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NEAFL Report: Himmelberg and Sproule Star as Patton Returns

Ryan Miller  April 10, 2017 2:47 PM


A move to the midfield paid dividends for Harry Himmelberg with the young GIANT among the best performers in their NEAFL loss. Photo: Matt Corby/ NEAFL

He looked fit in the way he was moving which is a positive sign.

The GIANTS Reserves have suffered a 43-point loss to Sydney University in their NEAFL clash at Blacktown International SportsPark on Saturday night, despite a five goal haul from young forward Zach Sproule.

After trailing for most of the game the GIANTS drew to within 13-points of the Students at three quarter time, before a final term blitz saw University run out winners 20.8 (128) to 12.13 (85).

GIANTS NEAFL Coach Brad Miller said the loss was disappointing given his side’s strong showing in round one. 

“They (Sydney University) came to play and played a good brand of footy, they over ran us,” he said.

“We were two down on the bench and they had 23 fit players, our guys were just gassed towards the end.

“We were very young and inexperienced as we had 12 listed players and the rest were Academy boys.”

The GIANTS started slow, trailing by 23-points at quarter time before fighting back to be within three goals at the final break. 

“I was really proud of the boys and responding after the start that we had, they got themselves back into a spot where we could possibly win the game at three quarter time,” Miller said. 

“But unfortunately we weren’t able to finish it off.”

Sproule’s five goal haul was his second in consecutive games, with the GIANTS 2017 Rookie Draft Academy Selection kicking five goals against the Gold Coast Suns Reserves in round one.

“He’s kicked 14 goals in the last three weeks including the last practice game, he’s in good goal-kicking form,” Miller said of the 18-year-old.

“He just played his role, he probably played better the week before but he’s still in really good touch, 

“He’s moving really well, he’s competing in the air and is being rewarded.” 

Sproule’s performance came alongside the return of high profile team-mate Jon Patton, who had a week out of the game after a knock to the hip in the GIANTS round one AFL loss to Adelaide. 

Miller was pleased with Patton’s performance with the key-forward kicking two goals and showing great leadership in the forward line.

“He looked fit in the way he was moving which is a positive sign, I don’t think we helped him with the way we were moving the ball,” he said. 

“For four quarters he competed and gave his best effort, and gave guys like Sproule and Matthew Flynn a real lift.”

Harry Perryman, Harry Himmelberg and Dawson Simpson again impressed, further pushing their cases for an AFL call up.

Himmelberg surprised Miller with his performance after he gave the 2015 draftee the task of playing in the midfield, a change from his usual position across halfback.

“Harry’s obviously been playing down back the last few years so for him to go through the middle was really exciting,” Miller said.

“He played with real freedom and finished with 11 tackles for the night, he was really tough, I was really impressed with Harry."

GIANTS v Sydney University

SYDNEY UNI 5.1 8.4 12.5 20.8 (128)

GIANTS 1.2 6.6 10.10 12.13 (85)

GOALS – Z Sproule 5 J Patton 2 M Kennedy L Tiziani M Edwards H Perryman D Simpson

The GIANTS Reserves take on the Canberra Demons at Ainslie Park in Canberra at 10.00am on Saturday, April 15.