The Gold Coast SUNS recorded the club’s first ever victory against Adelaide on Sunday afternoon in thrilling fashion, dismantling the Crows to run out 53-point winners at Metricon Stadium.
It was a comprehensive team performance, and SUNS Media have looked at a few key takeaways from the match.
Budarick’s defining match:
While much of the attention has been on last year’s picks one and two Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, a young man by the name of Connor Budarick deserves equal plaudits. The SUNS Academy product bolted into the best 22 to start the season and has remained embedded there, making the back pocket position his own.
His performance on Sunday rightfully earned him the Week 3 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination, after the youngster produced a fine performance in defence. Budarick finished the day with 16 disposals (six contested), six marks, two tackles and a goal – his first in the AFL. He’s the type of player and person to put his head down and get the job done, and was shocked to hear of his nomination – a credit to his humility. Loved internally by coaches and players, Budarick is sure to glean plenty of confidence from his breakout match.
King’s big leap:
In the first season of his AFL career, Ben King was up against opponents far bigger than he was. But now into his second year, with the addition of some considerable size, King looks set to hit the next level in his development.
The 202cm key forward spent the majority of his match opposed to first-year defender Fischer McAsey, and showed why he was touted as one of the best prospects in his draft year. King went ballistic to start the match, accumulating eight disposals and a goal in the first quarter alone to be the highest ranked player on the ground. His leading patterns were elite and saw him find plenty of separation on the lead for marks. By the end of the match, he had three goals to his name and six score involvements to record 130 Champion Data ranking points. His contested marking continues to be a strength of his game and if he can produce that kind of performance consistently, he has the potential to develop into an elite key forward of the competition.
Stuart Dew’s mantra to the players each week is simple: play your role. It was one of the most pleasing things to come out of the win against West Coast, and his players backed it up again with another consistent performance against Adelaide in Round 3.
To highlight the consistency of the group, there were only two players who had under nine disposals on Sunday, but even they found a way to continue to impact the game. It’s the foundation of Dew’s gameplan; everyone needs to contribute to get the result. With everyone pulling their weight, the SUNS were able to dominate the all the key statistical columns, winning the disposals (+70), inside 50’s (+28), clearances (+13), tackles (+18) and contested possessions (+18). If the team can continue to produce these types of efforts on a consistent basis, it will go a long way to seeing more Gold Coast victories this season.