Fresh-faced Suns power rout of winless Hawks

By Murray Wenzel
Updated April 13 2024 - 11:25pm, first published 11:20pm
Gold Coast have inflicted a fifth-straight loss on the Hawks in emphatic fashion. (Jason O'BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)
Gold Coast have inflicted a fifth-straight loss on the Hawks in emphatic fashion. (Jason O'BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

Sam Clohesy and his fellow rookies have repaid Damien Hardwick's faith with another eye-catching display in Gold Coast's suffocating 53-point AFL defeat of Hawthorn.

Werribee VFL pick-up Clohesy (18 touches) kicked two second-quarter goals and showed touch, class and confidence on the wing for the Suns in a comfortable 16.13 (109) to 8.8 (56) win at Carrara on Saturday night.

It followed an impressive 22-touch debut against GWS for the 21-year-old, as former Richmond coach Hardwick was rewarded for the selection that saw 250-gamer and his former Tigers premiership star Brandon Ellis relegated to reserve grade.

Victory was the Suns' third from three games at home this season and snapped a two-game losing run.

Key forward Ben King overcame some wobbly early kicking to finish with four goals and four behinds, while Sam Collins played a terrific lock-down job on former Sun Mabior Chol.

Ben Ainsworth was busy for the hosts while Will Graham (14 tackles) and Ethan Read (two goals) stood up in their second AFL games.

"Our pressure ... we were in their grill all night," Hardwick said.

"The amount of time Graham looked out of the contest and just put his head down and chased ... we've got a pretty special player.

"Clohesy's ability to find space, use the ball and finish ... he admits he wasn't quite ready to play AFL footy, but he's learnt his craft."

Hawthorn, who pushed premiers Collingwood last week, remain winless from five games.

Gold Coast boasted seven of the top eight disposal-getters, with Noah Anderson (36 touches, one goal, eight tackles) the most prolific while Karl Amon (26 disposals) was the only Hawk with more than 19 disposals.

"We lost every aspect of that game ... there's a lot of things that went wrong," Hawks coach Sam Mitchell said.

"I think we're probably the easiest team to put pressure on because we invite it ourselves.

"Last week was a step in the right direction but we didn't win so it's not the direction we're really after."

Bailey Humphrey started strongly as the Suns' midfield seized control in the first half, hogging the ball in such a manner that only two Hawthorn players had reached double-figures in disposals by the main break.

Hawthorn stayed within touch though, Finn Maginness adding a second and Dylan Moore another major to make it a 22-point halftime margin.

Jack Ginnivan (three goals) snapped one for the Hawks but King, beginning the quarter with 1.4, maintained his dominance of the forward 50 in the third term.

He kicked two goals in quick time and three in the quarter as the lead swelled beyond 40.

Maginness's third offered brief hope before Tom Berry came from nowhere to win a loose ball in the goal square, a soccering Read thumping through his second goal approaching the final break.

The Suns lost small forward Malcolm Rosas Jnr to a hamstring injury in the third term, substitute David Swallow kicking three final-quarter goals.

Australian Associated Press