GREATER Western Sydney has inflicted more pain on Gold Coast, getting off the mark for 2021 with a 10-point win at Blacktown International Sportspark on Saturday afternoon.
With rain sweeping the ground through most of the match, scoring was difficult, but two first-quarter goals from the Giants was enough to eke out a 2.6 (18) to 1.2 (8) victory.
GIANTS v SUNS Full match coverage and stats
Alyce Parker was magnificent for the winners, racking up 24 disposals, including six clearances, and laying five tackles.
Rebecca Beeson (24) was also terrific, while captain Alicia Eva (14 and a goal) and Elle Bennetts (15) were also strong contributors.
Once Alan McConnell's team established a healthy 16-point lead at half-time, their defence held up brilliantly, repeatedly turning away Gold Coast's forward forays.
The Suns generated 21 inside 50s, but managed just three scoring shots, while the powerhouse Giants thrived with the ball on the ground.
After scoring a record low two points against Brisbane last round, Gold Coast looked like equalling the mark before a goal from Jamie Stanton with two minutes remaining gave them faint hope.
Alison Drennan was tireless, gathering 21 disposals, including nine clearances, and 12 tackles, while Stanton (18 and a goal) also impressed.
The Suns remain one of four winless teams in the competition.
The first blow
Two Giants called into the 21 this week got their team off to the perfect start – and it ended up being a decisive blow in the slippery conditions. Tait Mackrill played-on from a free kick 60m out from goal and expertly pumped the ball long to the advantage of Taylah Davies who juggled the wet ball before clutching it to her chest. The 26-year-old then calmly went back and drilled the goal from an angle to give the Giants a lead they never relinquished.
The Giants had many good players, but it was All Australian Alyce Parker who stood tall. Parker earned an equal match high 24 disposals with Rebecca Beeson, but it was her power running from contest to contest to help create an overlap of numbers that stood out the most. Not only did she win six clearances at the coalface, but also won six intercept possessions to show her two-way running. It's easy to see why Parker is the early season leader for disposals in the competition.
Did you see that?
With the Suns struggling early on, coach David Lake did not waste any time before switching things up. As the teams came out for the second quarter, he threw Sarah Perkins – starved of opportunities for the previous five quarters – into the ruck. Perkins gave the Suns some life around the contest and was also responsible for setting up their only goal. Deep in the fourth quarter, the Adelaide premiership player ripped the ball straight out of the ruck from a throw-up and kicked it forward to find Jamie Stanton for a mark and goal. Could we see this more in the future?
"I think the way we prepared was always going to be, not necessarily with the weather in mind, but to certainly play a more combative brand of footy than we have been, because I felt like we haven't really stood for much in the last couple of weeks. It was nice to see we put our stamp on the game like we did." – GWS coach Alan McConnell
"I thought we started a little bit slow, we should have been getting inside 30, getting the footy in a bit further. We just got to the top of 50. GWS took advantage of that and were able to go the other way. We probably didn't defend hard enough in the early part of the game." – Gold Coast coach David Lake
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.3 2.5 2.6 2.6 (18)
GOLD COAST 0.0 0.1 0.1 1.2 (8)
Greater Western Sydney: Davies, Eva
Gold Coast: Stanton
Greater Western Sydney: Parker, Beeson, Bennetts, Eva, Stephenson, Tully
Gold Coast: Drennan, Ahrens, Stanton, Levi, Surman
Greater Western Sydney: Nil
Gold Coast: Nil
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