Alex Sexton of the Suns (centre) reacts after kicking a goal during the Round 3 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Adelaide Crows at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast, Sunday, June 21, 2020. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Alex Sexton of the Suns (centre) reacts after kicking a goal during the Round 3 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Adelaide Crows at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast, Sunday, June 21, 2020. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Rowell’s strong message to competition

Gold Coast young sensation Matt Rowell has declared the Suns are determined to be competitive and aren't just "making up the numbers" this season.

After finishing in the bottom-four the past five seasons, the Suns have burst out of the blocks since the competition restart with barnstorming wins over West Coast and Adelaide, and 18-year-old Rowell has led the way in both.

The Round 2 Rising Star nominee stood tall against Adelaide's experienced midfield, amassing 20 disposals, 10 tackles and two goals as the second ranked player on the ground according to Champion Data.

Rowell was "proud" that the Suns were able to back-up their Round 2 display but the exciting youngster isn't satisfied just yet.

"We've just gotta recover well from this game and really build some momentum off this - we wont be happy with just two wins," he told Fox Footy post-game.

"We are not satisfied with just competing anymore and making up the numbers, we're here to win and we'll keep doing that.

 

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Matt Rowell isn’t satisfied just yet. Picture: Getty Images
Matt Rowell isn’t satisfied just yet. Picture: Getty Images

 

"We thought that last week our main thing was our pressure so we just had to bring that again… the main thing was to hunt, hunt in numbers and I think we did that from the start and it was a pretty good four quarter performance."

Rowell credited his experienced teammates for giving the young Suns brigade guidance.

He said co-captain David Swallow and fellow inside midfielder Touk Miller have helped improve his game from the moment he arrived at the Suns with the first pick in the 2019 national draft.

 

 

"The experienced boys have been great for us young fellas I mean we wouldn't be able to have the direction without them. They've really set us up… (Touk) Miller and Dave Swallow setting me around the stoppages. From day one since I've walked in, they've shown the way for me," he said.

Asked if he was expecting attention from the Crows following his dominant Round 2 display, the youngster was unfazed.

"Not really I just go out there and play footy so I'm not worried about it that much," he said.

 

 

RISING SUNS SEND CROWS CRASHING DOWN

Greg Davis

To butcher the title of a 1969 hit from The Beatles - here come the Suns.

And they're all right.

The Gold Coast have had their fair share of false dawns in their short history but the one-time whipping boys of the AFL drew a line in the sand with an emphatic 53-point thumping of the atrocious Adelaide at Metricon Stadium.

It was the first time that the Suns had ever beaten the Crows.

Adelaide failed to register any score in the opening quarter to make it the first time the Gold Coast had ever kept an opponent scoreless in a term.

Boom 18-year-old Matt Rowell provided more clips for the highlight reel with two spectacular goals while key forward Ben King booted three goals for the rampant home side as Adelaide's perplexing fall from grace since the 2017 grand final continues

Quite simply, the Crows are in crisis and it is hard to see any other side collecting the wooden spoon.

They only narrowly avoided their lowest-ever score of 24 points from Round 18, 2011 against St Kilda.

The final margin flattered Adelaide.

Rowell was best-on-ground again with 20 disposals, 12 contested possessions, three clearances, 10 tackles and three inside 50 entries to go with his two goals.

But he had plenty of help all over the ground with co-captain Jarrod Witts, Brandon Ellis, Ben King, Touk Miller, Lachie Weller, Hugh Greenwood and Queensland product Connor Budarick among the best in an outstanding collective effort.

They looked on track to challenge their biggest ever win - 86 points over Hawthorn in Round 3, 2017 - but the fourth term turned into junk time with the four premiership points long-sealed.

 

Ben King has been dominant in attack for Gold Coast.
Ben King has been dominant in attack for Gold Coast.

 

The Suns led by 58 points at the last change after continuing the carnage in the third quarter with the high point being an Ablett-esque goal from Darcy MacPherson who was against the boundary line with no angle to work with but managed to steer the ball home.

The Suns scorched their way to a 35-point lead at halftime with a four-goal pile-on in the second term allowing the Gold Coast to cash-in on their dominance.

King, Alex Sexton and Ben Ainsworth all kicked truly to extend the home side's buffer before Rowell put the cream on top when he burst out of the centre square and pumped the Sherrin through the posts on the run off his non-preferred left foot.

It impressed Collingwood senior coach Nathan Buckley who quickly took to Twitter to praise the stunning goal and Rowell's old-school habit of tucking in his jumper.

 

Hugh Greenwood and Matt Rowell enjoy a goal from the Round 2 rising star.
Hugh Greenwood and Matt Rowell enjoy a goal from the Round 2 rising star.

 

It was certainly an old-fashioned carve-up.

From the first bounce, the Suns had an intensity and urgency in their body language that was certainly not present in their Crows rivals.

And the numbers from the first quarter backed that up.

The Suns had 26 more disposals at quarter-time, 18 more contested possessions, 11 more clearances and 15 more inside 50 entries. Yet they also had four more tackles.

The Gold Coast peppered the goals early but their radar was a bit off until MacPherson eventually registered the first major.

Ben King kicks for goal in Gold Coast’s emphatic victory.
Ben King kicks for goal in Gold Coast’s emphatic victory.

King opened his account late in the first term to give the Suns a 19-point advantage at the first change while the Crows' tally resembled a row of duck eggs.

Darcy Fogarty kicked Adelaide's only goal of the first half, four minutes into the second term. Four Crows did not touch the ball in the first term while three had just the one touch to their name.

Suns senior coach Stuart Dew was proud of the way his side backed up from last week's win over West Coast.

"Last week was exactly what we wanted to do and we set ourselves a challenge to repeat that maturity on the back of last week,'' he said.

"We've got into a spot in the last couple of weeks where guys understand they don't have to go over and above and if they stray from that it's detrimental to the team.''

Suns senior coach Stuart Dew was proud of the way his side backed up from last week's win over West Coast and praised the effort across the park.

"Last week was exactly what we wanted to do and we set ourselves a challenge to repeat that maturity on the back of last week,'' he said.

"We've got into a spot in the last couple of weeks where guys understand they don't have to go over and above and if they stray from that it's detrimental to the team.''

Crows coach Matthew Nicks cut a dejected figure post-match.

"Fortunately or unfortunately we have to get straight out of the facility because there's another game on. It's hard to review, we haven't sat down as a group yet and we'll do that tonight, we'll get straight onto it but we are in a world of hurt at this point,'' he said.

"Just nowhere near the level. The intensity is not there. So we've got some conversations.

"To come back in this sort of form, it's just not at the level. We've got work to do.

"We expected a response (after getting thrashed by Port Adelaide in The Showdown last week). We had a really positive week on the track after some reality and we weren't able to deliver.

"The first quarter, contested ball. However you want to look at at that, I'm sick of talking about it, to be honest.

"When you are pinned in your back 50 for the whole first 20 minutes of the game, it's hard to come back from there. It gives the opposition confidence, it drains your energy so we've got some things to answer. As a midfield, we've got work to do.

"There's too many areas for me to be angry with one but not the other.''

Nicks said staying in the Queensland hub would be a good thing for the club and vowed to "work through this". The Crows coaching and playing staff were set to meet last night after being given only 20 minutes to leave Metricon Stadium.

"We'll talk about why. We'll have a conversation around gameplan, we'll have a conversation around contest, intensity. We'll have a conversation around everything, effort. We'll go there,'' he said.

He said Ned McHenry, Chayce Jones and Ben Keays showed some positive signs for the Crows.

"There's some light there. It's not extinguished but we are in a world of hurt,'' Nicks said.

 

 

 

 

GOLD COAST 2.7 6.7 10.8 12.10 (82)

ADELAIDE 0.0 1.2 1.4 4.5 (29)

Goals: Gold Coast: B King 3 D MacPherson 2 M Rowell 2 A Sexton B Ainsworth C Budarick L Weller T Miller. Adelaide: B Crocker B Keays D Fogarty T Walker.

 

GREG DAVIS' VOTES

 

3: Matt Rowell

2: Jarrod Witts

1: Touk Miller

Best

Suns: Rowell, Witts, Miller, King, Ellis, Weller, Budarick

Crows: Laird, M Crouch, B Crouch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Rowell's strong message to competition


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