The Southern Saints have produced a stunning display of football to upset ladder leaders, the Western Crows by 25 points in round 3 of the AFL New Zealand Premiership at QBE Stadium yesterday afternoon to leapfrog them on the table and takeover number one spot.
The Crows were coming off back to back wins and forward Joseph Alesich-Tamariki kicked a goal within the first two minutes of the game to get them off to the perfect start.
He then suffered an ankle injury which saw him sidelined for the rest of the game.
The fast start quickly came to a halt as the Saints fired up as Carlos Donnell-Brown collected a loose ball in the midfield and unleashed a booming kick form 70 metres which resulted in a goal.
From there, they kicked another four unanswered goals to take a 22 point lead into the first change.
The second quarter was a stark contrast to the first as both sides played defensive footy.
Saints best on ground Travis Walker was having a strong game in the ruck and round 1 rising star Kenta Ukita continued his hot form in year’s premiership.
Kicking with the wind, Sam Anderson kicked the Crows only goal for the quarter, while their defence managed to stop the Saints from kicking a goal for the term.
Ty smith opened the scoring for the Crows in the third quarter, and similar to the first quarter, it was all the Saints as their forwards kicked another four goals for the quarter while the backline of Sucu, Farris, Boyce, Donnell-Brown and Bissett was proving hard to penetrate for the Crows.
Shane Leat was quiet early on but managed to work his way into the game in the second half.
With the margin at 25 points going into the final quarter, the Crows would have been confident that they could get themselves back in the game following their trend of coming home strong this season.
Andriu Sucu made a bold claim for goal of the year at the start of the fourth quarter with an intercept mark in the forward line and kicking a goal from the boundary 40m out.
Jay Johnson tried to spark a late comeback with back to back goals but it was Saints young talent Jevaan Croft who strolled into an open goal as he sealed sealed a famous victory to win their second game of the season.
Number 2 draft pick, Travis Walker showed why he was selected so early on in last years draft. Playing in the ruck, he dominated the contest and gathering multiple possessions.
The support cast:
The Saints backline were phenomenal. The Crows are well known for their attacking flair and the back six were relentless all game with their defensive pressure.
The consolation effort:
Alastair Maisey played one of his best game of Premiership footy. The strong defender worked hard all game and never gave up.
Southern Saints: James Southby 3, Travis Walker 2, Tom Turner 1, Andriu Sucu 1, Harley Jenkins 1, Jevaan Croft 1, Carlos Donnell-Brown 1, Alex Fakatoumafi 1, Doug McJorrow 1.
Western Crows: Sam Anderson 2, Jay Johnson 2, Ty Smith 1, Joseph Alesich-Tamariki 1, Drew Bridge 1, Jordan Thompson 1.
Best on ground:
Southern Saints: Travis Walker
Western Crows: Alastair Maisey