Round 1 of the 2023 Smithy’s VFL Premiership Season kicked off for The Gold Coast SUNS at the Austworld Centre Oval on the Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon.
The warm Gold Coast skies proved a perfect way to begin the SUNS’ season with a 31-point win over Williamstown and the final score reading 12.11 (83) to 7.10 (52).
Bailey Humphrey lined up for his first official game in SUNS colours and got involved immediately, setting up the first goal of the match with a well-placed kick to Sam Day who marked and goaled from the goal square.
The new SUNS recruit finished with 14 disposals, three marks and three clearances in a positive first match for the club.
After missing selection for the Round 2 AFL clash against the Bombers, Mabior Chol responded to his omission with 3.2 from 10 disposals.
Also in his first official VFL start with the SUNS, Jed Anderson’s run of heavy tackles continued with seven tackles and 22 disposals in a competitive midfield, winning plenty of ball and stopping the Seagulls’ attack.
Jy Farrar and Rory Atkins provided plenty of drive for the SUNS through the middle of the ground, with 25 and 27 disposals respectively and 10 marks apiece.
Brodie McLaughlin kicked his first goal in the red and gold on the 50m line, just before the 10-minute mark of the first quarter.
Alex Davies, who finished with 22 disposals, netted the first goal of the second, after Ned Moyle unselfishly handballed off his mark inside 50.
Moyle was dominant himself in the ruck and won five clearances and 35 hitouts to his opponent’s 15.
2023 recruit Jake Stein blanketed his direct opponent and was dour in defence, holding up the key position post with aplomb.
Hewago Oea made an impact at ground level with the Papua New Guinean laying seven tackles and a fourth quarter goal being the icing on the cake.
Chris Burgess frustrated the Seagulls through his involvement in the scoring opportunities, with the Frosty Miller medallist also impressing with a difficult third quarter goal from a tight angle to extend the SUNS lead.
In Round 2, the SUNS will face the Geelong Cats, who are coming off a 16-point win, at Heritage Bank Stadium as a curtain raiser to the AFL fixture on Sunday.
First bounce is at 10:25am with early gates (Gate 3) opening at 10:15am. Patrons must have a ticket to the AFL match for access to the VFL this weekend.