In a nail biting finish, the Western Crows have come from behind to steal victory against the Northern Suns by 4 points at North Harbour Stadium.
Both sides came into the game without a victory in 2020 and the first quarter was tight as the Crows and Suns sounded each other out. Two goals from both teams saw the Suns go into the first break with a 3 point lead.
In the second term, the Crows sparked into gear as Kris Wilder kicked 2 of his 3 goals early on. Brendan Clark was thrust into the ruck for the majority of the game and stood tall. Clark linked well with Jay Johnson and Jay Green.
The Crows went into the halftime break leading by 15 points but it was all the Suns in the third term.
Number 1 draft pick Paddy Smith sparked the Suns into life kicking 3 goals from outside 50 as the Suns took the lead. Ben Hick, Liam Beattie and Will Dickinson were providing all the grunt work and the Suns found themselves in front by 14 points at the last change.
James Considine played his first game of the season and finished the game with 4 goals up front for the Suns.
In a tight final quarter and with the winds at the their backs, the 2019 Premiers dug deep and chipped away at the Suns as Kris Wilder kicked the winning goal with minutes left on the clock.
The Suns take on the unbeaten Saints in round 3 while the Crows tackle a wounded Giants side on February 23rd.
The current king of AFL in New Zealand Jay Green was a master around the ground. The 2019 Best and Fairest winner played a key role in the midfield and linked nicely with Jay Johnson who was also strong.
The support cast:
Kris Wilder continues to impress in the forward line. Playing in his debut season, Wilder added another 3 goals to his goal kicking tally and was a strong target for the likes of Green and Johnson to kick to.
The consolation effort:
Will Dickinson and Patrick Smith gave it their all in the middle of the ground. Both midfielders were superb once again this week and Smith got the Suns back in the game with his 3 goals in the third quarter.
“That was a hard physical game today and I must make mention to the Suns who played particularly well all game and gave us alot of grief. We came through it all and finished off the game strong in the final quarter.” Matt Cawley, Western Crows.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match coming up against the defending Premiers and everything we did out there was great today but the Crows pipped us at the post.” Adem Manderovic, Northern Suns.
Western Crows: Kris Wilder 3, Clayton Walters 3, Brendan Clark 2, Peter Van Kampen 1, Chris Bailey 1
Northern Suns: James Considine 4, Patrick Smith 3, Pete Rodgers 1, Ahku King 1
Best on ground:
Western Crows: Jay Green
Northern Suns: Will Dickinson