The Western Crows have put on a superb display of football in the final quarter to stun 2018 Premiers, the Central Giants by 18 points in round 1 of the 2019 AFL New Zealand Premiership.
Tipped at the start of the season to be the top two teams in this year’s competition, the Central Giants and Western Crows produced a stunning game of football from the opening bounce.
Both midfield’s were full of talent and were sounding each other out early on in the game before first round draft pick Jay Green (Crows) slotted home the first goal of the match.
The Giants managed to compose themselves late in the first term to kick 2 goals through Wayne Sullivan and Tyson Scmid to take a 12 point lead into the break.
Captain Jay Johnson started the second quarter with an exciting goal. With the wind at their backs, Johnson gathered possession in the midfield and when noticing the forward line was open, he launched an almighty kick downfield which resulted in a goal being kicked from about 70 metres out.
The reigning Premiers, held a two to three goal lead for the majority of the match which was helped by Captain Sam McKenzie’s 4 goals for the game.
Shane Leat had a quiet start to the game by his standards, but burst into form in the second half taking multiple intercept marks in the half back line, setting up a couple of goals and even kicking one himself in the last quarter.
The Crows trailed by 19 points going into the final quarter and with the wind behind them, they backed themselves to get back into the game.
Three goals in 7 minutes reduced the deficit to only 1 point but a quick response from Tyson Scmid (Giants) meant that the Crows needed to score twice if they were to win the game.
They did just that, kicking another 2 goals before Captain Jay Johnson sealed a famous comeback victory by 18 points.
Clayton Campbell was an unknown coming into this game and he made a huge impact straight away. Based in Nelson, the 21 year old gathered multiple possessions and created a number of opportunities for the Crows.
The support cast:
The Crows midfield.
Ty Smith, Jay Johnson, Jay Green and Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas are a formidable quartet with silky skills and great execution. If they continue the way they played on Sunday afternoon, the Crows will be a force to be reckoned with in 2019.
The consolation effort:
Midfielders Matt Palmer and Tristan Burnett both had strong games with Palmer being named best on ground for the Giants. Utility Tyson Scmid also impressed playing in his first game.
“Congratulations to the Crows on a fantastic game today and both sides played some great footy. We lead for most of the game and let them back in at the end of the third quarter before they ran away with it with the wind in the final quarter.” Central Giants Captain Sam McKenzie.
“The Giants had us worried at three quarter time but was great to see the squad keep their composure and back the game plan and the execution and finish the game of strong.” Western Crows Head Coach, Chris Mundell.
Western Crows: Sam Anderson 2, Jay Johnson 2, Brad Mavor 2, Drew Bridge 1, Jay Green 1, Declan Crann 1, Shane Leat 1, Jake Tucker 1.
Central Giants: Sam McKenzie 4, Tyson Scmid 2, James McKenzie 1, Wayne Sullivan 1, Ethan Halton 1.
Best on ground:
Western Crows: Clayton Campbell
Central Giants: Matt Palmer