GWS were too polished for Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon, but there were some silver linings for the SUNS coming out of the match. Three key takeaways have been analysed below.
The diligence of Nick Holman in his defensive role on Giants star Lachie Whitfield was a standout for the SUNS on the weekend. Holman stuck with Whitfield all day and limited him to just 17 touches after 29 and 40 disposals in his last two games.
With just 13 disposals of his own, Holman’s sacrifice of his own game to nullify Whitfield’s impact is to be commended. The 41-gamer forced Whitfield to change his approach and shift to the half-forward line, but Holman followed and continued to make his life difficult. He won’t be required to play the same role every week, but it’s comforting to know he can when needed.
Ben King kicked his first AFL goal on the weekend, but he still found ways to contribute both in the air and on the ground. In his third game, King looked a lot freer thanks largely to the favourable conditions on the day.
His goal came from an impressive contested pack mark where he took front position and held his ground, then kicked truly from his set shot on an acute angle. He also worked well up the ground, taking an equal team-high seven marks for the day. It was King’s best performance yet in SUNS colours and one which he can build from in the coming weeks.
After winning the contested possession count in the first quarter, the SUNS were quickly overcome by the Giants’ presence in the contest. Gold Coast ended up losing the contested possession count 135-117 and the tackle count 72-55.
The Giants were clinical from stoppages in the 2nd half. They won just one more clearance (21 to 20), but launched 9 goals to 3 from this source. For GWS to have more of the ball and more tackles shows the drop in pressure by a SUNS team which has prided itself on its competitiveness this season. The team will need to improve in this area if they are to get the win against North Melbourne this weekend.