The Gold Coast Suns defeated the weather and the Sydney Swans in a spirited match at Henson Park. Suns’ ruck Lauren Bella amassed a game-high 19 hit-outs to help her team dominate and control the contest.
The rain hammered down on an already drenched Henson Park oval for much of the contest, making bouncing the Sherrin impractical. Gold Coast was the most effective of the two sides in adapting, moving the ball quickly and sequencing possessions.
The Suns dominated the ruck, particularly through the centre square, contributing to a 44-26 advantage in inside 50s.
Suns’ midfielders Claudia Whitfort (19 disposals), Alison Drennan (19 disposals, 8 tackles), and Charlie Rowbottom (22 disposals) caused problems for the Swans midfield.
Montana Ham collected 16 disposals for Sydney in reply spending the game rotating between the back-line, forward line, and midfield. An intriguing battle developed between Ham and Rowbottom, the first-overall draft picks from the past two years.
Rowbottom, the more experienced of the two, gained bragging rights. However, according to Gowans, Ham will use the experience to continue her growth.
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With the game effectively out of reach due to the torrid conditions, Privitelli kicked both the Swans and her second goal of the match. The goal was Privitelli’s fifth of the season, tying Brooke Lochland for the team lead.
Courtney Jones also kicked a pair of goals for the Suns, including a contender for goal of the season. The audacious check-side snap from the forward pocket was even more impressive considering the horrendous conditions.
Gold Coast, sitting just outside the top-eight and trailing their rivals in percentage, had strong motivation to pile on the points. The weather certainly didn’t help, but to Sydney’s credit, the team fought to the end to limit the loss to 34 points.
Although Sydney lost the contested possessions battle with Gold Coast, the performance pleased Scott Gowans.
“I thought even our younger players and less experienced players, they took it up to them one-on-one,” Gowans said.
“Gold Coast [is] a good side; they’ve won four games in this competition, and it’s tough to win games. I thought we did really well in that area.”
However, Gowans was less pleased with the team’s performance out of the ruck.
“[Lauren] Bella’s a very good ruck for the Gold Coast; she dominated today. It gave them first use, particularly in the centre bounces. So that was disappointing for us today.
“It was probably the one disappointment we had was our centre bounces. We’ve been pretty good all year with them, but we got really beaten today so we need to go away and have a look at that,” Gowans concluded.
The two teams have two different trajectories and aspirations for the season.
Gold Coast finish its season with games against Melbourne, Carlton, and GWS, and will look to win two out of three for a chance of finals footy. Meanwhile, Sydney faces fellow expansion side Essendon next week before games against Fremantle and Geelong to close out its inaugural season.
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