Suns run out game stronger to go back-to-back over Lions
GOLD Coast Suns Academy have gone back-to-back with wins over the Brisbane Lions Academy at the AFL Women’s Under 17 Championships. After conceding the first goal of the game in the opening two minutes, the Suns did not concede another one for the match, booting 5.9 to 0.2 in that time to run out 31-point winners over the Lions. It was an even spread of contributors for the Suns, with a couple of stars across both sides sore post-game.
After only kicking one goal in the first half last week, the Lions had a point to prove up at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, as Jacinta Baldwick marked leading out from a pinpoint pass from Kadie Fletcher just 90 seconds into the match. Less than two minutes into the game, Brisbane got on the board through Baldwick, though little did anyone know, that would be their only major of the day.
The final scoreboard did not resemble the tightness of the game – similar to the first match between the sides on Sunday, though Brisbane maintained a one-point lead over Gold Coast following Maggie O’Connell’s equaliser later in the term from a strong contested mark. After battling well through midfield through Ava Seton and Charlotte Mullins – the latter spent time in defence in the opening term – it would be a crunching tackle on Mullins early in the second term which would end her day early with a shoulder injury. By half-time, not much had changed with the Suns adding three behinds for the quarter to lead by just two points, 1.3 (9) to 1.1 (7)
Losing a key player, the Lions were already down on the rotations, but still battled hard with some inside 50s, but the 2006-born Tara Harrington again starred, gobbling up anything that came her way. Game one best on ground Alana Gee was not as dominant despite still having some classy moments going forward, and instead it was Jasmine Single and Jasmyn Smith who took control. They won plenty of it through the game, and allowed the likes of Isabella Iverach and Kayla Giles to hit the scoreboard, for the visitors to lead 3.5 (23) to 1.1 (7) at the final break.
Not having it all their own way, the Suns were just making the most of their chances, and whilst occasionally the likes of Nyalli Milne tried to break the game open – but ran about 20 extra metres through the middle and was called for too far – the Lions were more often than not able to restrict the Suns’ run. It was more the Lions struggling to get it deep and provide forwards with better looks, as Iverach became a multiple goalkicker in the third, and then Ella Calleja – who was eye-catching with her vertical leap and kicking – who added her name to the scoreboard.
Unfortunately for the home team, they only added the extra behind since the first quarter, but not through a lack of trying with Seaton battling through four quarters, and Kiara Hillier‘s work off half-back also noticeable. Daisy Carter was impressive through the middle, while Christine Watson provided a great duel with Gold Coast’s Fleur Davies in the ruck, as Davies played an outstanding game, impacting throughout the four quarters. The Suns indeed had no shortage of standouts, with Monet Feris joining the likes of Single, Smith, Iverach, Harrington, Davies, Calleja and Gee in the best.
Spending time at full-forward in the last term, Gee finished the game with ice on her hamstring, but had shown enough throughout both games to suggest she has affirmed herself as Queensland’s top prospect for 2021. With impressive players over the next three draft crops, both Academies will be pleased with what they produced over the series and will look to have a big preseason ahead of a hopefully more stable 2022.
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 1.0 | 1.3 | 3.5 | 5.9 (39)
Brisbane: J. Baldwick.
Gold Coast: I. Iverach 2, M. O’Connell, K Giles, E. Calleja.
Brisbane: K. Hillier, A. Seton, D. Carter. C. Watson, K. Fletcher
Gold Coast: E. Calleja, J. Single, J. Smith, F. Davies, T. Harrington
Picture credit: RF Photography / AFL Photos