we’ve played five so far,” he said.
“The next five games are the bottom five of last year, and we know teams change so we really need to have a good patch and try win three or four so we can give ourselves a chance to claw back.”
On the other hand, Uni continue their winning streak and they sit comfortably at the top of the ladder on 5-0, but their coach said there’s still room for improvement.
“We haven’t been playing our best footy but we have been managing to win the close games which helps,” Browne said.
“We’ve got a fair bit still to work on between now and the end of the year but you can’t complain when you’re 5-0.”