Round 6 of the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership saw the Southern Saints upset the Western Crows by 7 points to win back to back games at QBE Stadium over the weekend. Saints Captain Michael Boyce and Carlos Donnell-Brown were clinical in the middle of the ground.
In the second game of the day, the Central Giants have made it six wins out of six after defeating the Northern Suns by 63 points and go one step closer to securing the 2018 Premiership.
Western Crows vs Southern Saints:
When these two sides met back in Round 3 this season, the Crows demolished the Saints by 79 points. With a much more settled line up, the Saints wanted to avenge their loss as they came prepared and ready to go from the opening bounce.
It was a first quarter blitz from the Saints as they piled on six goals kicking with the wind to set themselves up with a 33 point lead at the first change.
Kicking with the wind in the second quarter, the Crow’s fought back strong with goals from Al Maisey, Jay Johnson, Zac Maio and Ty Smith to reduce the margin to two goals on halftime.
Saints midfielder Ryan Marsland, who has had a great season so far, suffered a broken ankle on the stroke of halftime and will miss the rest of the season.
“Ryan will be a huge loss for us. He was a respected leader on the field and was playing fantastic football and wish him all the best in his recovery.” Saints Coach Craig Goodhue.
A tight third quarter was highlighted by Carlos ‘The Weapon’ Donnell-Brown who kicked a contender for goal of year after the midfielder slotted a goal from an almost impossible angle from the forward pocket.
— AFL New Zealand (@AFLNZ) March 17, 2018
Former New Zealand senior representative player Alex Fakatoumafi has settled into his role with the Saints nicely as the full forward bagged five goals for the game. This brings his tally to nine for the season.
The Crows kicked the final four goals of the match but just fell short as the Saints held on for their second win of the season by 7 points and move into third spot on the ladder.
“We had a focus on containing the Crows midfield of Leat, Johnson and Tipene-Thomas and I felt we achieved that today which played a big role in the win.” Craig Goodhue.
Saints Full Forward Alex Fakatoumafi kicked a career high five goals. Having to overcome injuries over the past 2 seasons, Fakatoumafi is once again confident in his game play and is taking some great marks and proved the difference between the two sides.
The support cast:
Prior to his injury, Ryan Marsland was having a terrific game out of the middle of the ground for the Saints. Marsland delivered quality football into the forward line and managed two goals for himself as well.
The consolation effort:
Alastair Maisey is enjoying his footy at the moment and it’s showing on the field. The swingman has spent time in both attack and defence this season and kick three goals in a losing effort.
Southern Saints: Alex Fakatoumafi 5, Ryan Marsland 2, Clayton Walters 2, Luke Williams 2, Carlos Donnell-Brown 1.
Western Crows: Alastair Maisey 3, Zac Maio 2, Shane Leat 1, Ty Smith 1, Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas 1, Jay Johnson 1, Lewis Gill 1, Steph Tabaillou 1.
Best on ground:
Southern Saints: Andrew Bissett.
Western Crows: Alastair Maisey.
Central Giants vs Northern Suns:
With the Saints upsetting the Crows in the early game, the Central Giants were aware that a win would edge them one step closer to the 2018 Premiership.
The Suns kicked with the wind in the first quarter but were unable to capitalise as the Giants took control of the game early on.
Giants on ballers, Josh Cunliffe and Blake Nahu delivered quality football to forwards Wayne Sullivan and James McKenzie who kicked early goals which saw them take a 7 point lead into the quarter time break.
In the second quarter, the Giants were ruthless on attack as the forward line kicked 5 goals while the defence kept the Suns scoreless.
The Giants were up by 6 goals at half time with Braedyn Collins producing a solid game early on.
Golden Boot favourite James McKenzie kicked 5 goals for the game to extend his lead at the top of the leaderboard. McKenzie now has 19 goals for the season and has the Premiership record (26 goals) in his sights.
As they have done all season, the Giants finished off the game strong kicking five more goals to extend their unbeaten run to six games in this year’s competition.
“Our backline has been super strong and that has been the factor in us winning these games. We only conceded 28 points today and that gives our forward line confidence knowing that they only need to kick around six or seven goals to win the game.” Giant’s Captain Sam McKenzie.
The Giants defence was again phenomenal.
Each week, they put in a stellar effort to restrict the opposition and are conceding an average of 35 points per game.
Nick Rhodes was named best and was well supported by Dean Smith, Tayne Lockwood and Chris Bailey.
The support cast:
James McKenzie and Wayne Sullivan kicked 9 goals between them for the match with Sullivan’s four goals all coming in the first half.
The consolation effort:
Josh Hook from Otago produced a best on ground performance for his efforts. His skill execution was spot on all game and never gave up.
Central Giants: James McKenzie 5, Wayne Sullivan 4, Declan Crann 2, Sam McKenzie 1, Blake Nahu 1, Josh Cunliffe 1.
Northern Suns: Josh Allen 2, Josh Sedgwick 1, Brad Maloney 1.
Best on ground:
Central Giants: Nicholas Rhodes.
Northern Suns: Josh Hook.
The Southern Saints will be looking for a hat trick of victories when they look to cause another upset against the undefeated Giants when they clash at 11.30am.
Following their defeat to the Saints, the Western Crows need a win against the Northern Suns to keep their Premiership hopes alive. The two sides clash at 1.45pm on Sunday March 25th.
It all happens at QBE Stadium in Albany and entry is FREE!!!