Round 3 – Gold Coast v Fremantle: Suns set in the west

Gold Coast v Fremantle
2:35PM, Saturday 7 April
Perth Stadium


How many roads must a team walk down, before you can call them a team?


I was pondering this rhetorical Dylan lyric as the Suns of the Gold Coast hit the road once again…I know it’s not the first time the Suns have had the chance to go undefeated after the first three rounds, but with the #DewProcess in place, it felt significant. More pointedly, how many roads must David Swallow hobble down on the journey to 100 games? He’s a quietly spoken, talented and tenacious midfielder who has shunned any overtures to play in Victoria with his recently retired brother & I think a really underrated (injuries aside) gem for the Suns. For all that was made about the coup that was borne from Lachie Weller’s rare desire to come to Carrara, Swallow’s staying power should be equally highlighted.


After having witnessed the two previous crowds at the new Perth Stadium, the turnout as this clash got underway looked a little sparse in comparison. Like a life buoy in the deepest ocean, the Suns’ small pocket of “home” fans bobbled up and down amongst a heaving indigo swell.


The life buoy looked to have calmed the waters some when Sam Day took a mark on a strong lead and dutifully kicked the ball straight over the goal umpire’s hat.


Hard to miss in his black helmet anyway, Kade Kolodjashnij made the most of his opportunities in the first, running into space with ball in hand to deliver to the Suns half forwards and nullifying any ground ball contests that came his way.


Brandon “Fish” Matera looks at home in Freo colours already, it slightly pains me to say. He had an early chance to live out every turncoat’s dream with a goal on the run, but missed to the right. Tom Lynch also missed; his effort an “unmissible” goal from close range (see: Daniher, Joe c. 08/04/2018) however, Alex Sexton did the right thing and mopped up for the skipper.


Even in the early stages, Freo looked good, as long as they were able to make space for themselves.


Pearce Hanley, Queensland’s favourite Irishman started his comeback from injury well. For the other side, the cool head of David Mundy was telling as he added the Dockers’ second major with ease from traffic.


Tommy Sheridan, who I wouldn’t recognise in a lineup of painters or Dockers, kicked a nice snap. Perhaps I’ll recall him better now, but I doubt it. One player I do recognise, Lachie Neale, was sporting some very flashy wheels. On closer inspection, the purple and canary yellow numbers were Starlight Foundation themed, rendering his 40m shot that sailed wide for a behind less heinous.


After Mitchell Crowden kicked one of the most awkward goals I’ve ever seen (how he didn’t fall on his face…) Freo are deservedly 16 points clear at quarter time. Nathan Wilson had been running like Forrest Gump, Nat Fyfe was Fyfe-like and the reportedly almost seven-figure sum Fremantle paid for this extra away game at home looked to be money well spent.


The second term started as Lynch, Aaron Hall and Sexton combined for the first purposeful foray into attack from the Suns in a long time. Hot on their heels, first Jack Martin then Day elevated for towering marks, the latter kicked cleanly for his second goal. This was more like it!


Then Michael “Sonny” Walters caught the Gold Coast defenders napping and nonchalantly dribbled a goal on the run.
Freo continued to dominate the clearances; it felt like it was only a matter of time until everything “clicked”, as long as they stopped kicking behinds. But until then, while Martin and Day (aka an 1980s buddy cop dramedy?) kept clunking marks, the contest looked evenly matched.


It was error city for Freo; first Langdon butchered a shot on goal, then at the other end a Suns behind was kicked out illegally, which resulted in a ball up at the top of the square, a ball up that Aaron Sandilands used to give a free kick to Day. He kicked truly for his third.

Incredibly, despite Freo having controlled most of the quarter’s play, a Jarryd Lyons goal drew the Suns level at halftime. It wasn’t all roses for the Coasters, Hanley went down clutching his troublesome shoulder.


In the initial minutes of the second half, the Suns looked slick; Kolodjashnij and Sexton in particular looked to renew their early form. Lynch, fresh off eight goals against a lacklustre Carlton, kicked his first – he’d been well held by Alex Pearce.

Then it happened. Fyfe, looking like Superman, burst through defenders, leaping, striding, bounding to within 30m of goal. I’d pay to watch Fyfe play anything, from International Rules to International tiddlywinks. In a flash, Superman was gone and Fyfe’s kick at goal was more Clark Kent…or perhaps Clark Keating. Another listless five minutes were buttressed by two more majors for the Dockers.

It might have been the Purple Haze game, but another song from Woodstock alumni best described the Suns in their forward half – Pinball Wizard. The ball ricochetting off feet and bodies characterised the end of the third term.


In the last, Cameron McCarthy worked hard, his performance after halftime had possibly been the difference between the two sides. With far more legs and cleaner disposal going forward, Freo regained their advantage, putting paid to a spirited Suns outfit.


A decent effort by the Suns against an underrated Fremantle; another road beckons next week and for every week until June, fingers crossed they’ll have done enough by then to be called a team…



GOLD COAST   2.1       6.4       9.7       10.8 (68)
FREMANTLE   4.5       5.10     10.13   13.18 (96)



Gold Coast: Day 3, Sexton 3, Lyons 2, Lynch, Martin
Fremantle: McCarthy 3, Walters 2, Ballantyne 2, Mundy, Sheridan, Crowden, Fyfe, Sandilands, Matera



Gold Coast: Martin, Lyons, Swallow, Sexton, Harbrow, Kolodjashnij
Fremantle: Fyfe, Walters, Neale, Pearce, Mundy, McCarthy

Our bests: Fyfe, Daylight, Kolodjashnij, Neale, Walters, Martin, Day


Crowd: 33,338


A classic jack of all trades & master of a couple, Jarrod started his footy career as a gangly ruck after a growth spurt catapulted him to the lofty heights of 177cm as a 12-year-old. Forward pocket off the bench was where he ended up as he topped out at 178cm eight years later. The trajectory of a career in health fortunately didn't peak during the pre-teen years & a keen interest in footy has turned from playing to coaching, volunteering and writing.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Love the image of Pinball Wizard! Interesting how the Dockers have stepped up this year. Some surprises about who has and who hasn’t.

  2. I’m not sold on them setting the league on fire, but I do think they’re better than 14-18th. Remember they did win 9 on the trot a couple of years ago then followed up the next year with 10 losses to start the next season. When it comes to Ross the Boss, we “Won’t get fooled again”.

    Hawthorn have surprised me, but that’s Clarkson’s brilliance for you.

  3. Jennifer Muirden says

    J-Rod, you’ve done it again! Great article incorporating clever popular culture references. Makes me wish I’d taken the time out to watch the Dockers v Suns game. Alas, I was preparing myself for Round 2 of soul-splintering masochism. Once again Saints dished out a diabolical display of football. Heavy sigh.

    In contrast there’s certainly much to like about the Fremantle whose future seems bright. There’s pesky Milney-esque Ballantyne, opportunistic gun forward Michael Walters and Cam McCarthy, while possibly not GWS’s greatest loss, has been a huge coup for the Dockers. Most significantly there’s exceptional El Capitano Nat Fyfe. Miraculous comeback after being ruled out for most of the 2016 season with a serious fractured leg injury and then last year recommitting his future with Fremantle for another impressive six years. It’s great to see him dive back into fabulous footy form with a splash of his 2015 Brownlow Medal winning finesse. Love Fyfe!

    Suns at this point are still sitting pretty 6th on the ladder compared with 10th placed Dockers. Losing their captain Gary Ablett returning to the Cattery was a huge blow. Perhaps in some perverse way they can take some consolation in Gazza’s hamstring injury over the weekend resulting in him taking an extended stint on the sidelines. The trip over to the west probably was an unwise choice by both Chris Scott and Ablett. Just for the record, my Suns faves are Tom Lynch, Steven May, Jarrod Harbrow and KK – Kade Kolodjashnij!

  4. Cheers J-Mew! It was an entertaining tussle, which I hope is par for the Suns’ course this year.

    You know the tough times aren’t forever; paraphrasing Yvette in her article, the loyalty aspect of fandom is a true arbiter of character!

    Fyfe for the Brownlow was my call in November 2017. I stand by it.

    You’ve got some nice favs there, I also love Maysie and Harbs. Speaking of…how about young Higgo on debut! You must have been proud!

  5. David Zampatti says

    There certainly are some green shoots at Freo. Once again proof that if you can get talent and stability into your back six (Pearce, Hamling, Johnno, Wilson, Ryan and Blakely) and power in the battery (the incomparable Sandi and Fyfe, Neale, S. Hill, Walters) there’s every chance good things – like rookies (Cerra, Banfield, Brayshaw and Crowden coming in and making an immediate impression – can start happening.
    Very long way to go, and fitness of key players absolutely essential, but Freo have a decnt chance of being 4-2 in a few weeks, and from there, who knows?

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