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Gold Coast Suns upset Fremantle Dockers

Who can get a read on the Gold Coast Suns? Last week’s unexpected toppling of Sydney away was one thing, but this team’s inconsistency within and across games has been their unwanted trademark for too long. Backing it up at home against this year’s biggest improvers, the Fremantle Dockers, was a serious test of this flaky team’s mettle.

Well, they passed. The Suns beat the Dockers at their own game – they were harder at the contest for longer, they were patient, and they exposed the Dockers’ weakness in attack with probably their best exhibition of team defence. They were rewarded with their second win in a row against excellent opposition, an important step forward.

Brandon Ellis celebrates.Credit:AFL Photos

Mabior Chol led the scoresheet with four goals for the Suns, but others were more instrumental in the victory. All their leaders stood up – Jarrod Witts beat Sean Darcy in the ruck, Sam Collins was impassable at full-back, and Touk Miller and David Swallow were superb. Brandon Ellis also played his most effective game for some time.

The Suns hit the scoreboard first, and in unlikely style, with Witts snapping the ball from front and square of a pack. But at that stage, it was against the run of play, the Dockers virtually impenetrable across half-back, their defensive pressure and ability to close space to the fore.

Neil Erasmus, in his fourth game, got Fremantle on the board with his first AFL goal, cleverly poached out of the hands of Wil Powell. The Dockers were making the Suns work for every opportunity, leading to both forced and unforced errors as the home side perceived pressure even when they were clear.

But the Dockers couldn’t convert on the scoreboard, and as drizzle began to sheet across the ground, it was the Suns who raised the tempo. Swallow put the Suns in front after Alex Pearce slipped an arm over his shoulder. The former skipper then won a hard contest at half-forward, allowing Chol to pick up the spoils.

The former Tiger had a second close to half-time, giving the Suns four in a row and a 19-point lead in difficult conditions. That became 25 points within a minute of the restart, Izak Rankine handing off to Noah Anderson for a superb snap on his left deep in a pocket. Rankine’s game was notable for his defensive efforts on top of the opportunities he created.

The Suns enjoyed their second big win on the trot.

The Suns enjoyed their second big win on the trot.Credit:Getty Images

Now it was Fremantle who couldn’t find their way through the Suns. They had much the better of the inside 50 count – 47 to 26 at three-quarter time – for just seven scoring shots, going goalless since the 25th minute of the first quarter. The Suns only had to finish the job; just one more goal would have done it.

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Krzysztof Stanowicz

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