GOLD Coast is firmly in contention for an unlikely AFLW finals berth after beating Geelong by 11 points at Metricon Stadium.
Reigning wooden spooners after going winless last season, the Suns continued their rise up the ladder with a clinical performance on Friday night.
Gold Coast recovered from a slow start, overcoming a slight quarter-time deficit to run over the top of the Cats, 7.7 (49) to 6.2 (38).
It is the Suns' biggest score in their short history, going past the 7.4 (46) they kicked in round two.
The Suns' third win of 2022 already makes it their most successful campaign, going past the two-win, one-draw season in 2020.
Star Alison Drennan was outstanding, breaking her own record for most possessions by a Suns player in an AFLW game to finish with 30.
Drennan set the tone in the midfield as the Suns dominated clearances 36-20.
Gold Coast broke the game open in the third term, slotting through three goals to take an unassailable 24-point lead into the final change.
The Suns played their home deck exceptionally, running Geelong ragged with an exciting and attacking game style.
Tori Groves-Little fired in their first game for almost a month, kicking two goals - their first ever in AFLW - on return from a concussion suffered in round two.
For Geelong, forwards Phoebe McWilliams and Chloe Scheer made the most of their limited opportunities to slot two goals each.
Like Gold Coast, Geelong has seriously improved this season, but still only have one win to show from the first six rounds.
The Cats broke their drought with a last-gasp victory over the Eagles last week.
Gold Coast will back up on Thursday night with an intriguing QClash against the Brisbane Lions.
PERKO’S 30TH GAME
Though she had a relatively quiet night, Sarah Perkins notched up her 30th AFLW game against Geelong. While plenty of players have reached the same milestone, few have had a career with quite as many peaks and troughs as Perkins. Somewhat of a journey-woman of the AFLW competition, Perkins’ AFLW career has spanned three clubs, a premiership, All-Australian honours, a delisting, a top-up player cameo and a mature-age drafting, but it's looking like she's finally found her home in the Suns’ forward line. While she didn't score a goal against the Cats, Perkins was a strong presence up forward and created plenty of scoring chances for her teammates.
BATTLE OF THE TOP TWO PICKS
While Gold Coast and Geelong aren’t current powerhouses of the AFLW competition, the two teams boast some of the League’s brightest young stars. Drafted with picks No.1 and 2 respectively, Gold Coast’s Charlie Rowbottom and Geelong’s Georgie Prespakis were the two standouts of the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft, and went head-to-head on Friday night. Prespakis was everywhere early, breaking tackles and sidestepping opposition players, while Rowbottom came to the fore for the Suns as the game wore on. Both were among their sides' best players on Friday night, and show every sign of becoming the two of the League's best players.
GOLD COAST 1.3 3.3 6.6. 7.7 (49)
GEELONG 2.0 2.0 3.0. 6.2 (38)
Gold Coast: Groves-Little 2, Bella, Bohanna, Stanton, Hampson, Surman
Geelong: McWilliams 2, Scheer 2, Darby, Friswell
Gold Coast: Drennan, Groves-Little, Rowbottom, Stanton, Whitfort
Geelong: Prespakis, A. McDonald, Morrison, Webster, Scheer
Gold Coast: Nil
Gold Coast: Nil
Crowd: TBC at Metricon Stadium