Levi Casboult celebrates a goal with Matt Rowell during the R1 match between Gold Coast and Adelaide at People First Stadium on March 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

MATT Rowell's surge into the competition's elite midfielders took another giant step on Saturday night as he led Gold Coast to a nail-biting six-point win over Adelaide.

A week after racking up the second-most clearances in League history, Rowell again starred at a wet People First Stadium, finishing with 29 disposals in the 8.12 (60) to 8.6 (54) victory.

SUNS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats

The Suns had to withstand a withering final quarter from the Crows that saw their lead shrink from 36 points to a solitary goal with two minutes remaining.


It was fitting that Rowell's final disposal was the clearing kick from defence that secured the Suns their second straight win.

He received plenty of close attention from Adelaide's midfield, with half-forward Sam Berry pushing up to clutter the stoppages, but Rowell found a way to record nine clearances and 10 tackles in another never-say-die performance.

He had plenty of mates in the midfield who laid the foundation for victory, with co-captain Touk Miller (29 and 10 clearances), Sam Flanders (35) and Noah Anderson (35 and a goal) all gathering plenty of the ball.


Gold Coast looked in control for much of the night, keeping the Crows to just one goal in the first half and three by the final change before the visitors sprang to life.

With Josh Rachele (three goals) and Izak Rankine (two) creating havoc inside 50 in the final term, the Crows gave themselves a chance to snatch an unlikely win with the game's final five goals.


Sam Berry had a difficult chance to mark about 45m from goal in the dying seconds, but it slipped through his grasp.

The Suns deserved their four premiership points, working hard for each other in all three lines of the ground to harass their opponents when they didn't have the ball and create overlap numbers when they did have it.


In the same week he signed a contract extension until 2029, Wil Powell was again secure in defence, as was Charlie Ballard, who kept the Crows talls quiet.

Gold Coast's pressure was through the roof early in the match, with Brayden Fiorini's clever knock-down intercept leading to a Ben Ainsworth goal and Tom Berry's smothering tackle of Lachie Sholl creating another.

As the rain began to bucket down, Nick Holman left the field after biting his own lip and splitting it open while tackling Lachie Murphy.

Although the rain eased, the slog continued in the second term, with the Crows really struggling to convert their inside 50s.

Their ball movement was scrappy, and any fumble – and there was plenty – proved costly.

Alex Sexton opened up Gold Coast's first goal of the second term with a brave kick from half-back into the corridor leading to an Ainsworth goal.

Rowell gave the hosts a 26-point lead at half-time after he won a free kick and then profited from a 50m penalty courtesy of Brodie Smith putting Holman into a headlock.


Rankine's rollercoaster at Carrara
In his first game at People First Stadium since leaving Gold Coast in 2022, Izak Rankine produced a bit of everything. Starting in the midfield he was arguably the most dangerous player on the ground in the opening term with nine disposals. He did, however, give away a 50m penalty to Levi Casboult for dissent to the umpire. After a quiet second term he kicked a goal in the third and missed another after roving a stoppage. He bobbed up late to kick a second goal and finished with 19 disposals and four clearances to be one of Adelaide's best.


Fiorini's found his spot
After being in and out of Gold Coast's team over recent years, Brayden Fiorini has found himself a home on the wing. Not always a position that racks up the disposals – something the left-footer is adept at – he did a bit of everything in the win. Fiorini finished with 24 disposals and was often used as a bail-out kick from defence, taking eight marks. He used the ball wisely, at 83 per cent efficiency, and was integral in the Suns' first goal.

Poor old Jarrod Witts
Gold Coast's co-captain Jarrod Witts had another strong game in the ruck, but it was a moment during the third quarter most spectators will remember from this game. With a clearing kick from defence headed his way on the wing, a couple of players in front of him completely missed the ball, leaving it to flush Witts smack bang in the face. That wet Sherrin had to hurt!



GOLD COAST             3.2       5.4       7.9       8.12 (60)
ADELAIDE     1.1       1.2       3.4       8.6 (54)

Gold Coast: Ainsworth 2, Rosas jnr 2, Rowell, Humphrey, Berry, Anderson
Adelaide: Rachele 3, Keays 2, Rankine 2, Berry

Gold Coast: Rowell, Miller, Flanders, Powell, Anderson, Ballard
Adelaide: Rankine, Crouch, Rachele, Dawson, Laird, Michalanney 

Gold Coast: Nil
Adelaide: Pedlar (broken nose), Butts (foot)

Gold Coast: Darcy Macpherson (replaced Brandon Ellis in the fourth quarter)
Adelaide: Jake Soligo (replaced Lachie Gollant in the third quarter)

Crowd: 11,466 at People First Stadium