Canberra HC marked their return to the NSW Handball League with a 31:27 win over Harbourside, at Olympic Park on Saturday.
Canberra’s last appearance in the NSW League was in 2011, when the team finished the season with a silver medal.
Canberra didn’t have the start they wanted, trailing for more than ten minutes, and struggling to make headway into the match.
It took fifteen minutes for Canberra to find their rhythm, after equalising 5:5, and quickly racing to a four-goal lead.
At the break, Canberra was in front 16:13.
Harbourside rallied back in the second half to reclaim a narrow lead. The teams then traded goals for most of the second half, before two quick goals by pivot Daniel Peryman put Canberra back in-front.
With ten minutes to go, Canberra built back a four-goal lead, then cruised to the final whistle to take maximum points for the match.
Saša Šestić was once again unstoppable in the sky-blue colours firing 15 goals, most from distance, to top-score for the match.
A total of five players made their debut for the Canberra side. Daniel Peryman, Mitch Sewter, Rowan Vergano, Nick Toze and Aleks Šestić all played their first official match for the club.
Canberra : Harbourside 31:27
Canberra: Taip Ramadani, James Prpic (4 goals), Aleks Šestić (1), Saša Šestić (15), Nicola Rizzotto (2), Mitch Sewter, Rowan Vergano (4), Nick Toze and Daniel Peryman (5).
Canberra v University of New South Wales
Canberra was back on the court hours later to face University of NSW, but failed to match their earlier performance, going down 35:23, despite another goal feast by Saša Šestić.
UNSW took the lead early and were in full control through the match, never allowing Canberra to threaten their lead.
For the university club, the win avenges this year’s 23:15 loss to Canberra, in Gold Coast at the National Club Championship.
Saša Šestić top-scored again with 11 goals, and pivot Daniel Peryman had another big game with six more.
This is only the second time the teams have faced each-other, as UNSW is a relative newcomer to the NSW League.
Canberra HC : UNSW HC 23:35
For Canberra: Aleks Šestić (1 goal), Taip Ramadani (2), James Prpic (1), Saša Šestić (11), Nicola Rizzotto, Mitch Sewter (1), Rowan Vergano (1), Nick Toze and Daniel Peryman (6).
Sydney Uni scrapes a win over UTS
In the other match of the day, Sydney Uni scored a penalty goal on the buzzer to scrape a 29:28 win over UTS. This was the team’s first match after returning from a scuccesful campaign at the IHF Super Globe in Saudi Arabia.
Canberra leads the league table with one extra game.
Canberra’s next two matches are at home on 12 November when they face Harboursdie and University of NSW again.
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Featured photo: Canberra’s right back Rowan Vergano in the match against UNSW (NSW Handball Association)