The Northern Suns dominated the Western Crows in Round 7 of the AFLNZ Premiership to set up a blockbuster game against the Southern Saints next weekend as the two top teams strive for Premiership Glory.
Earlier on in the day, the Southern Saints defence had another outstanding game to beat the Central Giants by 49 points.
Southern Saints vs Central Giants:
With only three rounds left in the season, the top of the table Saints didn’t want to slip up against an eager and determined Central Giants side.
Four goals in the first quarter set the Saints up well as Hayden Johnston was a key target up front, kicking two goals for the game. Sam McKenzie is also enjoying his new role in the forward line for the Saints coming away from the game with another haul of four goals, his second in as many weeks.
As they have done all season long, the Saints defence was once again impressive. Conceding only 28 points for the game, the Saints also held the Giants scoreless in the third quarter with Tom Hayhoe and Tim Hollingsworth both putting in a solid performance down back for the Saints.
Big Tom Bekkers from Otago was named best on ground for the Saints. The 200cm ruckman dominated all over the ground winning most taps and taking some great contested marks.
Logan Toomer (Otago) returned to the footy field and kicked two goals up front for the Giants as Captain Dave Rattenbury continues his best season so far with another great game in the middle of the park.
Giants head coach Rob Malone was disappointed with the result but praised the efforts of his sides up and coming stars. “Our younger players played really well today, they showed a lot of enthusiasm and speed and never gave up all game which was a real positive.”
The 49 point victory keeps the Saints on top of the ladder by percentage and next weeks game against the second placed Northern Suns will be crucial as both sides look to win their maiden Premiership.
The Giants take on the Crows in Round 8 and having beaten them twice already this year, they will look to make it a hat trick of wins against last years premiers.
Southern Saints: Sam McKenzie 4, Hayden Johnston 2, Troy Brown 1, Ben Hick 1, Keegan McCauley 1, Seb Serrano 1, Nico Donnell-Brown 1.
Central Giants: Logan Toomer 2, Dawson Nanai 1, Declan Crann 1.
Player of the match awards:
Southern Saints: Tom Bekkers
Central Giants: Liam McMaster
Western Crows vs Northern Suns:
The Northern Suns produced some scintillating football as they steamrolled the Western Crows to win by 97 points during their Round 7 clash at QBE Stadium.
It was all one way traffic from the first quarter as the competitions best attacking side hit their targets early and continued to do so for the first half to lead by 8 goals at half time.
The competitions leading goal kicker Jordan Drinkall ended up with a total of five goals for the game and brings his tally to 21 goals for the season.
Captain James Kusel was awarded the Suns best on ground, kicking a goal and having his best game in 2017.
“Our defensive unit only let in twelve points today and we had players stand up and do everything we asked of them.” Suns head coach Dave Abetz was pleased with his sides defensive efforts.
Steph Tabaillou was named as the Crows best player. Tabaillou has been consistent all season and was rewarded after another outstanding game.
“It was a tough game today and the conditions made it hard. We just have to execute our skills better on the field” Chris Mundell.
The 97 point victory is their second biggest win of the season and lifts their percentage to rival the Saints for and against.
The Suns now turn their attention to playing the Southern Saints in Round 8 on April 2nd at QBE Stadium. Both sides are one win a piece from their two meetings this season. The Saints got over the line in round 2 while the Suns scrapped home by three points back in round 5 and the winner of next weekends game will place one hand on the 2017 Premiership Cup.
Northern Suns: Jordan Drinkall 5, Joel Brown 3, Tim Stokes 1, James Kusel 1, Misilifi Faimalo 1, Pete Rodgers 1, Liam Beattie 1, Jackson Clince 1, Mitch Ryan 1.
Western Crows: Steph Tabaillou 1.
Player of the match awards:
Northern Suns: James Kusel
Western Crows: Steph Tabaillou
If you live in Auckland, make sure to get to QBE Stadium in Albany on April 2nd to catch the Round 8 blockbuster between the Southern Saints and the Northern Suns. First bounce: 1.45pm.