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Gritty performance by young SUNS

Alex Malcolm   March 3, 2016 10:15 PM

Highlights: Eagles v Suns The Eagles and Suns clash in the NAB Challenge

The SUNS have lost no admirers with a gritty performance against a strong West Coast side in their NAB Challenge match at Joondalup on Thursday.

The Eagles were 18 points down at three-quarter time but finished strongly with the aid of a stiff breeze, kicking three unanswered goals to win 0.7.13 (55) to 1.6.7 (52)

Dangerous West Coast swingman Jeremy McGovern drifted forward in the closing minutes to kick the match-winner after spending most of the day in defence.

The SUNS won the contested possession count and held their own in the clearances, while their defence stood tall under a mountain of pressure during the second and fourth terms.

Suns coach Rodney Eade was really pleased with the performance of his young group despite the result.

"For three-and-a-half quarters I was really thrilled with what we were able to produce," Eade said post-match.

"The effort was probably the main thing. We won the contested ball by one against a team that's a really good contested ball side and the tackles we won by 13.

"I thought our pressure was really good and the effort from the younger guys was terrific. I think across the board there was a lot to like."

Trent McKenzie was outstanding down back with 25 possessions and five marks. He unleashed some enormous kick-outs, including one torpedo that cleared the centre circles.

Touk Miller was industrious, while Peter Wright and former Eagle Ryan Davis bagged two goals each. Wright showed plenty of promise up forward, pulling down five marks.

Gold Coast midfielder Jesse Lonergan suffered a nasty ankle injury and Jarrod Garlett hurt his shoulder late.

The Eagles had 30 more inside 50s than their opponents but struggled to hit the scoreboard.


WHAT WE LEARNED

Gold Coast: Peter Wright and Sam Day appear to fighting for the spot to partner Tom Lynch up front for the Suns, and Wright did his chances no harm with an impressive display. He took five marks and kicked 2.2. Day took a big mark and kicked a goal, but Wright shone brighter in the first three quarters.

NEW FACES
Gold Coast: Ryan Davis was impressive against his old side kicking two goals and providing some run through the wing and half-forward. Former Kangaroo Daniel Currie competed well in the ruck against Nic Naitanui. Brayden Fiorini had to wait until the second half to get his first taste of senior football.

NEXT UP
The SUNS travel home to host Adelaide at Metricon Stadium next Friday night to round off their summer.

WEST COAST 0.1.2 0.2.8 0.4.10 0.7.13 (55)
GOLD COAST 0.2.4 0.3.5 1.6.7 1.6.7 (52)

SUPERGOALS
West Coast: Nil
Gold Coast: Lemmens

GOALS
West Coast: LeCras 2, McGovern 2, Darling, Ellis, McInnes
Gold Coast: Wright 2, Davis 2, Martin, Day

BEST
West Coast: LeCras, Gaff, Naitanui, McGovern, Priddis, Sheppard
Gold Coast: McKenzie, Miller, Wright, Davis, Currie, Lemmens

INJURIES
West Coast: Jetta (calf), Brown (hand)
Gold Coast: Lonergan (ankle), Garlett (shoulder)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Farmer, Dalgleish, Williamson

Official crowd: 5021 at HBF Arena, Joondalup