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Four talking points: Round 5

RD5: Desperate defense saves the Suns A brilliant defensive effort allows Gold Coast to hold on

1. Defensive efforts save the day

In a tight game, every defensive effort was going to prove crucial and the SUNS showed that a victory in this game meant a lot. Their desperation and willingness to throw everything at the Lions was typified by Touk Miller’s final quarter smother. From second efforts and spoils to intercept marks, there were plenty more examples of Gold Coast withstanding a final quarter onslaught from Brisbane. The defensive pressure was noticeable all over the ground, with their tackling and intent back to what it was like during the opening two rounds of the season. The SUNS will be keen to maintain their tackling numbers, where they currently rank second in the league with an average of 70 per game.


2. Miller the match-winner

Touk Miller’s smother was just one of the midfielder’s highlights for the night, who was awarded best on ground honours and took home the Marcus Ashcroft Medal as a result. He stifled the influence of Brisbane’s All Australian Dayne Zorko, restricting the normally damaging midfielder to ten disposals. But it was his ability to also have an influence for the SUNS offensively that pleased Stuart Dew the most after finishing with 21 disposals, seven clearances and four inside 50s. "It’s not a shut-down (role), otherwise Touk would end up with five or six touches. He is a trusted onballer that we all love the way he goes about it.” Dew said.


 3. Martin steps up in defence

Gold Coast utility Jack Martin has been used in all sorts of positions throughout his career, so it was no surprise to see him slot into the backline on Sunday night with relative ease. Having a skilled ball user behind the footy proved to be an effective tactic for the SUNS as Martin finished the game with 19 disposals (16 kicks) at 90% efficiency, to go along with nine rebound 50s. He also had nine marks for the game, including two crucial intercept marks in the defensive 50.


4. SUNS spread the clearance load

One area in which Gold Coast and Brisbane have both excelled this season is around stoppages, with the SUNS narrowly winning the clearance count 35-33 at the Gabba on Sunday. Miller was the SUNS’ leading clearance winner with seven, while midfielder Jarryd Lyons had six. Lyons currently sits third in the competition with an average of 8.2 per game, with only Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell and Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe sitting ahead of him. A number of other SUNS got involved and won their share of the footy from stoppages, with David Swallow and ruckman Jarrod Witts featuring prominently.