Rep match wrap: Sydney and Canberra split!

Match reports by Josh Dunstall

Photos by Merrillie Redden

AFL Canberra met AFL Sydney at Manuka Oval on Saturday, 18 May, with women’s and men’s sides facing off for the first time since 2016.

There was plenty of pride on the line and, for the best players on the day, a place in the combined Canberra/Sydney teams which will take on Tasmania in Launceston on 20 July. (Teams to be announced shortly.)

On a picturesque, although windy day, all sides played with great spirit and tenacity. The women’s and men’s matches were tight, with some serious talent on display.

Check out the match reports and videos below and see the matches’ complete galleries here.


Smout and Baker dominate in the fourth quarter to lead AFL Canberra to a convincing 33-point win over AFL Sydney.

The midfield tandem of Alex Smout and Angus Baker proved too much at Manuka Oval on Saturday as the AFL Canberra Men’s Representative team came away with a 33-point win over AFL Sydney.

Smout was instrumental in his best on ground performance, finishing with 46 disposals, 11 marks, eight tackles and a goal in the win.

He was well-supported by his good friend and longtime Eastlake teammate, Baker, who finished with 36 possessions, five marks and five tackles as well as two penetrating fourth-quarter goals from outside 50 to seal the victory.

However, it was AFL Sydney who began a fast, nine-goal opening quarter with the first two majors of the contest.

Manly’s James Lugsdin capitalised on a 50m penalty and kicked truly for the first, then moments later Finbar Delbridge (South West Sydney) kicked the first of his three for the match after a terrific contested mark inside 50.

The locals responded immediately, first through Ainslie’s Matt McGrory as he pounced on an AFL Sydney turnover at halfback and ran into an open goal, before Queanbeyan’s Andrew Swan snapped truly to level the scores.

The goals continued to flurry in the opening term as AFL Canberra opened up a two-goal lead before North Shore’s Ned Campbell struck late in the quarter to cut the quarter time margin to one straight kick.

After the fast start to the game, the second quarter began slowly with both teams unable to take a strong hold on the match.

The respective current competition leading goalkickers started to make a profound impact as Ben Zoppo’s (Inner West) only major for the day was answered by Andrew Swan’s second.

The men from the nation’s capital continued to hammer the ball forward as Alex Page swooped on a couple of errors from AFL Sydney to see his side into the rooms up by 16 points: 7.9.51 to 5.5.35.

AFL Canberra’s midfield were dominant to half time, accumulating possessions all over the lustrous Manuka Oval surface. This would continue throughout the day, with the home side finishing with a gluttonous 93-disposal advantage over the men from Sydney.

Jake Veale (North Shore) was one of AFL Sydney’s best.

AFL Sydney understood that they were trailing at the main break and came out, similarly to the opening quarter, kicking a couple in the space of 30 seconds.

Campbell and Delbridge’s tremendous day continued as they both hammered home a major each in the space of 30 seconds for the visitors early in the third quarter to keep them in striking distance.

AFL Sydney, in fact, hit the lead midway through the third, after Harrison Pitt (Pennant Hills) crashed the pack and slotted from directly in front.

The 2023 Phelan medalist, Campbell, was one of Sydney’s best for the day, amassing 27 disposals, five tackles, five marks and two goals.

The tight battle in the third quarter continued as both teams traded goals, scores tied at 66, heading into the final term from Manuka Oval.

North Shore’s Jake Veale stood tall all day in defence for AFL Sydney, amassing 32 disposals, 7 marks and a goal to his name as AFL Canberra peppered forward time and time again.

The Eastlake Demons midfield duo of Smout and Baker continued to accumulate the footy and stood up when they needed to most as Baker kick-started the fourth quarter with two incredible long-range bombs to provide his side with some breathing space.

Smout then entered the goal scoring act himself, kicking a major in the final term to increase the lead to 30 points.

Andrew Swan took a terrific mark and slotted his fourth major to cap off a dominant fourth quarter display from AFL Canberra.

In the end it was AFL Canberra’s dominant midfield, spearheaded by Smout and Baker which proved too strong for AFL Sydney. AFL Canberra had seven players accumulate 20 or more possessions to AFL Sydney’s two.

The hosts ran away with a 17.16.118 to 13.7.85 victory at Manuka Oval as the full-time siren sounded on a brilliant day of Representative Football.

Alex Smout (Eastlake) with 46 possessions, eight tackles and a goal, was judged best afield

AFL Canberra 17.16.118 def AFL Sydney 13.7.85

AFL Canberra Goals: Swan 4, Baker 2, McGrory 2, Faul 2, Collins, Smout, Morfoot, Page, Pollock, Sergi, Robertson

AFL Canberra Best: Smout, Baker, Collins, McGrory, Simpson, Swan

AFL Sydney Goals: Delbridge 3, Campbell 2, Pitt 2, Zoppo, Veale, Lugsdin, Gabila, Barkley and Creighton

AFL Sydney Best: Veale, Campbell, Delbridge, Lugsdin


Reid, Wade star as AFL Sydney hold off a late surge to defeat AFL Canberra.

Caitlin Reid (East Coast) and Brianna Lee-Wade (Parramatta) were at their very best on Saturday as AFL Sydney defeated AFL Canberra, largely due to a 26-point -to one-point third quarter flurry.

The East Coast Eagles ruck finished the game with 21 disposals and eight tackles in addition to 11 groundball gets and her match-leading 28 hit outs as AFL Sydney took a 13-point victory up the highway.

The women from Sydney came out of the blocks fast at Manuka Oval, kicking the first two majors of the afternoon.

The Paramatta Goannas’ spearhead Brianna Lee-Wade got things rolling as she soccered through her first of three majors for the afternoon before Michelle Foscarini (East Coast) finished with a beautiful snap over her shoulder to give Sydney a 16 to nothing lead midway into the first quarter.

It was a flawless display from the visitors in the first quarter, dominating with territory until with less than a minute remaining in the quarter, Ainslie’s Charlotte Canavan finished a great front and square goal for AFL Canberra against the wind to reduce the deficit to nine.

The second quarter was a tight tussle throughout with AFL Canberra looking to continue their late first quarter momentum into the second.

They were met by a strong AFL Sydney outfit, who failed to allow their Canberran opponents back in before some great scrap and pressure up forward resulted in a big Chantel Jones (Ainslie Tricolours) mark and goal right on the halftime siren.

The main break saw AFL Sydney hold a slim one-point lead in a tight, intense first half between both teams.

Ainslie’s Zoe Skyrianos and Greta Larkey were instrumental in the second quarter fightback and would eventually finish with 25 disposals and 19 disposals respectively.

They were well supported by ball-winning Tuggeranong Valley young gun, Ashley Patton, who led all players at the end of the game with 28 disposals.

Bryany Parker (East Coast) hurries a kick under pressure from Greta Larkey (Ainslie).

AFL Sydney knew they had to respond in the third quarter after it felt as though to all in attendance at Manuka Oval were willing AFL Canberra’s surge to continue.

They responded in a big way in the third quarter, kicking four goals in give minutes midway through the third quarter as Wade nailed through her third after a couple of big, contested marks, while Foscarini doubled.

Reid continued to accumulate groundballs in the third and AFL Sydney kept rebounding the attacks forward by AFL Canberra to go into the third quarter break ahead by 26 points.

AFL Canberra needed a quick-fire fourth quarter goal and Belconnen’s Jorja Simpson hammered one home to reduce the lead to 20 points, less than three minutes into the final term.

Moments later, Ashley Patton (Tuggeranong) played on and slotted truly from just inside 50 to spark potential thoughts of an AFL Canberra comeback.

However, this was dashed by a stronger AFL Sydney side on the day as they ran out with a 13-point victory at Manuka Oval.

Zoe Hurrell (North Shore) was awarded best on ground for AFL Sydney

AFL Canberra 4.7.31 def by AFL Sydney 6.8.44

AFL Canberra goals: Canavan, Jones, Simpson, Patton

AFL Canberra best: Skyrianos, Larkey, Patton, Brown, Allen

AFL Sydney goals: Wade 3, Foscarini 2, Bailey

AFL Sydney best: Hurrell, Reid, Wade, Foscarini, Fletcher, Hamilton