Saturday, March 30, 2013

Run, run, run all the way...HEY!

A GARY Ablett masterclass has secured Gold Coast a 13-point win over St Kilda in their AFL season opener at Metricon Stadium.
The Suns' captain kicked four goals, including three in the final term, to guide the home team to a shock 13.12 (90) to 10.17 (77) win.
Ablett sent the home fans into raptures when his second goal of the quarter put the Suns ahead but his best was yet to come.
The dual-premiership player stepped and fended his way through the Saints' defence, before sending a right-foot snap curling through the goal for his fourth major and a game-defining moment.
It was part of a remarkable best-on-ground display by the midfielder, who picked up a game-high 34 disposals.
The Suns' victory, their third in as many matches at their home ground after defeating Greater Western Sydney and Carlton at the end of last season, was secured through a gutsy second-half display as they made the most of a scrappy performance by an undermanned St Kilda line-up.Charlie Dixon and Luke Russell were the other multiple goal-kickers for the Suns, with Russell's second late in the fourth quarter a crucial settler after Steven Milne had closed the margin for St Kilda.
The Saints, led by captain Nick Riewoldt's two goals, had looked to have settled when they booted five-goals to none in the second-quarter to turn an 11-point first-quarter deficit into a 19-point halftime lead.
But the Suns bounced back with Ablett, Matt Shaw and teenage debutant Jaeger O'Meara kicking three third-term goals to move within two kicks of the lead at the last change.
From there the home team took control of the match through Ablett's inspiration and some St Kilda ill-discipline, the visitors conceding three 50m penalties and handing the Suns' their first two goals of the final term through free-kicks.
Late goals by Milne and Terry Milera gave the Saints hope of snatching a win but Aaron Hall's late breakaway major sealed the win and sparked celebrations.
Suns coach Guy McKenna made the claim after the match that Ablett is a better player than his father, Gary Ablett Snr.
He went on to suggest his captain's confidence in his young teammates was allowing the 2009 Brownlow Medallist to influence the game closer to goals.
“Gary's humble enough to say his old man is better than he is, I would beg to differ,” McKenna said.
“What we're seeing in Gary too is his leadership of understanding that he doesn't need to be in the middle now.
“That he has got the confidence and trust (of his teammates) ... his four goals clearly were telling.”
A disappointed St Kilda coach Scott Watters said his player's execution at key moments had proved the difference.
“From our point of view the effort was strong from the players, the efficiency was poor,” Watters said.
“You need both. You have to work extremely hard when you're not efficient.
“The players will be stung by that and they'll work hard to rectify it but obviously you lose a game on the back of it and that hurts.”

GOLD COAST SUNS 3.6 3.8 6.11 13.12 (90)
ST KILDA 1.7 6.9 7.14 10.17 (77)
Goals: Gold Coast Suns: G Ablett 4 C Dixon 2 L Russell 2 A Hall H Bennell J O'Meara M Shaw S Day. St Kilda: T Milera 3 N Riewoldt 2 A Siposs B Maister D Armitage J Steven S Milne.
Best: Gold Coast Suns: G Ablett C Dixon D Prestia J Harbrow J O'Meara R Thompson. St Kilda: J Geary D Armitage N Dal Santo L Hayes J Steven R Stanley. Umpires: Chris Donlon, Chris Kamolins, Andrew Mitchell. Venue: Gold Coast Stadium.

More bark...even more bite!

Western Bulldogs bring Brisbane Lions down to earth

Brett Goodes
Bulldogs mature-aged recruit Brett Goodes clears from defence against Brisbane at Etihad Stadium. Picture: Michael Klein Source: Herald Sun
THE Western Bulldogs have smashed pre-season premiers Brisbane by 68 points in a stunning round-one AFL upset.
The Bulldogs defied predictions of a tough season by dominating from the start and winning 19.13 (127) to 7.17 (59) at Etihad Stadium.
Ruckman Will Minson was outstanding and former Port Adelaide midfielder Nick Lower completely shut Lions star Daniel Rich out of the game.
Brett Goodes, the younger brother of Sydney star Adam, had a dream AFL debut at the age of 29 with his faultless game off half-back.
Another Bulldogs newcomer, ex-West Coast onballer Koby Stevens, also impressed before he left the game in the third term with a leg injury.
The win is a major confidence boost for the Bulldogs, who are a popular choice to finish in the bottom four this season.
By contrast, the Lions were unrecognisable from the powerful combination that easily beat Carlton in the NAB Cup final.

While Brisbane deserved favouritism after winning the NAB Cup, the Bulldogs' pre-season featured a 109-point pummelling from Fremantle - their opponents at Etihad Stadium next weekend.
Pearce Hanley was either reported or will come under video scrutiny for a late challenge on Daniel Giansiracusa, also in the third quarter.They were belted at the stoppages and adding to their woes, defender Matt Maguire was subbed off in the third term with a leg injury.
Bulldogs star Adam Cooney was playing despite being in hospital only days earlier with a knee infection and captain Matthew Boyd (calf) was a big absentee.
But the Dogs looked much better from the start, keeping Brisbane goal-less in the first term and taking a 31-point lead.
Lower restricted Rich to just only one possession in the opening quarter.
The Lions had their chances, but kicking 0.6 in the first term was disastrous.
Brisbane predictably rallied early in the second term, with former Demons Brent Moloney kicking their first goal in the first minute.
Another goal from Rich in the third minute reduced the margin to 20 points, but that would be the closest they would come.
The Bulldogs kicked three of the last four goals in the second term, giving them a 37-point lead at the long break.
They capped off a great day by kicking six goals to two in the third term for a 61-point lead at the last change.
Bulldogs forward Luke Dahlhaus was helped off the ground in the last term after a heavy collision.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 6.1 10.5 16.9 19.13 (127)
BRISBANE 0.6 3.10 5.14 7.17 (59)
Goals: Western Bulldogs: D Giansiracusa 3 S Higgins 3 A Cordy 2 L Dahlhaus 2 R Griffen 2 R Murphy 2 T Dickson 2 A Cooney J Johannissen L Jones. Brisbane: A Cornelius B Moloney C Beams D Rich J Brown J Redden S Martin.
Best: Western Bulldogs: W Minson N Lower B Goodes R Griffen M Wallis D Morris J Roughead K Stevens R Murphy T Liberatore. Brisbane: T Rockliff B Moloney. Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Robert Findlay, Dean Margetts. Official Crowd: 25,263 at Etihad Stadium.
AAP her sister!?

Don’t laugh, the Fremantle Dockers will be one of the AFL’s top sides in 2013. The Dockers may not receive a ton of attention in the football capital, however Saturday's win against cross-town rivals the West Coast Eagles deserves recognition as the beginning of what will be a strong year for the purple and white.
It took the Dockers a half of football to establish a scoreboard lead against the Eagles, but coach Ross Lyon’s game plan was dominant from the onset. Despite being down at the major break, Fremantle held control of the game for much of the first half as well and it will be their combined ability to defend and go forward with conviction that will make this team dangerous in 2013.
The Dockers are finally sporting a full and talented midfield, maybe the best in Fremantle history, and it showed on the scoreboard on Saturday. Dominant heading inside 50, Fremantle won the count 61-38 and controlled the same category at the half, eventually running out 28-point winners. Clearly shell-shocked in opening part of the game, but there wasn’t a lot West Coast could do with their opponents thereafter.
Ryan Crowley, cementing his status as the number one tagger in the game, did a number on Luke Shuey, while Michael Barlow and David Mundy showed how potent the midfield can really be. Complimented by cameo performances from the brilliant Nat Fyfe and Danyle Pearce, the Fremantle ball winners may not be among the competition’s best just yet, but there is the potential to create some significant damage against quality opposition. Barlow, Mundy and Pearce combined for six shots on goal and the usually attacking Fyfe, who wasn’t at his best Saturday, will also be a threat in future.
An off night from an underdone Matthew Pavlich allowed the Fremantle smalls to display what they are capable of in front of goal. Nick Suban’s career hung in the balance a season ago, but he now appears to have a heap of job security after a three goal performance against the Eagles and his ability to now play on the ball. Michael Walters was superb with three goals from his 13 possessions and Hayden Ballantyne even managed a major in what was a pretty rough night for the tiny antagonist while mid-sized option Chris Mayne was as accurate as ever with two goals straight. Even when Fremantle’s superstar Pavlich isn’t firing there are enough options forward to get them over the line against just about every team in the competition.
Ross Lyon has instilled a harsh, yet effective, accountability system in his time with Fremantle and the results deserve recognition. The potential falloff of top tier teams (Hawthorn, Sydney, Adelaide, West Coast) may mean Fremantle is able to notch a top four spot this season, however even if they don’t still expect a huge year from a club right on the cusp of turning a ton of heads.