The Southern Saints produced a stunning second quarter to claim the 2020 AFL New Zealand Premiership, defeating the Western Crows by 50 points at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions , the original Grand Final date in April 2020 was postponed but with restrictions lifted, the decision was made to play a Grand Final between the top two teams on the ladder.
The match started at a fast and frenetic pace and it was the Crow’s who were the first on the score sheet when Luke Dunning kicked their first goal from a set shot at the 10 minute mark. The Saint’s were heaping on the defensive pressure through best on ground Andrew Bisset and when James Southby kicked his first goal, the ladder leaders found themselves tied with the Crow’s at quarter time.
The big win was set up by a goal scoring blitz in the second quarter where the Saints kicked 7 goals to head in to the halftime break leading by 40 points.
Saint’s Captain Michael Boyce led from the front and was playing some scintillating football around the ground. His goal from outside 50 was one of the highlights in a big list.
Just prior to the halftime break, Travis Walker excited the crowd by kicking a terrific goal which extended their lead to 7 goals.
The Crows worked themselves back into the game in the third term as Shane Leat and Captain Jay Johnson took control of the midfield. Multiple entries inside the Crow’s 50 were squandered by the efforts of defenders James Kusel and Andrew Bisset. Kusel had the job on Crow’s key forward Sam Anderson and kept him to a single goal for the game.
It was mostly even for the final quarter and the margin was too much for the Crow’s to claw back. James Kusel moved into the forward line late and was rewarded with the final goal of the game.
Saints key forward James Southby was terrific in front of goal, kicking 5 goals for the game.
It is the Saint’s second Premiership in the national competition following their 2017 title and they will be hoping to become the first club to win back to back in 2021.
Western Crows: Sam Anderson 1, Luke Dunning 1, Kris Wilder 1, Ty Smith 1
Southern Saints: James Southby 5, Michael Boyce 1, James Kusel 1, Dom Parkes-Dolan 1, Travis Walker 1, George Read 1, Josh Cunliffe 1
Best on ground:
Andrew Bisset – Southern Saints
AFL New Zealand would like to thank the following organisations and people who helped achieve what was a fantastic competition.
- Marist Rugby Club
- Physio By Design
- Auckland Stadiums
- Players and Coaching Staff