The Gold Coast Suns have continued to cement Darwin’s TIO Stadium as its new home away from home with a record-breaking performance.
The Gold Coast Suns have continued to cement Darwin’s TIO Stadium as its new home away from home after a match-defining, seven-goal second term while handing North Melbourne its 10th successive loss.
Completing a 2-0 Northern Territory road trip, after blasting Hawthorn off Marrara’s premier surface last Saturday by 67 points, the Suns came alive in the second quarter, piling on 7.7 to zilch from 28 inside 50s to five.
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With the temperature almost breaching 32 degrees by the first bounce, it was a scrappy opening 10 minutes with neither side able to move the ball with any precision.
However, a towering grab and goal from Todd Goldstein broke the impasse nearly 15 minutes into the first quarter, as he and Hugh Greenwood emerged as keys to the Roos’ mini assault in front of 5523 people.
Despite a brilliant Matt Rowell snap, who was also busy with eight touches, the Roos scored majors on the back of strong defensive pressure in its forward line.
However, the Suns’ multi-pronged forward line suddenly snapped into action via its fleet footed forwards — Matt Powell, Malcolm Rosas Jr and Izak Rankine in particular — as ruckman Jarrod Witts matched Goldstein’s ability to dish off second effort possessions.
North Melbourne at least showed some fight in the third when it looked like the Suns would kick well clear; Northern Territory product Joel Jeffrey clunked a terrific pack mark while Rosas Jr unleashed a burst of pace to find Day on the lead.
A brilliant solo effort from Jason Horne-Francis, dancing around a Suns defender to slot his first and Jed Anderson’s clever snap, gave the travelling Roos fans something to remember from a largely forgettable night, as the Suns put the foot down again in the final term.
“That’s as big a smashing as I’ve seen in a long time,” North Melbourne legend David King told Fox Footy.
“That was a complete mauling at the contest and the coalface. They were just too tough, they outhunted the Kangaroos.”
The Suns’ final inside 50 tally of 81 was a club record — and the equal-third most by a team in an AFL match from 1998 onwards.
Miller full strength
Playing in his 150th game, Suns captain Touk Miller was everywhere in the first half with 19 touches.
The 26-year-old gave Darwin fans plenty of possession of substance to applaud, with 12 disposals in an utterly dominant second term.
Miller might be lobbying the league for more games in Darwin based on his BOG performance.
The only place to fly at TIO Stadium
If you were a supporter at Marrara on Saturday, the place to be in the first half was up the airport end, with 11 of 12 goals scored in that direction.
After a listless opening term, the Suns exploded with seven in the second as Matt Powell pounced on a spillage to get boot to a mid-air ball to extend the Suns lead to 17 points.
Then Northern Territory product Rosas Jr provided the smoothest one handed pick and goal you’re likely to see this season.
Battle of the Rucks
Last week against Hawthorn it was the Jarrod Witts Show in the ruck.
However, the league’s leading tap man had a little more competition against North Melbourne’s Tristan Xerri and Todd Goldstein, who had the upper hand early in the piece with a combined 11 hit outs.
But Witts rediscovered his touch in a decisive second quarter, collecting 10 all on his own to feed his hungry midfield.
— NCA NewsWire