The Western Crows have put a scare through the Southern Saints during their Round 6 clash of the 2017 AFL New Zealand Premiership. The Crows put up a strong fight for three quarters but were run down by an experienced Saints side at QBE Stadium on Sunday.
In the first game of the day, the Northern Suns overcame a slow start to run out ten goal winners over the Central Giants.
Northern Suns vs Central Giants:
Back in Round 3, the Northern Suns were on fire as they ran out 123 point winners over a depleted Giants side. Although the margin wasn’t as big during Round 6, the Suns looked like a side ready for Premiership glory.
The Giants struck early on in the game and sent a warning to the Suns as Tristan Burnett and Blake Nahu kicked the first two goals of the game. The Suns responded well but inaccuracy in front of goal saw the Giants head into the first break with a three point lead.
Whatever was said during the Suns huddle at quarter time worked as they came out in the second quarter and kicked five goals. The forward line was impressive but was bettered by the Suns defence as they kept the Giants from scoring the entire quarter.
“I thought we stepped it up in the second quarter and became quite dominant, especially in the midfield.” Suns Assistant Coach John Jackson
Suns forward Jordan Drinkall (two goals) was well supported by Joel Brown (two goals) and Mitch Ryan (one goal). A good mixture of height, speed and strong aerial ability shows why the Suns are the best attacking team in the competition.
Midfielders Liam Beattie, Misilifi Faimalo and Will Dickinson were strong all game. Their communication and experience control the centre clearances and make it hard on the opposition to get clean ball.
A ten goal win from the Suns keeps them second on the ladder behind the Saints only to percentage and go one step closer to winning their maiden AFLNZ Premiership.
Cantabrian Adam Clarke was awarded the Giants Best on Ground after his best performance of the season while midfielder Liam Beattie was best for the Suns.
“It was a much improved performance from the team today. We played well in patches and I don’t think the scoreboard reflected how hard we played today.” Giants Head Coach Rob Malone.
Northern Suns: Jordan Drinkall 2, Pete Rogers 2, Joel Brown 2, Jackson Clince 1, Tim Stokes 1, Liam Beattie 1, Mitch Ryan 1, Josh Allen 1, Will Dickinson 1.
Central Giants: Tristan Burnett 1, Craig Morgan 1, Blake Nahu 1, Sean Butler 1.
Player of the match awards:
Northern Suns: Liam Beattie
Central Giants: Adam Clarke
Southern Saints vs Western Crows:
The Saints won by 101 points the last time these two sides met back in Round 3 and this was a much better performance from the Crows this time around.
The Crows found themselves in front for half the game and were only ten points down at the three quarter time break. Jay Johnson (Crows) was given the role of tagging Saints key midfielder Ben Hick and managed to keep his disposals to a minimum and was awarded the best on ground for the Crows for the second time this season.
The Saints showed their experience in the fourth quarter to dominate the centre clearances and make good use of the footy in the forward line. Warwick Kain’s side kicked five goals to one to run away with a 37 point win.
“I thought the boys played well all game and it came down to the experience of the Saints that took the game away from us in the fourth quarter.” Crows Head Coach Chris Mundell.
Sam McKenzie played his best footy of the year for the Saints. His aerial marking ability was very strong and a four goal performance lifts his tally of goals to eleven for the season.
The Saints defence continues to dominate as the team concedes an average of 31 points per game. Harison Manks played a huge role in the backline and was awarded the Best on Ground for the Saints.
The Crows now turn their attention to their Round 7 opponents, the Northern Suns and if they continue to develop and keep to their structure, their could be an upset on the cards.
Southern Saints: Sam McKenzie 4, Jordan Thompson 1, Andriu Sucu 1, Lachie Kennedy 1, Carlos Donnell-Brown 1, Troy Brown 1.
Western Crows: Luke Dunning 1, Matt Mayne 1, Chris Mundell 1, Henry Boon 1.
Player of the match awards:
Southern Saints: Harison Manks
Western Crows: Jay Johnson
Round 7 of the AFL New Zealand Premiership is on Sunday the 26th of March at QBE Stadium and will feature the Southern Saints taking on the Central Giants at 11.30am followed by the Northern Suns and Western Crows at 1.45pm.