The Sydney Suns are the 2019 AUL champions after fending off a furious Brisbane Breakers comeback in the grand final at Leichhardt Oval.

Unbeaten all season, the Suns went into the final as favourites and showed their class to take the first two sets in the best-of-five contest.

Brisbane faced plenty of adversity leading into the decider, with key players John McNaughton, Dom Simpson and Brett Matzuka all ruled out.

In their place came AUL rookies Alex Leask and Elliot Cook along with 2018 Breaker Bekah Ziegman.

All three stood tall, with Leask in particular playing a key role in engineering a third-set fightback from the Breakers.

But the skill, guile and team play of Sydney eventually ground down Brisbane in the fourth set to hand the Suns victory.

It was an emotional win for the Suns, after falling in the grand final to Melbourne in 2018.

And it was also a significant win for Sydney’s Tom Rogacki, who becomes the only AUL player with two grand final wins after moving from Melbourne to Sydney in the off-season.

Sydney seal first set in dramatic fashion after early arm wrestle

The Breakers surrendered early position from the opening pull which found grass just inside the field of play, but they hucked their way out of trouble as Lyra Meehan tried to put Loughlin Murphy across.

Sydney responded with their own long-range attempt before the game settled and it was Brisbane who worked it upfield for the first goal to Murphy.

Ash Evans responded with great pull down to make it 1-1, but the Breakers showed they were unafraid to keep hucking long as Kat Smith found Braden Cheng for a goal – a connection that has reaped rewards all season.

Sydney showed tremendous skill to level the scores again, with Alex Ladomatos again assisting Ash Evans in a strong combination.

There was concern for Cheng who took a heavy hit contesting the disc, but he shook it off to play on. Cheng then intercepted for Brisbane, but immediately turned it over which led to an David Andrews goal and a Sydney 3-2 lead.

When Dani Alexander doubled down for Sydney to make it 4-2, the signs were ominous for the Breakers in the first set.

But Rachel Parsons fired down an important pass for Brisbane which found a diving Murphy, a big play at a critical time to keep them in the hunt.

Kat Smith went from playmaker to goal scorer, picking up just her second goal for the season to level things up.

But 19-year-old Kya Wiya pulled off a huge grab under pressure to give Sydney the lead in the dying seconds of regular time in the set.

Risk equals reward, though, and Smith once again went the long huck which resulted in a Sam McGuckin goal just after the siren to send the set into timecap.

But Alexander scored the decisive goal under heavy pressure from Ava Mueller, sealing the set 6-5 for the Suns.

Suns take charge in commanding second set

The Breakers needed a strong start to the second set and they found it with a turnover and a goal to Smith against the run of play.

Mark Wee quickly responded, but excellent defence became the hallmark of the next passages of play before Ladomatos found the next goal for Sydney with a spectacular leaping grab to make it 2-1.

Tom Rogacki had the disc on a string all season and he showed that again with a perfect pass for Sarah Wentworth to put the Suns in a commanding 3-1 position in the second set.

Two of the Brisbane debutants combined to respond for Brisbane, Cook finding Leask with a long huck to peg the deficit back to just one goal.

But the Suns offence continued to beat the Breakers, Wentworth scoring again for Sydney and Ladomatos finding Mark Evans to push the lead out to 5-2.

When Andrews crossed for his second late in the set, the Suns were in complete control. Although Brisbane did peg a goal back, it was Sydney that claimed the set 6-3 – needing just one more set for victory.

Brisbane strike back in crucial third set

Strong defence from Cheng prevented Andrews from opening the scoring for the Suns in the third set. Instead, it was a flying Liam Grimmond who claimed the first score of the set to give Brisbane a much-needed 1-0 lead.

Leask showed why he is made for the AUL with a complete goal, starting at the defensive end and finishing at the end zone to push Brisbane out to 2-0.

Sydney responded through Rosie Dawson, but Leask struck again as he began to take charge for Brisbane.

Another incredible Cheng intercept looked set to put Brisbane back on the offence, but Dawson forced another turnover which Sydney quickly converted to a goal through Holly Reeve.

Cook injected himself into the match with a huck for Sam McGuckin which ultimately ended in a Rosa Wang goal for Brisbane.

The Suns weren’t finished, though, with Wentworth striking straight back to keep Sydney within one goal.

But Grimmond sealed the set for the Breakers with another physics-defying grab to push the score to 5-3 as the final seconds ticked down.

Suns thwart Breakers comeback to claim the title

It was a furious start to the fourth set, Alexander crossing for Sydney and Cheng striking straight back for Brisbane to lock the scores up at 1-1.

The goals dried up as fatigue began to set in and the defensive efforts of both team ramped up, until Smith found Bekah Ziegman for the go-ahead goal at the 12 minute mark.

Wentworth continued to find space, though, with Rogacki picking her out again to level the scores once more.

Everything the Breakers threw at the Suns, Sydney was able to respond to with Ladomatos visibly pumped to score late in the set to push his side out to a 4-3 lead.

A last-gasp Breakers goal sent the set to timecap at 4-4, but it was Mark Evans who had the final say with the winning goal for the Suns.


AUL 2019 grand final:

Sydney Suns defeated Brisbane Breakers three sets to one (6-5, 6-3, 3-5, 5-4)