The Gold Coast Suns broke a few records in their short history in the AFL, on the way to thumping fellow expansion club the Greater Western Sydney Giants by 44 points at StarTrack Oval, Canberra, on Saturday afternoon.
Gold Coast passed milestones such as their highest ever score in a quarter (8.2 during the second term) and highest score in a match (148 points) as they led for all but seven minutes of the match.
Charlie Dixon’s six goals and nine contested marks arguably rewarded him with three Brownlow votes and was well supported by fellow ruckman Zac Smith (three goals) who played his best game for the club.
Suns skipper Gary Ablett was once again influential with 32 possessions and three goals, despite being matched up on GWS ball winners Toby Greene, Tom Scully and Rhys Palmer at different stages.
Jaeger O’Meara (14 contested possessions and a game-high 11 clearances) was also outstanding for Gold Coast, while Dylan Shiel, Devon Smith and Callan Ward worked tirelessly in the middle for the Giants. The match was locked up at 21 points apiece at quarter time, but Gold Coast took control after the first break.
The Suns led by 37 points midway through the second term, only for the Giants to fight back and reduce their buffer to 25 points at half time off the back of some smart play from Shiel.
GWS trailed by only seven points early in the third quarter, but couldn’t continue its resurgence in the decisive final quarter when Dixon and teammate, Jarred Brennan, took over.
For the Giants, it was the second week in a row in which their young legs began to tire at the crucial stage of the last quarter, being on the wrong end of big last quarters from Melbourne and now Gold Coast.
In spite of this, Giants’ coach Kevin Sheedy was optimistic about his side kicking aggressive scores. ‘It was pleasing to grab a sixteen goal effort for consecutive weeks,’ Sheedy said post match. ‘They had more chances on goal than us and credit to them; they’re a more experienced side.
‘Our mindset has to be a lot more defensive and it’s something that we’re working at. It’s something that’s fairly midfield oriented, but at the same time we have to get better when it’s our turn to take our chances.’
Suns’ coach Guy McKenna praised his side for its second win of 2013 despite the absence of several of the Suns’ leaders. ‘I thought, overall, the team actually stood up, which was the pleasing thing because sometimes when GWS were coming at us, Gaz (Ablett) was forward,’ McKenna said after the game. ‘So again a young midfield had to stem the tide and a defence had to hold their own, and I thought to a man they did that.
‘There’s things we can tidy up, but I certainly think it’s a good shot in the arm for the boys for their belief and reward for effort.’
The Suns will return home to face Fremantle at Metricon Stadium next Saturday night, finishing Round 5 in 11thposition – their highest spot since joining the AFL.
For the Giants, it continues a winless start to the season, compounded by failing badly against two sides they had realistic chances of beating. They face a tall order of taking an undefeated Essendon side at Etihad Stadium next Saturday afternoon.
Final Score: Gold Coast 21.22. (148) defeated GWS Giants 16.8. (104).