Roos rule in Townsville

By liam Butterworth – Townsville Bulletin

NORTH Melbourne continued their unbeaten pre-season cup run, holding off a fast-finishing Gold Coast Suns by 13 points in Townsville.

It was the first ever AFL level match hosted in the North Queensland city, and the Kangaroos put in a clinical goal-kicking display early to win 2.13.6 (102) to 1.11.14 (89) in front of 7216 fans in steamy conditions at Tony Ireland Stadium.

The Suns were staring at a heavy defeat after trailing by 53 points late in the third quarter but six final period goals made it a contest against a slow finishing North Melbourne.

The AFL activated its heat policy as the outdoor temperature reached 32 degrees at opening bounce with humidity at 70 per cent.

Despite only arriving in Townsville 24 hours earlier, it was North Melbourne who best dealt with the conditions, barely missing a kick on goal in the first half.

The Kangaroos put on a kicking display in the first quarter, landing six goals and a super goal to race out to a 39-point lead at quarter time.

Aaron Black nailed the first inside a minute with the Kangaroos finishing the period with a long-range Lindsay Thomas goal after the buzzer.

North Melbourne barely let the Suns out of their own end in the first half, as the lead reached 48 points before the Suns hit back.

Stephen May gave the Suns’ fans something to cheer about early the second period, hitting a super goal from in front, his team’s first goal in more than half an hour, before Aaron Hall and David Swallow made a small dent in the deficit with late goals.

The Kangaroos matched everything the Suns did in the energy sapping conditions and a Robbie Tarrant super goal from the boundary 16 minutes into the third quarter made the advantage 53.

But the Suns found their range in the final quarter, kicking six goals and turning what had been a blown out result into a contest.

NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS 1.6.2 1.10.4 2.12.5 2.13.6 (102)
GOLD COAST SUNS 0.1.2 1.3.7 1.5.9 1.11.14 (89)
Nine pointers: North Melbourne Kangaroos: J Gysberts R Tarrant. Gold Coast Suns: S May.
Goals: North Melbourne Kangaroos: A Black 3 L Thomas 3 D Currie  2 B Cunnington B Harvey K Harper L Greenwood R Bastinac. Gold Coast Suns: C Brown 2 D Swallow 2 A Hall D Gorringe G Ablett J Brennan J Harbrow J Hutchins Z Smith.
Umpires: Mathew Nicholls, Heath Ryan, Nathan Elsworthy.
Venue: Tony Ireland Stadium.

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