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SUNS shatter records in night to remember

Matt Rowell has posted the quickest 500 tackles in AFL history as he and close mate Noah Anderson led a brutal Suns attack on the club record books in Darwin on Thursday night.

Going in to what was his 72nd game against Geelong with 499 career tackles, Rowell made #500 in the opening minutes to better a record which covers 38 years since Brisbane and West Coast entered the expanding competition in 1987.

The record was held previously by St.Kilda captain Jack Steele at 74 games.

Rowell finished with a game-high 10 tackles and now sits fifth on an all-time Suns tackle count headed by Touk Miller, who topped 1000 tackles in the first leg of the Suns’ Darwin double-header last week.

Miller now has 1010 to lead David Swallow 955, Gary Ablett 606, Michael Rischitelli 554 and Rowell 509 after Rowell went past Nick Holman’s 507 when he was rested on Thursday night.

But Rowell’s tackle average of 7.1 per game is significantly better than Miller (5.5), Ablett (5.5), Holman (4.6), Swallow (4.1) and Rischitelli (4.1).

The statisticians worked overtime on Thursday night after the Suns, playing their 292nd AFL game, beat second-placed Geelong by 64 points – 26-8 (164) to 15-10 (100) – to make it six wins in a row in Darwin.

It was the club’s highest score, surpassing the 21-22 (148) against GWS in Canberra in 2013, and equal eighth on the all-time biggest win list, headed by the 86-point trouncing of Hawthorn at People First Stadium in 2017.

The 93-point second half was the most points the Suns have scored in any half, and the 55-point third quarter was the equal second-highest score in a quarter in club history – behind only the 62-point third quarter (10-2) against Hawthorn at PFS in 2017.

It was the highest score kicked against Geelong in Chris Scott’s now 319-game stint as coach, his third-biggest loss, and only the fourth time his team has conceded 20+ goals in a game.

And with the Cats 2nd on the ladder coming in to Round 10, it was the equal best ‘kill’ in Suns history in terms of the opposition ladder position beyond Round 4, when the ladder had started to take shape.

The Suns beat Fremantle at PFS in Round 9 2022 when they were 2nd with a 7-1 record, and three times have beaten sides when they were 3rd – Geelong in Round 7 2017, Sydney in Round 6 2021, and Brisbane in Round 20 2023.

The Suns score in Damien Hardwick’s 10th game at the helm and the 317th of his career fell a solitary point short of the highest score posted by a team he has coached. That was Richmond’s 25-15 (165) against West Coast in 2022.

Individually, the stats sheet showed a veritable feast on Suns record books.

Six players posted a career best in possessions – Anderson (42), Sam Flanders (37), Rowell (35), Alex Sexton (32), Joel Jeffrey (21) and Moyle (16) – while Miller (39) posted his 39th 30-possession game.

It was the first time in club history five players have had 30-plus in the same game

Anderson also bettered the all-time record for a game in Darwin, set by Port Adelaide’s Kane Cornes in 2008, and had an astonishing 15 score involvements.

Bailey Humphrey, in his 27th game, elevated his biggest goal haul from two to five after starting as the substitute against North Melbourne last week.

Jack Lukosius continued his Darwin love affair with his third five-goal bag in the NT capital  and the fourth of his career at that mark.  It is his equal career-best and equals a Darwin record set by Carlton’s Brendon Fevola in 2005 and matched by Western Bulldogs Brad Johnson (2007), Melbourne forward and Suns assistant-coach Brad Miller (2010), Port’s Paul Stewart (2012) and West Coast’s Jack Darling (2015). And Lukosius – three times.

Lukosius has now kicked 15 goals in five games in Darwin and is only two short of Johnson’s all-time record of 17 goals in seven games.

Lukosius also had a club record five goal assists – adding one to a mark shared previously by Brandon Matera (2012), Tom Lynch (2014 and 2016), Nick Malceski (2016), Gary Ablett (2017), Alex Sexton (2017), Ben Ainsworth (2022) and Jake Rogers in his second game in Round 7.

Ben King kicked four goals against Geelong –  all in the second half – to stretch to eight games his streak as a multiple goal-kicker. He’s gone 2-3-4-2-3-3-3-4 since Round 2.

This equals his own eight-game streak last year and Charlie Dixon’s eight-game streak in 2014, leaving him to chase only Lynch’s 10 games in a row with multiple goals in 2016.

Going in to Round 10 with 25 goals for the season and sitting third on the Coleman Medal leaderboard, King has now skipped two ahead of Carlton’s Charlie Curnow (27) and three clear of GWS’ Jesse Hogan (26), although the other pair are still to play this weekend.

Moyle, deputising in the ruck for rested co-captain Jarrod Witts, had statistics in his fourth game that made the statistics of his first three games look like a mis-print.

The stats sheet showed Moyle had 17 contested possessions (despite the fact he was credited with only 16 disposals), eight score involvements, six clearances (including a game-high five centre clearances) and 42 hit-outs.

It was such a commanding performance the 206cm 22-year-old will be hoping coach Hardwick will forgive him an equal club record six free kicks against in what was his first win.

The combined points total of 264 points was the most in a Suns game, and the Suns’ 26-8 conversion rate was a club best for a score above 90 points.

The ‘plus 18’ differential between goals and behinds was a club record, and the Suns’ onslaught when they kicked 11 of 12 goals through the second and third quarters was a club best.

The inside 50 count of 73 was the third-highest in club history behind the 81 recorded against North in Darwin last year, and the team disposal count of 436 ranks seventh on an all-time list headed by 498 possessions in the aforementioned 2017 game against Hawthorn, when Gary Ablett (36), Michael Barlow (34), David Swallow (34) and Jarryd Lyons (30) led the rout.

And with vice-captain Sam Collins playing his 100th game for the Suns, it was the biggest 100th-game win for the club, surpassing Lukosius’ 53-point win over Hawthorn in his 100th in Round 5.

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