The Western Crows have managed to do what no other side has done all season as they defeated the Central Giants by 10 points during round 8 of the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership. In a terrific game of footy, the Crows led the Giants for the majority of the match and if it wasn’t for inaccuracy in front of goal, the margin could have been much greater.
In the early game, the Northern Suns overcame a halftime deficit to score a 35 point point victory over the Southern Saints and leapfrog them on the ladder into third place with one round remaining.
Southern Saints vs Northern Suns:
The Southern Saints and Northern Suns have created a good rivalry in the Premiership over the years.
In the last four meetings between the two sides, the biggest winning margin has only been 18 points and both sides put on another great show for the fans in their round 8 clash.
The Saints were victors by 13 points back in round 5 and started the game with a flurry of goals from Mornington Peninsula development player Charlie Dixon who kicked two goals early on as the Saints went into the first break with a handy 19 point lead.
Suns forward Robbie Mostert got his side back in the game with two goals in the second term but the Saints responded well through New Zealand Senior squad member Josh Morgan-Ranui.
Coming out from the halftime break, the Suns were within a goal of the Saints but tall key forward Alex Fakatoumafi slotted one early on followed by Charlie Dixon who added added another to his total to extend their lead five minutes into the quarter.
Suns midfielder Mitch Ryan sparked a comeback and got his side back into the game with two goals and when Pete Van Kampen kicked their fourth of the quarter the Suns had given themselves an 8 point lead at three quarter time.
It was an onlsaught in the final term as the Suns piled on six goals to two and ran out 35 point winners in an impressive second half performance.
“We executed our game plan today and I was impressed by the whole team.
I gave some of the players some very hard tasks and Matt Colless and Heta were fantastic.” Suns head coach Dave Abetz.
The Suns forward line of best on ground Will Kempt and Robbie Mostert stole the show. The pair kicked six goals for the match and sparked the comeback in the second quarter to get the Suns back into the game.
The support cast:
Alex Awatere is one of the in form players in the Premiership as he showed again in his performance for the Suns yesterday.
The consolation effort:
Saints development players Blake Williamson, Sam Anderson and MPJFL stars Charlie Dixon and Matthew Bennetts all had solid games in a losing effort.
Northern Suns: Robbie Mostert 4, Will Kempt 2, Mitch Ryan 2, Jackson Clince 2, Joel Brown 1, Peter Van Kampen 1, James Kusel 1, Layton Cahill 1.
Southern Saints: Charlie Dixon 4, Josh Morgan-Ranui 2, Alex Fakatoumafi 1, Michael Boyce 1, Clayton Walters 1.
Best on ground:
Northern Suns: Will Kempt
Southern Saints: Blake Williamson
Western Crows vs Central Giants:
When these two sides met back in round 5, it was a convincing 67 point victory in favour of the Giants.
The Crows found themselves in the lead early on thanks to Alastair Maisey who kicked the opening goal of the game. Small forward Lewis Gill soccered through a great goal to extend their lead and go into the first break with a 10 point buffer.
Competition leading goal kicker James McKenzie kicked the first of his three goals at the start of the second quarter which was quickly backed up by best on ground Nick Bailey who slotted another to put the Giants in front for the first time in the game.
The Crows didn’t panic and kicked two late goals through Lewis Gill and Zac Maio and it was a one point ball game at half time.
Both sides turned up the defence in the second half but it was the Crows that kept their composure as they ran out 10 point winners and ended the 7 game winning streak of the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiers.
Cantabrian Sam Burdett must enjoy playing against the Giants as he put in another exceptional performance to receive his second best on ground award.
“For us to beat every team in the competition is a nice achievement for the season after not having won a game in 2017.
Ryan (White) and Ty (Smith) were awesome for us today in the middle of the ground and was also great to have Jake (Tucker) and Joey (Alesich-Tamariki) back as well.” Western Crows Head coach Andrew Crighton.
“We started a little slow today and the Crows came out and ran harder and wanted the ball more which was quite evident from the start.” Giants Head Coach Izaak Williams.
Sam Burdett was an unstoppable force in the backline for the Giants and managed to keep the dangerous James Bowden from kicking a goal for the Giants.
The support cast:
Wellington based Lewis Gill had his best game of the season for the Crows. Gill took some great contested marks and managed two goals to boot playing in the half forward line.
The consolation effort:
Nick Bailey and James Dakin were strong in the middle of the ground for the Giants. The pair both have a good eye for the footy and along with their speed, they managed a number of centre clerances.
Western Crows: Lewis Gill 2, Brad Wade 1, Zach Maio 1, Jevaan Croft 1, Chris Mundell 1, Alastair Maisey 1.
Central Giants: James McKenzie 3, Wayne Sullivan 2, Finn Moffat 1, Nick Bailey 1.
Best on ground:
Western Crows: Sam Burdett
Central Giants: Nick Bailey
It’s the final round of the 2018 AFL New Zealand as the Western Crows take on the Southern Saints at 11.00am.
At 1.05pm, the Central Giants will want to finish on a high after their blemish this week when they take on the Northern Suns in what will be a great game of footy.