Canberra Demons registered their first win at home in season 2018 with a gritty 29-point victory over Gold Coast at UNSW Canberra Oval on Saturday.
In what was largely an arm wrestle for the first three quarters, the Demons slammed on six goals to one in the last to run away with a confidence-boosting 11.14 (81) to 7.9 (51) victory.
Will Powell was the first to strike the scoreboard within the first 40 seconds, but goals were hard to come by in the early stages of the match as the two sides wrestled for any chance of gaining momentum.
Canberra’s first goal came at the 22-minute mark when Mitch Hardie threaded the needle from a set shot on the boundary.
Powell soon backed up his first effort – a lovely running goal from 45 out close to the boundary – with a snap around the body 25m out to give his side a one-goal lead heading in to quarter-time.
Harrison Carr produce done for the highlights reel early in the second with a long bomb from the centre square sailing through for a memorable goal to cut the deficit to a single point.
The margin never reached double figures in a second as both teams added 2.2 to their tally heading in to the main break.
It was much the same story in the third as SUNS Academy members Timakoi Bowie and Ari Miles booted goals at opposite ends of the term, with another two majors to Canberra coming in between.
It was until the fourth quarter that the Demons opened the floodgate to run over the SUNS.
They had two goals in the first five minutes to Tom Faul and defender Tom Highmore – whose move to the forward line paid dividends with two for the term.
Miles dragged the margin back to four points at the 12-minute mark, but that would be as close as the SUNS would come as Canberra booted three in the next five minutes, and the last four goals of the game to maintain their place in the top six.
Alex Smout was a standout in the midfield for Canberra with 36 disposals and seven clearances, while young gun Alex Paech performed an important shut-down role on Gold Coast forward Peter Wright.
Hardie was also lively with 29 disposals, five inside 50s and two goals – including the sealer when he snapped from a ball up deep in Canberra’s forward pocket.
Josh Jaska was among the SUNS best with 14 disposals and seven rebound 50s, while Will Brodie topped the disposals with 30 and Josh Schoenfeld (27 disposals) and Jacob Heron (18) performing well.
Canberra heads to Sydney to tackle Sydney University next week, while the SUNS take on Brisbane at Burpengary.
Canberra Demons v Gold Coast SUNS at UNSW Canberra Oval
CANBERRA 1.3 3.5 5.9 11.14 (80) GOLD COAST 2.4 4.6 6.8 7.9 (51)
GOALS – Canberra: M Hardie 2 T Highmore 2 J Conlan J Powell L McKay H Carr A Bruce J Nunn T Faul. Gold Coast:W Powell 2 A Miles 2 A Hall H Arnold T Bowie.
BEST – Canberra: A Paech H Carr M Hardie T Highmore T Faul A Smout. Gold Coast: J Jaska J Schoenfeld J Heron C Nutting J Dawson.
By JESS WEBSTER