K rock Football

Eagles pip the Suns in a thriller

WEST Coast has broken through for their first win of the AFLW season, posting a pulsating one-point victory over Gold Coast in front of 1119 fans at Mineral Resources Park.

Remarkably, West Coast led 25-11 early in the third quarter despite the inside 50m count reading 22-5 in favour of Gold Coast.

The Eagles still led by eight points with just over two minutes remaining in Sunday’s match.

But in a thrilling finish, Suns forward Kalinda Howarth kicked truly to close the margin to two points, before a Jamie Stanton snap reduced the gap to one point after rolling just wide.

The Suns were handed a free kick 60m out from goal with more than a minute remaining when an Eagles runner got in the way of play, but West Coast bravely repelled the attack to hold on for the 5.4 (34) to 4.9 (33) win.

Eagles defender Mikayla Bowen tallied 21 disposals and a crucial final-quarter goal in a superb display, while Maddy Collier and Emma Swanson were also crucial.

Gold Coast was made to pay dearly for a series of early misses from forward Maddison Levi, who ended the first term with three behinds to her name.

Her worst shank came when she missed a set shot from 15m out on a slight angle.

West Coast, in contrast, registered four scoring shots from their four inside 50s for the term.

Three of those resulted in goals, including one to late inclusion Kate Orme, who was on the end of a beautiful series of passes.

West Coast led by 15 points at quarter time, but worryingly they were fast losing players.

Defender Tayla Bresland limped off late in the first quarter with a game-ending right hamstring injury, while forward Imahra Cameron was helped off by two trainers on half-time with what looked to be a painful leg injury.

The Suns dominated play for most of the opening quarter, and they finally broke through for their first goal when Sarah Perkins took a solid pack mark and duly converted.

Perkins limped off a short time later with a knee injury when West Coast’s Maddy Collier clattered into her in clumsy fashion, ruling her out for the rest of the match.

The Eagles didn’t enter their forward 50m at all in the second term, but they still clung to a 19-11 lead at the long break.

Gold Coast’s horror display in front of goal was summed up in the third quarter when Hannah Dunn kicked into the person on the mark when taking her 12m set shot directly in front.

In the end, all those missed opportunities came back to haunt them, leaving the Suns winless after five rounds.

(C) AAP 2021

WEST COAST EAGLES 3.1 3.1 4.3 5.4 (34)

GOLD COAST SUNS 0.4 1.5 3.7 4.9 (33)

Goals: West Coast Eagles: G Kelly I Cameron K Orme M Bowen M Caulfield. Gold Coast Suns: J Stanton K Howarth P Parker S Perkins.

Official Crowd: 1,119 at Mineral Resources Park.