Suns face North in golden chance to snap away struggles

Anna Harrington |

Talented young Suns ruck Ned Moyle (r) will take the place of skipper Jarrod Witts against North.
Talented young Suns ruck Ned Moyle (r) will take the place of skipper Jarrod Witts against North.

Gold Coast head to Marvel Stadium to face lowly North Melbourne desperate to shed the unwanted winless away tag hanging around their necks.

The Suns’ failure to deliver away from home – with eight home wins and seven away losses to date – has hung over their push to make a debut finals campaign.

After a stirring home win over Collingwood, they arguably won’t have a better chance to snap that run than against last-placed North (1-14) on Saturday, with a win crucial to keeping the 11th-placed Suns firmly in the finals race.

But North Melbourne counterpart Alastair Clarkson insists Damien Hardwick’s Suns aren’t under heat to deliver.

“I don’t feel like they’d have as much pressure after their win against the Pies last week, they played some terrific footy,” Clarkson said.

The battle of the respective on-ball brigades with Touk Miller, Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell and Sam Flanders facing North’s Luke Davies-Uniacke, Jy Simpkin and George Wardlaw, will be crucial.

“We know we’ve got our work cut out in the middle of the ground, it’s going to be so critical,” Clarkson said.

“We lowered our colours to the Dogs in that space last week. Gold Coast beat Collingwood in that space last week. 

“Gold Coast lowered their colours to Fremantle the week before in that space so there’s a fair formline to suggest whoever wins the middle of the ground is going to win the game.

“So we’re hopeful to be better in that space on Saturday against Gold Coast, knowing well with Rowell, Miller and Anderson and these guys through the middle of the ground, they’re very talented. 

“So we need to be at our best and if we can be at our best we’ll challenge Gold Coast, but if we can’t be then it’s going to be hard work for us.”

The Suns are without skipper Jarrod Witts (fractured vertebrae), who has been replaced by talented young ruck Ned Moyle.

North Melbourne have welcomed back No.2 draft pick Colby McKercher from bone stress in his foot.

He is set to replace recruit Zac Fisher (foot) on the half-back flank.