The AFL New Zealand Premiership is now in full swing after the completion of Round 3 over the weekend which Saw the Crows and Giants victorious.
Central Giants vs Northern Suns:
Both the Central Giants and Northern Suns were looking for their first win in the competition and had trained hard during the week to ensure that they would work hard on their game plans.
The Suns couldn’t have asked for a better start when midfielder Liam ‘Badger’ Beattie kicked the first goal of the game after only 40 seconds to give the Suns an early lead. They were quick to score again soon after and found themselves up by 2 goals and looking like a team who came prepared.
The Giants fought hard to hit straight back through forward Stephen Parton who answered with 2 goals of his own and give the Giants a 14-point lead at the quarter time.
In the second quarter, the Giants defence stood tall with Wellington based Sam Green leading the charge and restricting the Suns to only 1 point for the quarter. His linking with Liam Ackland playing at half back flank proved a lethal combination in moving the ball forward up the field. The Giants kicked straight in the second term through Canterbury stalwart James Bowden (5 Goals) to go into half time with a healthy 42-point lead.
It was a tight tussle between the two sides in the third quarter as both team’s defence worked hard to keep the scoring to a minimum. Suns player of the match Josh Copeland was busy all day and worked tirelessly alongside Brisbane based Adam Simpson in the backline.
A seven goal final quarter for the Giants saw them produce the biggest winning margin score in the competition thus far and were superbly lead by Captain David Rattenbury who brought up the 100 points for the Giants with a superb goal from 50 metres out.
Goals: Behinds: Total: Game 1: 18 11 119 6 6 42
Central Giants: S. Parton 5, J. Bowden 4, S. Butler 3, D. Rattenbury 2, l. Inglis 2, M. Van Wijk 1, S. Tabaillou 1.
Northern Suns: L. Beattie 2, N. Lenihan 2, C. Mc Williams 1, H. Scarf Matthews 1.
Player of the match awards:
Central Giants: James Bowden
Northern Suns: Josh Copeland
Western Crows vs Southern Saints:
The Western Crows and Southern Saints were the two remaining unbeaten teams in the competition and were at full strength to set up what was going to be a tight match.
Both sides started slowly to pace themselves on a day where humidity was above 90% and the defence from both sides were playing well with Captain Jared Court and Fraser Stevens leading the way for the Crows. Otago based Reyne Westbury continued his good form in front of goals by kicking two for the quarter to give the Saints an 8-point lead at quarter time.
In the second, the Saints seemed to have left their kicking boots on the sideline as they had seven scoring shots on goal, only to miss them all. The Crows made the Saints pay with Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas kicking two goals to give them the lead at half time.
The Crows worked hard in defence throughout the third quarter by keeping the Saints scoreless while Northlander and best player for the Crows Ben Armstrong shone by gathering multiple possessions and kicking a magnificent goal to heap more misery on the Saints.
William Warbrick and Joseph Ligaliga for the Crows continue to impress as they once again showed they should be playing this level of competition. Warbrick is strong in the air and is hard to stop if he gets the ball in his hands.
There was only 12 points in it going into the final quarter but the Crows closed out the game through Dan Benny (Otago) and Zeon McNabb (Counties Manukau) to hand the Saints their first loss of the season and cement their spot at the top of the table.
Goals: Behinds: Total: Game 2: 7 7 49 3 11 29
Western Crows: T.Tipene-Thomas 2, B. Armstrong 2, A. Harris 1, W. Warbrick 1, D. Benny 1, Z. McNabb 1.
Southern Saints: R. Westbury 2, S. Guttenbeil 1.
Player of the match awards:
Western Crows: Ben Armstrong
Southern Saints: Justin Clark
Next week’s games in the AFLNZ Premiership will see the Giant’s take on the Saints in what will be a mouth-watering match at QBE Stadium at 11.45am. Game 2 will see the Northern Suns look to get their first win under their belt as they take on the Western Crows at 1.45pm.