Gold Coast and Essendon have played out an AFL thriller with a 73-all draw at Metricon Stadium. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS

Australian rules football

Suns, Essendon in second AFL draw for 2020

2020-08-12 22:50:36

Gold Coast young guns Ben King and Izak Rankine have both missed potential match-winning chances as the Suns and Essendon played out an AFL draw.

King kicked a point from a set shot to level scores while Rankine couldn’t find a score inside the final minute from outside 50 as the match finished 11.7 (73) to 11.7 (73) at Metricon Stadium.

The Bombers looked like winners after hitting the front in the final term following back-to-back goals by David Zaharakis but a King goal with five minutes to go set up a blockbuster finish.

The result is the second draw of the season after Richmond and Collingwood couldn’t be separated in the AFL restart.

Zaharakis finished with three goals but also injured his quad kicking his final major, finishing the match on the bench.

James Stewart, in his third game of the season, also kicked three goals for the Bombers.

King had two goals for the Suns, as did Lachie Weller and Sam Day, while Kyle Langford had two for Essendon including a fourth-quarter effort which had put the Bombers ahead in the final term.

Zach Merrett topped the possession charts with 31 disposals with Andrew McGrath (26), Dylan Shiel (26), Jordan Ridley (23) and Darcy Parish (20) all getting more touches than the Suns’ highest possession winner in Hugh Greenwood (18).

Suns’ defender Charlie Ballard claimed 10 intercept marks while Parish and William Snelling epitomised the Bombers’ pressure with eight and seven tackles respectively.

The result moves Essendon to ninth with 22 points from 10 matches while the Suns, who had lost three straight heading into this match, sit 12th with 18 points from 11 matches.

“We had a couple of opportunities to, I guess, steal the win given they were in front at that point of the game but it’s frustrating,” Suns coach Stuart Dew said.

“We’ve been in some close ones and some of the things that we’ve learned from those came out at the end.

“We were able to get the opportunities but we weren’t able to get over the line so here we are again. It’s a hollow feeling.”

Bombers coach John Worsfold was also left with mixed emotions from his team’s performance.

“We made it hard for ourselves early. It was a fairly even game and all of a sudden we were three or four goals behind,” Worsfold said, adding Zaharakis was looking at a few weeks on the sidelines.

“The message at half-time was a clear and strong one … not focusing on the scoreboard or what had happened in the first half but working on the way we wanted to play the game.

“I thought the players were outstanding in the way they committed to forgetting about the scoreboard and playing the style of footy we wanted to play.”

The Bombers next face St Kilda on Sunday at the Gabba while the Suns take on Richmond at the same venue on Monday.