A sprinkling of Ashanti Bush magic provided a highlight in the final game of the Gold Coast SUNS’ best AFLW campaign yet.
The SUNS were beaten on the day to finish with a 5-5 record for Season Seven, bettering last season’s three wins and a draw and leaving plenty for Cameron Joyce’s side to work with heading into 2023.
The SUNS were playing catch-up from the start with the Giants kicking their first goal inside the game’s opening moments – one of three for the first term, building a lead the SUNS weren’t ever able to reel in.
“It certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to finish off the season being our best yet in the AFLW,” Joyce said.
“I think the first half was the difference. The Giants were just a bit cleaner, took their opportunities in front, kicked straight and put us on the back foot.
“We were able have enough opportunities in the end to win it – it was 12 shots to nine – but we weren’t able to capitalise on those.”
It was the SUNS’ speedy Northern Territory product who lit up Henson Park with a goal in the second term that will be in hot contention for Goal of the Year.
An impressive show of pure speed to beat her opponent and gather the loose ball was only bettered by an incredible finish with the outside of the boot tight up against the boundary.
It was Bush’s second career AFLW goal, coming just a quarter after her first.
“She was great. We know the talent, it’s just a matter of making her comfortable, understanding what we’re asking of her and then her going and performing,” Joyce added.
“We know she’s got more to give and the talent she possesses - it’s hard to stop when she’s in full flight.”
Attention now turns to 2023 and taking their game to the next level once again.
“We’ll review strongly on what we’ve done well but really focus in on what the next iteration is,” Joyce continued.
“We’ve altered things from last season, most of which has been successful, but we know there’s a gap to those top teams and that’s what we’ll be chasing over these next 10 months.”