After three quarters of pressure and intensity, the Gold Coast SUNS just couldn’t finish the job against Geelong on Saturday night. The SUNS were right in the contest heading into the final quarter but Geelong’s poise shone through as Gold Coast was held goal-less in the last. Some key takeaways from the performance have been analysed: 

Midfield matched:

There’s no doubt Geelong have one of the best midfield units in the country. Even without star Patrick Dangerfield on Saturday night, the Cats still had the likes of Joel Selwood, Tim Kelly and Mitch Duncan to come in and pick up the slack.

It was a big test for the emerging SUNS midfielders in Brayden Fiorini, Darcy Macpherson and Jack Bowes, but also the more experienced heads in David Swallow, Jack Martin and Anthony Miles. Ruckman Jarrod Witts was dominant at stoppages, amassing 51 hitouts with 14 to advantage. It allowed Gold Coast’s midfielders to get on top of the Cats and win the clearance count comfortably with 56 to 39. That’s a win for the SUNS, nullifying one of Geelong’s biggest strengths and was a big reason why the club was still in the game heading into the final quarter.

Skippers stand tall:

David Swallow and Jarrod Witts were two of the club’s best players on Saturday night, and have continued their sublime form since being handed the co-captaincy this year. Swallow was a beast in the midfield, with 19 of his 29 disposals being contested. He also led all players on the night with 13 clearances. 

On the other hand, Witts was a weapon in the ruck, easily accounting for Geelong’s duo of Rhys Stanley and Darcy Fort. He kicked his second goal for the year from a set shot, highlighted further by his work-rate to get into position and take the mark inside 50 after competing in the ruck just prior. In tandem, the pair led by example and were inspirational in their efforts on the night.

Holman’s pressure game:

Nick Holman was like a car tyre on a warm day against Geelong… full of pressure. The hard-running forward covered over 15km in the match and made 14 tackles against the Cats, an equal career-best effort. He also recorded a season-high 30 pressure acts.

Holman ranks elite amongst AFL forwards in tackles (5.6) and pressure acts (20) per game this season. His form in the last three weeks has been impressive also, averaging 10 tackles per game. The way he plays is harmonious with the SUNS’ high intensity game-plan and Holman should continue to be an important player in the weeks to come.