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Hot Suns take a giant leap


There might have been greater flashes of individual brilliance in the relatively brief and middling history of the Gold Coast Football Club.

Gary Ablett provided a weekly highlights reel of his own, the now-departed Jaeger O’Meara, Jack Martin and Harley Bennell would sometimes put on a show, and Karmichael Hunt (remember him?) once gave us one of the all-time great finishes to a game of footy.

But there might not have been a more significant period of play in Suns history than what took place in the last two minutes of the second quarter against West Coast on Saturday evening at Metricon Stadium.

It was quite something to watch as the Suns bossed the premiership fancies around the footy with tackles, bumps, desperate acts and one percenters that coaches just love. The Eagles could barely win a clear possession and when they did, they were hammered and they coughed it up.

The two minutes of physical domination didn’t even end in a goal. Ben King had a shot for goal on the half-time siren that clattered into the post, to leave the home team just three points ahead. But it didn’t really matter. The point had been made.

The 50 minutes of football that followed was the icing as the Suns cantered away to a 44-point win, their first since round four last year. That’s 426 days. It might prove to be one of their most significant.

We have been here before with the Suns. They won three of their first five under Stewart Dew in 2018 and went 3-1 over the first month of last season. They’re 1-1 now and are yet to play away from home.

But Saturday night felt different. The win was powered by 2019 No. 1 draft pick Matt Rowell, who had 26 touches (14 contested), six score involvements and two goals. Two games in and he has already demonstrated the willingness and the capacity to carry this team on his incredibly broad shoulders. Best mate and No. 2 pick Noah Anderson chimed in 19 touches and his first goal. King took seven marks. Jack Lukosius was outstanding down back.

Gold Coast has cornered the market the past two years when it comes to the best young talent in the country and Saturday night gave us the first real glimpse of what might happen when they - and several other handy youngsters such as Jack Bowes, Ben Ainsworth and Wil Powell - all click at the same time.

And Izak Rankine, ranked by many as the best of the 2018 draft class that included Lukosius, Sam Walsh and Connor Rozee, is still yet to make his debut.

Gold Coast’s thumping win could not have been more timely. Most of the club’s emerging talent have signed through until the end of 2022. They’re backing themselves in as a collective to lift the club out of the mire and to make some history of their own as they seek to become the first decent Gold Coast side. So many great teams have been forged by players from the same few drafts who make a commitment to stick together.

And with a freshly signed and sealed TV rights extension in Gillon McLachlan’s top drawer, the Suns have five years of certainty ahead to build their team, grow their business and become the first Australian professional sporting team of any description to achieve success on the Gold Coast.

If you barrack for footy and not just your team, you want the Suns to do well. They likely won’t be playing in prime-time any time soon, but as those of us who flicked over from the Showdown on Saturday night can attest, they already make for a great night in.

Gold Coast

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