Can anybody stop the Sydney Suns? That is the burning question in AUL 2019 as the Suns notched up a 2-1 victory over last year’s champions Melbourne to book their grand final berth.

It was one-way traffic in the first two sets as the clinical Suns won 6-4 and then crushed the Flames 7-2 to seal the match result.

The third set appeared heading in the same direction before some late fight from Melbourne stole the set 7-6 in timecap, securing the Flames a competition point which could prove vital in determining who plays the Suns in this year’s decider.

The AUL ladder is a logjam with Brisbane and Adelaide still to play in round four and every team except Canberra still in the hunt for the last grand final berth.

Suns assert their authority early

The tall target of veteran Tom Rogacki can be tough to defend and Sydney looked to find him early, opening up a 1-0 advantage.

When Alex Ladomatos crossed shortly afterwards, the signs were ominous that the unbeaten Suns would march on with the set.

But the Flames are defending AUL champions for a reason and showed their class to graft their way back into the match through goals to Andrew See and Cat Phillips.

Mark Wee grabbed a brace of goals, his second coming from a pinpoint Rogacki pass that put Sydney in front 5-4 coming into the final minute of the set.

Sydney was then able to force the turnover and then ran the clock down before putting across Ladomatos to seal the set 6-4.

Suns crush Melbourne in second set to secure the match

The silky offence of Sydney allowed them to skip out to another 2-0 advantage as Dani Alexander and Rosie Dawson grabbed early goals.

Phillips latched onto a lovely long pass to put Melbourne on the board before some strong defence and a bit of luck off a Kya Wiya deflection allowed Simar Dhaliwal to equalise for the Flames.

Melbourne applied the blowtorch in defence but the Suns were able to find a way to break the shackles through Mark Evans and take the lead once more.

Some critical lapses cost the Flames badly as the Suns raced in goals to Mark Evans, Sarah Wentworth, Ash Evans, Kya Wiya and Andrews to put the match to bed.

Late fightback earns Melbourne a championship point

Sydney once again opened the scoring in the third set and pushed out to a 4-2 advantage early, but Seb Barr did all he could to keep Melbourne alive in their quest for a championship point.

He contested two quality challenges to score critical goals and with just over six minutes to play Melbourne were only trailing by a single goal.

But a defensive lapse left two Sydney players 30 metres open at the back of the park and they were easily able to work the disc upfield for Sarah Perkins to score.

Then when Rogacki again found Mark Wee, this time diving into the left corner, it was 6-3 and the Flames hopes were flickering.

Late goals to Lochlan Wise and Mikhaila Dignam brought Melbourne back to within one goal as the seconds ticked down in the set.

And a forced turnover gave the Flames the disc which allowed Josh de Bell the chance to score, forcing universe point in the final set.

And it was Hannah Mangan who sealed it for Melbourne, giving the Flames a vital championship point.