In a match that had everything, reigning Premiers, the Central Giants have edged a gallant Northern Suns side claiming a 12 point win in round 3 of the 2019 Premiership.
The Suns came out in the first quarter with the same commitment and content as they did in round 2 against the Crows, and it wasn’t long before Suns top goal scorer, James Considine kicked his first goal of the game.
Moments later, Will Dickinson broke free in the forward line and managed to snap a wonderful goal as the Suns extended their lead.
Suns veteran Pete Rodgers was making things tough early on for 2018 Golden Boot James McKenzie until he managed to find some space and run in to an open goal to get the Giants on the scoreboard.
Suns big man Josh Allen was a dominant figure in the middle of the ground and was working well alongside Matt Kemp and Heta Scarf-Matthews to control the possession.
At the start of the second quarter, the Giants were heaping a fair amount of pressure but the Suns were repelling the attack through defenders Paul Hogan and Louis Watt.
A lapse in concentration from young defender Liam Mayes gave the Giants an opportunity and Elliot Bennetts delivered by kicking his first goal halfway through the second term.
The Suns kept their heads and worked their way out from the middle and Lewis Gill snapped his first before James Considine added to his tally to give the Suns a 3 goal buffer halfway through the second term.
Development player Xavier Bryham was showing his potential and having a strong game for the Suns playing off the half back flank.
The Giants squeezed the margin just before half time as they kicked 2 goals late in the quarter before Josh Allen gave away a selfish 50m penalty right on the siren and James Mckenzie kicked his second to reduce the margin to only 2 points.
Tight contest @QBEStadium with the Giants kicking 3 goals to trail the Suns by only 2 points at halftime.
— AFL New Zealand (@AFLNZ) March 3, 2019
The Giants came out in the second half full of confidence and made the Suns pay in the first few minutes as James Mckenzie kicked back to back goals which saw the Giants take the lead for the first time in the match.
The Suns did manage to keep their composure and got themselves back in front when James Considine kicked his sixth goal for the game.
With a 2 goal lead at three quarter time the Suns needed to finish strong and they couldn’t have asked for a better start to the final term as James Considine had lucky number 7 and was closing in on the record of 10 that Southern Saints full forward Alex Fakatoumafi kicked in round 9 last year.
However, the Giants did what they do best and never gave up, getting themselves back in the game to trail by a single goal with five minutes left thanks to James McKenzie.
With three minutes left on the clock, James Mckenzie kicked his seventh goal and tied up the scores before the Giants kicked a further 3 goals to sneak home by 12 points and break the hearts of the Suns for the third week in a row.
It took him a little longer to get into gear this year but 2018 Golden James Mckenzie made a massive statement kicking 7 goals for the game and helping his team get back in the game in the second quarter when they needed a lift.
The support cast:
Steph Tabaiillou was named the Giants best for the day and played a great role supporting McKenzie in the forward line.
The consolation effort:
Josh Allen had his best game of his Premiership career. The tall ruckman was strong in the ruck contest and also played a crucial role of the half back flank, taking plenty of intercept marks.
You also can’t leave out James Considine, who kicked 7 goals for the game at full forward for the Suns.
“We pride ourselves as a team to finish each quarter strong and I thought that’s where we got ourselves back into the game and eventually got us the win.” Central Giants head coach, Izaak Williams.
“Thanks to the Giants on a great game of footy. I thought we played extremely well and it was one of those game where it could have gone either way. We move on and do it all again next week.” Northern Suns assistant coach, Adem Manderovic.
Central Giants: James McKenzie 7, Elliot Bennetts 2, Nathan Ryan 1, Tyson Schmid 1, Steph Tabaillou 1 Steve Howard 1.
Northern Suns: James Considine 7, Will Dickinson 3, Lewis Gill 1.
Best on ground:
Central Giants: Steph Tabaillou
Northern Suns: Josh Allen