Gold Coast’s Noah Anderson scored the winning goal after the final siren to seal a remarkable comeback win for the Suns over Richmond in Carrara.
In Saturday’s other games, Fremantle took a 41-point win over St Kilda, Port Adelaide defeated GWS by 55 points, while Collingwood fought back to beat lowest-seeded North Melbourne by seven points.
With 40 points behind in the third quarter and 28 at the final corner, Anderson’s icy finish secured a 14.10 (94) to 13.14 (92) win that keeps the Suns’ hopes of a final spot alive.
Ex-Tiger Mabior Chol scored with a minute to go to get the Suns inside a goal and it was Anderson who got the ball when the clock ran out on a clever pass from Sam Day.
The win puts the Suns within four points of the eighth-seeded Tigers, who were their own worst enemy in the final quarter as they snatched several golden opportunities to freeze the game.
Maurice Rioli and Jake Aarts were both at fault, while Jason Castagna somehow managed to choke his shot on goal by Suns defender Charlie Ballard, despite having the freedom of the 50-yard bow.
Chol finished with three goals for the Suns, with Anderson and Ben Ainsworth each kicking two.
Richmond, playing without injured superstar Dustin Martin, lost key striker Tom Lynch early to a hamstring injury.
Shai Bolton stepped into the void with a three-goal, 29 elimination feat that included eight clearances. Jack Riewoldt also kicked three goals.
Noah Cumberland, the medical substitute in place of Lynch, finished with two goals, but was also guilty of missing some regulation shots as the Tigers regretted their debauchery.
Trailing 34 points after a disappointing first half, Gold Coast responded with a better effort in the third term, with goals for Ainsworth and Touk Miller sparking some hope of a fight back.
Chol started his second to make it three in a row and narrow the margin to 20 points.
A free kick against Jack Bowes gave Aarts a chance to score and he stopped the rot with a good finish for the Tigers.
A mix-up between Bowes and Sam Collins in a marking race enabled Bolton to find Riewoldt, whose finish left the Tigers 28 clear in the final corner.
The Suns started the fourth quarter with goals for David Swallow and Anderson, before Riewoldt kicked a stunning finish with the outside of his right foot out of the pocket to stop the home side’s momentum once again.
Goals to Day and Matt Rowell on either side of Castagna’s miss with the goal at his mercy brought the margin to 11 points with less than four minutes to play.
Ainsworth had a chance to narrow the margin to under a kick with two and a half minutes left, but shot his set shot to the right.
Chol made up for that miss by playing at close range through his third when the ball fell on him in the goal field to narrow the margin to four points with a minute left to play.
That proved vital as the Suns scrambled the ball within 50, Day marked tight on the boundary before finding Anderson with a smart pass to make the third-year player the hero.
Dockers stay close to AFL summit
Nat Fyfe’s significant second half contribution helped Fremantle to victory over St Kilda, keeping the Dockers in touch with the leaders of the ladder.
The Dockers won 17.9 (111) to 10.10 (70) in Docklands and now have a record 12-4 win-loss.
They are level with Geelong and Melbourne but are third on the ladder with a lower percentage.
The Brisbane Lions can join the trio on Sunday on a dozen wins with a win over Essendon.
Fremantle was clearly second best in the first half against St Kilda as the home side’s midfield dominated the game early on.
But the Dockers held on, trailing just eight points at the main break before turning the game upside down with the first six goals of the second half.
Fyfe, a two-time Brownlow medalist, started forward and had only five sales until halftime, but was moved to the center square to effect a turnaround at the source.
He finished with 21 disposals and three goals, with Andrew Brayshaw (36 disposals), Jordan Clark (30), Will Brodie (29, six disposals) and Caleb Serong (25, four) also influential.
The Dockers spread the score with Michael Frederick (three), Bailey Banfield, Rory Lobb, Sean Darcy, Lachie Schultz and Brodie (two each) all scoring multiple goals.
Banfield was a late shoot for key defender Alex Pearce, who pulled out with a tight calf muscle.
St Kilda could have gone into the top eight with a win but had to miss a missed opportunity despite the efforts of Zak Jones (27 divestments, six releases), Brad Crouch (30, seven), Jack Steele (28, four) and Brad Hill (28, four).
Dan Bulter, Max King and Tim Membrey each scored two goals.
Power thump Giants
A sparkling four-goal drive from Connor Rozee helped Port Adelaide pound GWS to flicker the final flame.
The Power are just one win away from the top eight after their 12.12 (84) to 3.11 (29) win at Adelaide Oval.
The Giants’ loss was compounded by another serious hamstring injury suffered by former captain Phil Davis, who turns 32 next month and will lose his contract at the end of the season.
Davis — in just his third game back since being sidelined for three months with a left hamstring injury — was barely able to put any weight on his right leg after being injured in the third quarter.
The stalwart’s injury came as the Giants crashed after a heavy defeat that did not favor caretaker coach Mark McVeigh in his bid to win the top job next season.
His Giants were never on the hunt after a standout three-goal by Rozee, which ended with 24 disposals and 11 goals.
Rozee’s teammates Sam Powell-Pepper (25 disposals, one goal), Jeremy Finlayson (22 disposals, nine within 50’s) and Zak Butters (26 disposals) were instrumental, while Todd Marshall and Kane Farrell both scored two goals.
The Power – after losing five consecutive games to open their season – are in 12th place on the ladder and eighth of the three clubs left behind by a win.
The Giants fell to their biggest loss in McVeigh’s seven games since Leon Cameron’s departure as head coach.
Magpies Edge Brave Kangaroos
Coach David Noble looks safe for another week after North Melbourne nearly took a stunning win over Collingwood.
The Magpies trailed 5.5 to two in the final quarter at the MCG for their seventh straight win, triumphing 13.10 (88) to 12.9 (81).
Speculation was rife on pre-match radio shows that this would be Noble’s last appearance as Kangaroos coach.
The Kangaroos were a very different team from last week’s 112 point mauling of Geelong and this was their highest score of the season.
While it was also their 14th consecutive loss when they went to the wooden spoon, it was their best effort this year.
Kangaroos midfielder Luke Davies-Uniacke was the best on the field with 33 possession and key forward Nick Larkey kicked five goals.
Magpies midfielder Taylor Adams headed off with a headbutt late in the final quarter.
The Kangaroos started brilliantly, dominated the center clearings and took an early two-goal lead.
After Ben McKay’s attack against Geelong failed last week, he started on the defensive as usual.
The scores were even on the first substitution and Kangaroos captain Jack Ziebell – back from a nasty facial fracture – provided his team with the opening goal of the second quarter.
The Kangaroos kicked four goals to one for a 20-point lead, putting Collingwood firmly on the back foot.
That lead was extended to 28 points in the third period, before the Magpies inevitably came back with two goals, but the Kangaroos kept their lead with 26 in three quarters.
The Magpies then stormed home as Jeremy Howe and Scott Pendlebury took big runs on the defensive.
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