Giants make it 4 in row as the Suns are scorched by the Crows

The Central Giants have made it four wins in a row for the first time in the competitions history as they defeated the Southern Saints by 49 points in round four of the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership. James Bowden and Josh Cunliffe did the damage up front with three goals each.


In the early game, the Western Crows overcame a tight first half to run away with a 32 point win and notch their third win of the season defeating the Northern Suns at QBE Stadium.


Western Crows vs Northern Suns:

With two full strength sides, the match between the Western Crows ad the Northern Suns was shaping up to be a cracker.

A strong wind was blowing in the direction of the Western end but all the scoring was happening at the opposite end of the ground.

It was a tight first quarter and young Suns forward Ari Cohen got the Suns on the scoreboard first through a mark at the top of the goal square. Brad Wade equalised soon after but it was Deja Vu for the Suns as Pete Van Kampen delivered a ball to exactly the same spot but this time it was Josh Mackie who marked and goaled to give the Suns a two point leader at the first change.

It went goal for goal in the second quarter as both sides played open footy. Mitch Ryan kicked a tremendous goal late in the second to put the Suns back in front but the Crows managed to score some quick clearances out of the middle to hit the lead at haltime with back with back to back goals.

The Crows outscored the Suns three goals to one in the third to extend their lead thanks to Joey Alesich Tamariki who managed another two goals for the game and bring his tally to seven for the season.

Small forward Zac Maio played another pivotal role up front kicking the final two goals for the Crows to seal a 32 point victory.

“We knew that if we could ride out the first couple of quarters, then we could look to put the foot down in the second half which is exactly what we did.” Crows Head Coach Andrew Crighton.

Man of the moment Shane Leat say’s the Crows are back to enjoying their footy in 2018.

“We settled into our game plan during the second quarter which gave us a boost.

I think the best thing for us as a playing group this season is that we are all having fun together which is being reflected on the scoreboard.”

Western Crows forward Alastair Maisey


The hero:

Shane Leat was once again leading the way as the Western Crows midfielder continues his hot form in 2018.

Leat covered ten kilometres over the course of the game and was a ball magnet around the contest all match.

The support cast:

Steph Tabaillou and Alastair Maisey switched roles for the week as Maisey (a known defender) was moved into the forward line to be a strong target up front for the Crows. He did a superb job by taking strong contested marks and kicking two goals. Tabaillou was moved into the half back line and used his pace and skill to relieve pressure on the Crows defence.

Howick Hornets (Auckland AFL) Captain Ryan White has been playing some great footy through the middle of the ground and proving his worth on both attack and defence.

The consolation effort:

Joel Brown was electrifying in the middle of the ground. With speed to burn, Brown ran all day and was named the Suns best on ground.

Cantabrian Garrett Beck continues to impress of the half back line. Beck sticks to his job and intercepts the ball well.

Defender Pete Rodgers gave it his all in a losing effort. The Suns fullback is consistent each week and is a key figure for the Suns in defence.

Goal Scorers:

Western Crows: Alastair Maisey 2, Zach Maio 2, Joey Alesich-Tamariki 2 Brad Wade 2, Luke Dunning 1, Ryan White 1.

Northern Suns: Josh Mackie 1, Ari Cohen 1, Peter Van Kampen 1, Mitch Ryan 1, Tim Stokes 1, Josh Sedgwick 1.

Best on ground:

Western Crows: Shane Leat

Northern Suns: Joel Brown


Southern Saints vs Central Giants:


Giants defender Harison Manks takes a mark over Josh Morgan-Ranui from the Saints.

With their strongest squad assembled, the Southern Saints looked up for the challenge against the undefeated Central Giants.

After a slow start to the match, new competition leading goal kicker James Bowden (3 goals) got the Giants on the scoreboard first.

Followed by a goal to Josh Cunliffe on the siren, the Giants had a two goal lead at the first break.

It was similar in the second quarter as both sides defence were working hard to keep the opposition from scoring. Bowden had his second halfway through the quarter to extend the Giants lead.

The Giants seemed to have taken a leaf from the 2017 Southern Saints defensive plan as the defenders put on a masterclass for all four quarters. They kept the Saints goalless for three of the four quarters and only Misilifi Faimalo broke the drought 2 minutes into final quarter.

Xavier Rice kept the competitions leading goal kicker James McKenzie quiet as the Saints defender held McKenzie to only one goal for the match.

Giants defender Harison Manks got one over his New Zealand counterpart Andriu Sucu as both players contested a high ball with Manks coming out on top with a top notch mark late in the fourth quarter.

“Before the match we wanted to focus on finishing off each of the quarters strong and I was really impressed in how we executed that.

I thought Tristan (Burnett) was a real leader for us in the middle of the ground and our defence of Nick Rhodes, Harison Manks and Dean Smith were tremendous all game.” Giants Captain Sam McKenzie is happy about how his side is focused each week.

The hero:

New Zealand squad member Josh Cunliffe was named best on ground for the Giants after a terrific performance in the middle of the ground.

Each time Cunliffe steps out on the field he gives it 110%. He runs hard, he works hard and makes the most of every opportunity.

The support cast:

The Giants backline were superb again only conceding two goals for the entire game. Nick Rhodes, Dean Smith and Harison Manks and the rest of the defence are conceding an average of 5.5 goals per game.

James Bowden kicked another three goals to bring his tally to twelve for the season.

The consolation effort:

New Zealand U18 squad member Josh Morgan-Ranui had his best game of the 2018 season with a spirited effort in the half forward line.

Senior New Zealand defender Andriu Sucu was moved up the field in the second half and made an impact in the middle of the ground to deliver some quality football into the forward line.

Goal Scorers:

Central Giants: James Bowden 3, Josh Cunliffe 3, James McKenzie 1, Sam McKenzie 1, Blake Nahu 1.

Southern Saints: Misilifi Faimalo 2. 

Best on ground:

Central Giants: Josh Cunliffe

Southern Saints: Tevita Taginavulau


What’s next?

The Southern Saints will be gunning for their first victory of the season when they come up against the Northern Suns at 11.30am. The defending Premiers will welcome back Captain Michael Boyce after spending the weekend on the sideline.

At 1.45pm, the undefeated Central Giants will aim for five wins in a row when they play the Western Crows in what could be the game of the season! Both sides are in scintillating form so make sure you make it down to QBE Stadium in Albany on Sunday March 11th.