SUNS defender Jack Bowes believes the team’s ability to compete for all four quarters has made the biggest difference in 2020.
Last seasons the SUNS were brought undone by lapses during games where the opposition were allowed to grasp the momentum and cause serious damage on the scoreboard.
But this season, expectations have been lifted and the SUNS have produced four-quarter efforts in each of their matches since the competition restart.
With the scores locked at 50 apiece at three quarter-time on the weekend against Fremantle, Bowes said the ability of the team to rise to the challenge was the most pleasing part of the win.
What stood out to me was our performance in the last quarter in particular,” Bowes told SUNS Media.
“The game wasn’t on our terms for most of the game and we had to fight really hard to get the win there in the end and credit to Freo, they defended really well.”
Bowes highlighted some of the efforts of his teammates in the final quarter; Nick Holman’s body-on-the-line approach, Matt Rowell’s effort going back with the flight in the dying minutes and Connor Budarick’s exceptional role in containing Fremantle star Michael Walters.
He said examples like those reinforced the whole team’s attitudes and efforts over the past three weeks.
“In our wins previous to that in the last quarter we were really still hunting the footy and hunting the man,” Bowes said.
“We knew that by playing that way and playing four hard quarters of footy that it was going to stand up in the really close games.
“We were glad that paid off on the weekend.”
The SUNS’ defensive group has been impressive in 2020 so far, but Bowes says they aren’t able to have that success without the work from the rest of the team up the ground.
“Obviously it helps when there’s pressure on the footy up the field so the forwards and mids have been super in that area,” he said.
“The by-product of that is some dirty ball coming in and we’ve been able to intercept a bit and play a bit more pro-actively.
“Hopefully that pressure stays on the footy and makes it easier for us.”
Gold Coast faces Geelong this weekend for its first away match of the season, and Bowes has identified what could help bring the club another four premiership points.
“Geelong have been going really well so we respect that way they have been going,” he said.
“Just from watching them against Melbourne, they had a really high number of uncontested marks so if we can take that away from them early and get the game on our terms I think that’s going to go a long way to helping us win the game.”