The Western Crows have started out their 2023 campaign with a 1 point victory over the Southern Saints
In what was a historic day for the AFL New Zealand Premiership, the Western Crows travelled to Christchurch and QEII Park to take on the Southern Saints on their new home ground. The Western Crows shot off to a flying start kicking 2 early goals through Alesich and Hibbs to gain an edge in the contest, but the Saints capatilised on the return to play following an injury break to key forward Joey Alesich, bringing themselves back to within 1 by the end of the first quarter following goals to livewire forward Jack Synott and Cameron Howison.
The match turned into a back and forth arm wrestle with neither time letting the score get away form them. New Zealand Falcons captain Andy Howison and teammate Jarred Percival made it difficult for the Crows to get shots on goal, creating strong contests and scooping up loose possessions before starting the counter-attack.
Points were level at 27 a piece heading into the 2nd half. The experienced Western Crows spine of Shane Leat, Will Dickinson and Brendan Clark were all over the ground, turning defence to attack, and finding gaps in the Saints tough defense.
With 5 minutes to go and the Crows only up by 3 points, the Saints turned up the heat. Key forward Jack Synott showed his attacking flare, beating defenders to take shots on goal. The Crows defence, scraping through to keep the Saints to 3 behinds in the last quarter and coming away on top to win a riveting contest.
Western Crows James Ellison was phenomenal all game. The midfielder put in a best on ground performance, pushing back to take intercept marks and working forward to create opportunities for the forwards.
The Support Crew:
Tane Kirton and Shane Leat made multiple efforts up and down the field, refusing to give on the play.
The Consolation Effort:
Defender Jarred Percival was best on ground for the Saints with an impressive performance running off the half back line, constantly putting the Crows under pressure on the counter attack.
Quarter Time: Crows 2 2 14 Saints 2 1 13
Half Time: Crows 4 3 27 Saints 4 3 27
3 Quarter Time: Crows 5 3 33 Saints 5 7 37
Full Time: Crows 6 5 41 Saints 5 10 40
Western Crows: Aidan Browne 1, Jeevan Croft 1, Joey Alesich, Kikorangi Puhipi-Hibbs 1, Max Hammett 1,Will Dickinson 1.
Southern Saints: Andy Howison 1, Cam Howison 1, Jack Synott 2, Oliver Giamblanco 1.