The Northern Suns produced a major upset in the fourth round of the AFLNZ Premiership defeating the previously unbeaten Western Crows by 30 points to turn the competition on its head. In the early game, the Southern Saints bounced back after their loss in round 3 to run away with a 79 point victory over the Central Giants.
Southern Saints vs Central Giants:
The Central Giants had their tails up after coming off a big win against the Suns while the Saints suffered their first loss of the season last week to the Crows and were looking to bounce back.
The Giants were missing full forward James Bowden for this week’s game and needed a big effort up front if they wanted to win. Jackson Clince provided the first goal of the game and the Giants went into quarter time with a 10 point lead.
A tight second quarter meant that the defence from both teams were doing well to suppress any attacking raids. The ever reliable Brandon Sucu and fellow Saint Cullen Marsters were great in defence while down the other end of the field Wellington based Alex Awatere stood tall for the Giants.
With only a slender 5 point lead at half time, the Saints stepped it up another level in the third quarter through midfielders Sam McKenzie and Ben Hick. There was no stopping the hard running Auckland duo as they moved the ball up the field and provide good footy for the forwards.
A 7 goal final quarter ensured the Saints a big victory over the Giants with Brad Wade kicking a total of 7 goals for the Saints and combining well Otago based Reyne Westbury, 6 goals.
The 79 point victory boosted the Saints percentage to leapfrog the Crows into first position on the ladder.
Southern Saints: B. Wade 7, R. Westbury 6, S. McKenzie 2, T. Misiloi 1
Central Giants: J. Clince 1, N. Blundell 1, L. Inglis 1
Player of the Day:
Southern Saints: Troy Brown
Central Giants: Seb Serrano
Western Crows vs Northern Suns:
It was a tale of David vs Goliath as the unbeaten Western Crows took on the bottom of the table Northern Suns.
Lead by stand in Captain Liam Beattie, the Suns kicked 3 early goals to surprise the Crows and take a 20 point lead into the first break.
Ruckman Jackson Rolleston from the Waikato produced one of his best games in the Premiership so far as he combined with midfielders Tim Stokes and Liam Beattie in the middle of the park.
Josh Copeland was strong once again at the back for the Suns as he controlled the backline through solid communication.
The Suns lead by 3 goals at three quarter time but the Crows weren’t a team to lie down. Joey Alesich-Tamariki and Crows man of the match Alastair Maisey produced 2 quick goals at the start of the fourth quarter to get them back within 2 goals.
It was the Suns day in the end with small forward Josh Cunliffe finishing the game with 4 goals for the Suns in a man of the match performance to help his side gain a famous first victory in the national competition.
Northern Suns: J. Cunliffe 4, T. Stokes 2, J. Drinkall 1, J. Rolleston 1, J. Brown 1, K. Whitford 1, T. Rakich 1.
Western Crows: J. Alesich-Tamariki 2, B. Armstrong 1, Z. McNabb 1, A. Rice 1, A. Maisey 1
Player of the Day:
Northern Suns: Josh Cunliffe
Western Crows: Alastair Maisey[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz8iPrM77M8&w=560&h=315]