The Southern Saints have won their first game of the season after defeating the Northern Suns by 13 points in round 5 of the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership. Saints Captain Michael Boyce and midfielder Misilifi Faimalo were instrumental in the win as they now look to build on their slow start to the season.
In game 2, an 8 goal final quarter has seen the Central Giants rack up a massive win over the Western Crows at QBE Stadium. Midfielders James Dakin and Blake Nahu were outstanding for the Giants and the win extends their undefeated streak to 5 games.
Southern Saints vs Northern Suns:
During the warm up, 2017 Premiers, the Southern Saints looked like a team who were motivated to get their first win of the season as they produced an all round performance against the Northern Suns.
It was a tight tussle for the first half as both sides matched up well with each other and went goal for goal.
Suns captain James Kusel gave the crowd some entertainment kicking a huge goal in the second quarter.
— AFL New Zealand (@AFLNZ) March 10, 2018
Saints forward Patrick Gibbs kicked two first half goals as they Suns went into halftime with a three goal lead.
The Suns managed to get themselves back in the game in the third quarter but a lack of accuracy in front of goal let them down. They had eight shots on goal but only managed to convert two of them.
With the game all locked up at three quarter time, the result could have gone either way but in the fourth minute of the final term, Saints best on ground Misilifi Faimalo stepped up and broke the deadlock by kicking a terrific goal from 40m out.
— AFL New Zealand (@AFLNZ) March 11, 2018
The Suns piled on the pressure in the dying minutes but New Zealand senior members Michael Boyce and Andriu Sucu held down the defensive line as the Saints recorded their first win of the season with a 13 point victory.
Southern Saints coach Craig Goodhue was happy with the win.
“I thought that we played to our potential today and we have certainly been building to it which is pleasing to see”
The umpires did a great job out there today and we worked hard for our first win”
“We were right in the game for the first three quarters but the Saints finished the game off better than us and deserved their win.” Northern Suns James Kusel.
The New Zealand superstar played a terrific game off the half forward line. His pace separates him from the rest and they 18 year old continues to improve and impress week by week.
The support cast:
The Saints defence!
Michael Boyce, Andriu Sucu and Daniel Howie heaped on the defensive pressure for all four quarters as they held the Suns to only five goals for the match.
The consolation effort:
Captain James Kusel gave it his all playing in the ruck for the Suns and Alex Awatere made a return to the competition after a week off to put in another impressive performance off the half back line.
Southern Saints: Misilifi Faimalo 2, Patrick Gibbs 2, Ryan Marsland 1, Michael Boyce 1, Clayton Walters 1.
Northern Suns: Tim Stokes 2, Peter Van Kampen 2, James Kusel 1.
Best on ground:
Southern Saints: Misilifi Faimalo
Northern Suns: James Kusel
Western Crows vs Central Giants:
It was labelled as the ‘Game of the season’ after both sides had been the best teams in the competition thus far.
The last time they met, the Giants were victorious by 21 points but the Crows were a much more settled side and were up for the challenge.
In a four goal to one opening quarter, the McKenzie brothers (Sam and James) got the Giants off to the perfect start with Sam kicking two goals for the quarter to hand them a 16 point lead at the first change.
James Dakin switched roles and played the majority of the game in the midfield. Coming up against a Crows midfield which included New Zealand Senior members Jay Johnson, Shane Leat, Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas and ruckman Ty Smith, Dakin outshone his more experienced opponents and is a positive for New Zealand footy as he leads the next wave of rising stars.
The Giants defence kept the Crows to only two behinds in the second quarter with Brad Ingram and Chris Bailey holding down the fort until halftime.
Crows forward Brad Wade got his team back into the game with 2 goals in succession and at the three quarter time break, the margin was only 18 points.
In their previous round 2 clash, the Crows kicked seven unanswered goals in the final term to almost steal victory. The Giants turned the tables this time around as it was an onslaught in the final quarter as they switched on the afterburners to kick eight unanswered goals and push the winning margin out to 67 points.
Cantabrian Dean Smith will remember his first Premiership goal for years to come after the defender made a break down the wing, was involved in a quick one, two and then streamed into the forward line to kick a stunning goal.
Crows best on Ground Sam Burdett managed to keep James Bowden to only one goal for the match.
The Giants have now gone five games undefeated and are looking the goods to finish the season without a blemish.
“I thought the scoreboard didn’t reflect the game as it was a tight and hard game for the majority of the match” Giants best on ground Tristan Burnett
Giants head coach Izaak Williams:
“The Crows are a good side and before the game we spoke about having a strong fourth quarter and we managed to achieve that which is fantastic to see.
We had a good mix of players step up each quarter and so we aren’t having to rely of the same players every game.”
Tristan Burnett was phenomenal for the Giants. He stepped up another level in his intensity and communication on the field and provided guidance to younger players James Dakin and Blake Nahu.
The support cast:
Giants Captain Sam McKenzie kicked his best haul this season with a total of five goals for the match. McKenzie had two in the first and put the game to bed with three goals in the final quarter.
The consolation effort:
Sam Burdett’s efforts on James Bowden kept the Giants full forward to only one goal for the match and Canterbury development player Finn Moffat impressed in his first game at the top level.
Central Giants: Sam McKenzie 5, James McKenzie 3, Nick Bailey 2, James Bowden 1, Tristan Burnett 1, Josh Cunliffe 1, Dean Smith 1, Elliot Bennetts 1.
Western Crows: Brad Wade 2, Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas 1, Alastair Maisey 1.
Best on ground:
Central Giants: Tristan Burnett
Western Crows: Sam Burdett
The Western Crows take on a resurgent Southern Saints side to kick off Round 6 action next Sunday the 18th of March. Both sides need a win to keep their Premiership hopes alive and kick off is 11.30am.
At 1.45pm, the Northern Suns will be out to stop the rampaging Central Giants side. The Suns will be hurting after their loss to the Saints in round 5 and they will be primed and ready to cause an upset over the ladder leaders.