After a gallant first half against the Swans, the SUNS weren’t able to sustain the pressure for four quarters at the SCG.
Some key takeaways from the match have been broken down below.
Lukosius precocious in defence:
After playing the majority of his 13-game career as a forward, Jack Lukosius was swung into defence for the match against Sydney to come up against former rival Nick Blakey. The pair have a history of enticing duels after similarly playing on each other in the South Australia v Allies match in the 2018 U18 National Championships.
What resulted was perhaps Lukosius’ best game in SUNS colours. The 18-year-old was composed when the ball was in his area and won his one-on-ones with Blakey. He had career-highs in disposals (18) and marks (7) and covered the ground extremely well with an elite work-rate. His performance could have put him in the conversation for a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination and will give Senior Coach Stuart Dew plenty to ponder on where to play the promising youngster moving forward.
Scheer blankets Lloyd:
It went largely unnoticed during the broadcast of the game, but in his first AFL game for the year Brad Scheer played an important role for the team. The 20-year-old rookie has played in the midfield in the NEAFL this year, but on Saturday afternoon was given a forward shutdown role on dangerous Sydney rebounder Jake Lloyd.
Lloyd excels from hanging out the back of packs and collecting loose uncontested possessions which he uses to transition the ball into attack. Lloyd has played every match this year, averaging 30 disposals and seven marks per game, and has been a catalyst in a number of Sydney wins. On Saturday that wasn’t the case as he had barely any impact, with Scheer able to limit the prolific ball-winner to just 16 possessions and no marks, his worst outing in 2019. Despite the end result, Scheer’s accountability to the Sydney defender has to be recognised, sacrificing his own game to do so.
The SUNS conceded 11.6 from turnovers against the Swans – 72 of a possible 93 points. Post-match Stuart Dew said it was on the back of the team trying to be more aggressive with its ball use as the game progressed to try to score more, but on the flip side Gold Coast was punished when it didn’t pay off.
Dew said the scores wouldn’t be a deterrent to the team continuing to try to score through aggressive means, adding that he didn’t want to see the players go into their shell when they could be taking the game on. With the SUNS set to take on Richmond this week, it will surely be an area which gets looked at. Last time the two sides met in 2018, the Tigers scored 10 goals from turnovers – a stat Dew won’t be keen to see repeated.