abc– West Coast has beaten Gold Coast by 25 points on a rough day for the Suns, who lost Matt Rowell to an apparently serious knee injury early in the game in Perth.
Rowell came down hard on his left knee in a Zac Langdon tackle and ended the game on crutches and in a knee brace, sparking fears the second-year player will once again miss a big chunk of the season after the 19-year-old’s rookie year in 2020 was ended early by a shoulder injury.
Coach Stuart Dew may have allayed some concerns at half-time though.
“It’s not serious, serious,” Dew told Fox Sports.
‘But it’s serious enough [that] it will keep him out, from what we can tell right now, for a few weeks. But we don’t think it’s anything too major.”
Despite losing Rowell in the first quarter, the Suns gave West Coast a serious challenge and appeared ready to pull off the upset, until the Eagles pulled away with the last five goals to win 12.11 (83) to 8.10 (58).
Oscar Allen led the goal-kicking for the Eagles, booting two goals as they jumped out to an 18-0 lead in the opening minutes, before the Suns reeled them in and eventually got their noses in front midway through the second quarter.
The Eagles still took a slim 5.4 (34) to 4.5 (29) lead into the main break, before goals to Touk Miller, Ben King and David Swallow potted goals in the third to lead by one point heading into the final term.
But most of the Eagles’ forward stars — Josh Kennedy, Allen and Liam Ryan — slotted in the game-winning fourth-quarter burst, with Nathan Vardy and Jack Petruccelle also chipping in.
Saints hang on to beat GWS by eight points
An undermanned St Kilda snatched a gutsy eight-point AFL win over Greater Western Sydney in slippery conditions at Giants Stadium despite the absence of Zak Jones, Dan Hannebery, Max King, James Frawley, Rowan Marshall and Jarryn Geary.
The Saints led for the majority of the third term, but Harry Himmelberg slotted goals either side of three-quarter-time to put the Giants in front.
Himmelberg and St Kilda key forward Tim Membrey each kicked three goals, belying conditions that made marking the ball difficult.
Jack Billings tallied a game-high 30 disposals for the Saints, while teammates Jade Gresham and Hunter Clark were also influential.
Momentum ebbed and flowed during a hectic final quarter of the wet-weather contest, which the visitors won 13.8 (86) to 11.12 (78).
A late goal from GWS utility Lachlan Keeffe ensured the game was in the balance throughout the final four minutes.
Dan Butler, the Saints’ leading goal-kicker in 2020, produced the game-sealing effort with 40 seconds remaining.
Butler raced in and knocked the ball loose from Callan Ward’s grasp, earning a holding-the-ball free kick.
Butler nailed his resultant set shot, ensuring the Saints banked their first win at the venue.
Port Adelaide comfortably beats North Melbourne at Docklands
Port Adelaide flexed their muscles to kick off their AFL premiership assault with a dominant 52-point win over North Melbourne under the roof at Docklands.
New recruit Orazio Fantasia, Charlie Dixon and Todd Marshall all hit the scoreboard in an eight-goal blitz during the second quarter that saw the Power break the game open.
Former Essendon forward Fantasia looked immediately at home in Port’s attacking set-up on a ground he knows better than any other, finishing with four goals in the 17.15 (117) to 9.11 (65) win.
Veteran midfielder Travis Boak (27 disposals and seven clearances) combined well with Robbie Gray (19 and seven) as part of a dominant period after quarter-time.
The Power’s day was soured when Riley Bonner tore his right hamstring with a fresh-air swing while attempting to kick a ball off the ground.
Former Collingwood forward Jaidyn Stephenson (33 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances) was one of North’s best in the midfield and emerging on-baller Luke Davies-Uniacke (20 disposals and one goal) impressed after signing a two-year contract extension.
Kangaroos recruit Aidan Corr was substituted out with a toe injury during the final term, which allowed debutant Charlie Lazzaro to enter the field of play.
Moments later, teammate Curtis Taylor was helped off the ground after a head knock.
North’s new era under David Noble started promisingly and they led by two points at quarter-time, having had the better of general play and generating 20 inside-50s to 12.
But Port’s strong midfield unit began to get on top early in the second term.
Fantasia cashed in with three goals before half-time, while Dixon and Marshall kicked two each in a six-minute burst that gave Port breathing space.
Ollie Wines (30 disposals) was controversially penalised 50m for moving half a step on the mark during the third term, gifting Bailey Scott a goal after his first set shot missed.
It was one of few blips for the Power in a dominant showing as Dixon, Boak, Marshall and Zak Butters each finished with two goals.