The Southern Saints have got off to the perfect start in their 2019 AFLNZ Premiership campaign, kicking 6 goals in the final quarter to win by 34 points over an injury ravaged Northern Sun’s side at QBE Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After a close contest in the first 15 minutes of the game, it was Sun’s key forward James Considine who took the honours of kicking the opening goal of the 2019 competition.
Saints young debutant Kenta Ukita was making himself known early on, tackling anything that came his way. 172cm Ukita managed to wrap up 200cm Patrick Landy and NZ midfielder Liam Beattie in the space of two minutes to keep the Sun’s from extending their lead.
Northern Sun’s duel ruckman Patrick Landy and Josh Allen were working well together around the ground. Both players were directing some good footy to their midfielders from the stoppages as the Sun’s took a slender lead into the first break.
Finn Moffatt got the Saints back into the game halfway through the second quarter with 2 goals in as many minutes and when Harley Jenkins kicked true just before the siren, the Saints went into the main break with a 7 point buffer.
Finn Moffatt with his second goal of the quarter and the Saints hit the lead for the first time in the match. #aflnzpremiership
— AFL New Zealand (@AFLNZ) February 17, 2019
It was another tight contest to start the second half as both sides were evenly matched.
The Sun’s lost defenders Alex Awatere and Josh White to injuries, leaving them with two players on the bench for the remainder of the game.
Paul Hogan (Sun’s) enjoyed his first game creating multiple opportunities around the ground.
Saints defender Andrew Bissett impressed in the second half with some great intercept marks to relieve pressure in the backline.
Harley Jenkins kicked his second goal of the game to extend the saints lead to 2 goals late in the third term.
The Sun’s weren’t going to lie down and when Chris Bailey linked with Liam Beattie down the wing to set up James Considine’s second goal in as many minutes, the deficit was only a single point at three quarter time.
With a close finish on the cards, the Suns were dealt a massive blow at the start of the final quarter when Sun’s number 1 draft Patrick Landy and new Captain Ben Hick were involved in a head clash which sidelined them for the remainder of the game.
The Saints then managed to take advantage and kicked 6 unanswered goals to get their first win of the season.
Canterbury based Kenta Ukita had a dream debut in his first Premiership game. The young talent provided a heap of defensive pressure and showed no fear getting involved in contests with players twice his size.
The support cast:
Saints Captain Michael Boyce had a strong game in the middle of the ground. His experience with playing for New Zealand shone brightly as he directed his troops throughout the game.
Harley Jenkins finished with 4 goals for the game in an impressive start to his Premiership career.
The consolation effort:
Number 1 draft pick Patrick Landy was having an outstanding game until he was taken off injured at the start of the last quarter. He was involved in multiple contests and showed why he was taken as the first pick in last years draft.
“It was great to see the heart from the team after losing so many players. I’ve already seen a number of improvements from last year’s squad which mean’s we are heading in the right direction.” Northern Suns Head Coach, James Bowden.
“It’s great to see the team put into play the structures we have been working on and hopefully we can roll that out over the season.” Southern Saints Head Coach, Andrew Congalton.
Southern Saints: Harley Jenkins 4, Finn Moffatt 2, Alex Fakatoumafi 1, Michael Boyce 1, Jevaan Croft 1, Carlos Donnell-Brown 1.
Northern Suns: James Considine 3, Jonah Christians 1, Lewis Gill 1.
Best on ground:
Southern Saints: Kenta Ukita
Northern Suns: Jonah Christians