After three away games on the trot, the SUNS have returned to the Gold Coast with a win in the books, accounting for Sydney at the SCG on Saturday afternoon.
Senior Coach Stuart Dew was pleased to get the win over his former club where he served as an assistant coach, and said it was a reward for effort after a challenging few weeks away from home.
“Obviously from where we were sitting it was a pretty fast paced game,” Dew said.
“Both teams from our point of view always looked dangerous really, trying to get speed on the ball and at different parts of the game we were really worried by their aggressive ball movement and when they got ascendency in the air at different times.
“We came knowing it was going to be a real battle and at three quarter time we really stressed the aggression part in the last quarter is going to be important.
“I guess after the last two weeks, three games away to get one on the back of a couple of losses to respond as a footy club, hopefully everyone liked what they saw today to get the result.”
It was a whole-team performance which got the job done on the night, with the SUNS having ten players on the goal-scoring list.
Dew said the ability of other players to have an impact around the key forwards Sam Day and Ben King allowed the SUNS to constantly present a threat inside 50.
“I guess were trying to be as unpredictable as possible and some guys had really selfless roles tonight,” Dew said.
“Ben King was one of them, we’re not interested in how the stats sheet looks for him but he really played well on Rampe and rarely got out-marked, if at all.
“He presented for us and played that anchor role and when he got his opportunity he nailed a really important goal so I think Sam and Ben upfront played a really important role for us.”
In his second game of AFL football, Izak Rankine continues to impress with four shots on goal and two majors, including another impressive mid-air kick to get the scoring underway.
“I think his presence around the ball is really great to watch certainly the opposition know where he is,” Dew said of Rankine’s performance.
“They ran him down a couple of times and we’ll keep encouraging him to take the game on.
“He just looks like he’s enjoying his football and he should because he’s missed a lot and that’s the thing he loves.
“So that’s exciting for us to see and again he got us going with a nice goal early in the game.”
The SUNS will quickly reset after flying back into the Gold Coast, with a five-day break before playing in the club’s first-ever primetime game on Thursday night.
Dew said the fixture was a testament to the club’s hard work to build an exciting style of football which is enjoyable to watch.
“Hopefully it speaks to the brand of football were playing, an exciting brand of football and we think we’ve got some players that people would like to watch play football because we certainly do,” he said.
“We’ve still got to work on our synergy and getting our consistency because there was periods of the game where we went to sleep.
“Hopefully everyone is watching, it’s going to be just another game and it’s in 5 days’ time against a team that is red hot, so we’ll probably focus more on the Bulldogs and what we can do as opposed to the timeslot but as a club, it is exciting.”