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Byron Shire
February 3, 2023

A Mothers Day to remember

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 Matthew Lodge

The Gold Coast Suns demolished Melbourne to the tune of 60 points at the MCG on Sunday afternoon in what could only be called a ‘Mothers Day debacle’ for the AFL.

On a day when the cumulative attendances for the two Mothers Day matches totalled southward of 20,000 (the GWS/Adelaide game garnered a lowly 5,800 at Skoda Stadium earlier in the afternoon), Gold Coast ensured a few more records tumbled in achieving their third win for the season and their first at the home of football.

Against a side that missed co-captains Jack Trengove and Jack Grimes plus key position players Mitch Clark and Mark Jamar, the Suns would have fancied themselves to take the scalp of the Demons at a venue where the Gold Coast have an average losing margin of 88 points.

They took an early advantage outscoring, out-possessing, out-tackling and out-working the woeful Demons with a five-goal-to-nothing first quarter.

The result didn’t get any prettier for the Demons, who never looked in any position to challenge a rejuvenated Gold Coast side who didn’t seem fazed by the unfamiliar position of being so far in front so early in a match.

It was a characteristic that Suns’ coach Guy McKenna alluded to in his post-match press conference. ‘We haven’t often been in that position so their composure, if you like, and then to face the lack of rotations in the modern game – for them to weather that and compose themselves and see their way through [was pleasing]’, McKenna said. ‘There haven’t been too many [occasions] in our short history in the AFL where we’ve actually jumped a side the way we did and maintained that lead.’

Although Melbourne was insipid, the Suns were impressive, hitting back hard after a disappointing loss to Fremantle a week earlier.

Gary Ablett was unstoppable, hardly wasting a possession and bringing teammates into the game at will.

It wasn’t only Ablett doing the job though, with the Suns controlling the ball and having three touches for every two to the Demons.

The Suns also had nearly twice as many tackles, recording 71 to 38. They were given more space than an old drunk with bad breath.

Zac Smith dominated in the ruck and kicked three first-half goals. Dion Prestia was handy in the midfield and Jared Brennan was his usual infuriating best until Colin Sylvia flattened him. Once the team got rolling, so too did Harley Bennell, while in defence Rory Thompson stood tall.

Gold Coast is an improving team that is gradually moving out of the AFL’s underclass. In the end it lost Brennan and Tom Murphy to concussion after using its substitute, but kept dominating.

The now-thirteenth placed Suns face the Western Bulldogs at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, with McKenna keen for his players to work on areas he still thought they lacked against the Demons.

‘We weren’t composed all the time. There’re still things you want to iron out because the quality sides you come up against will make you pay,’ he said. ‘It was a good performance but, as a grumpy old coach, we know we can get it better.’

 

The final Score: Gold Coast Suns 16.18. (114) def Melbourne 7. 12. (54).

 

 

 

 

 


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