Best friend Matt Rowell may have stolen most of the headlines during their AFL careers, but Gold Coast youngster Noah Anderson is rapidly becoming a vital part of the Suns plans.
The No.2 pick behind Rowell in the 2019 draft, Anderson was arguably best on ground in the Suns’ thumping 59-point win over a hapless North Melbourne at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
The 19-year-old picked up a career-best 35 disposals as well as nine marks in a hugely influential display.
Like most of last year, Anderson’s performance came in the absence of Rowell, who is sidelined for at least 12 weeks after injuring a knee in last week’s opening-round defeat to West Coast.
Suns coach Stuart Dew says Anderson has consistently shown his ability and leadership from the day he walked through the club’s doors.
“And same thing last year when Matt went down, Noah stood up,” Suns coach Stuart Dew said.
“We’ve probably mentioned before his footy IQ, his leadership, plays like a man.
“He’s a pleasure to coach and have around the footy club and just so clean and sure with the ball.”
But the Suns’ big win came at a cost with Sam Day and Connor Budarick both failing to finish the game with knee injuries.
Day will have scans to determine the full extent of his injury but Dew feared the worst for Budarick, with the suspicion his injury was a season-ending ACL.
The second-year player will also have to undergo scans but looks almost certain to be out for the remainder of the 2021 campaign.
Dew said with Day out for the Good Friday clash with Adelaide in South Australia, he’ll be tempted to move Jack Lukosius from the wing into the forward line against the Crows.
“He’s definitely an option, we’ll just have to talk about what the second ruck is,” Dew said.
“We won’t put Jack in the ruck but there is a potential there that he could spend a little bit more time forward.”