The SUNS stood tall when it mattered most as the game was on the line in the dying stages according to midfielder Noah Anderson.
The SUNS were forced to fight for a gritty win over Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon, kicking four final-quarter goals to record a 19-point victory.
Anderson, who was among the SUNS best, believes the final quarter dig was dividends from hard work done on the track well before the season even started.
“Last year we lost a lot of close games, so we did a lot of work in the last quarter scenario and that’s when a lot of our players stepped up and showed real composure,” Anderson said.
“It’s a little easier to hear everyone with nobody in the stands but we executed our plans really well (in the last quarter).”
It was stark contrast to the outing six days in prior in which the SUNS were dealt a heavy loss by premiership contenders Melbourne.
The SUNS didn’t waver from their plans in the lead-up to the clash with the Blues and showed they can be the strong, contested side the yearn to be.
“We’ve still got a lot of trust in our playing group and coaching staff, so it’s been a lot of reinforcing what we’ve been doing and sticking to our strengths,” Anderson continued.
“Dewy (Senior Coach Stuart Dew) kept it really simple and we just tried to show up for each other.
“We want to be hard to play against and I think we had four quarters of that.
“We looked after the backs a little more this week than last. They’re a great group, gave us some good feedback during the week and I thought out defensive pressure was really pleasing.”
One of those defenders in Wil Powell earned another Austworld Player of the Round gong after adding another impressive performance to his resume down back, finishing with nine intercept possessions and 28 disposals – only bettered by Anderson (30 disposals) and Touk Miller (34), who reached the 30-disposal mark for a 14th straight game.
The task is now to find final similar form again in the two remaining matches against Essendon and Sydney.
“We hit the nail on the head with how we want to perform. Anyone can do it once; we just have to start replicating it more often,” Anderson added.
“The support we got from everyone back home was massive. We’re obviously wishing our supporters all the best and hopefully we can get back to you soon.”