The SUNS weren’t able to get the win in Mackay on Sunday, going down to the Lions by 19 points.

In blustery conditions at Great Barrier Reef Arena, it was a three-goal blitz in the opening term by the Lions which ultimately cost the SUNS, with the final score resting at 2.1 (13) to 4.8 (32).

The effort and intensity was there for Gold Coast in the opening half, but it wasn’t until the second half when things started to click.

The SUNS were able to execute some cleaner ball movement through the middle of the ground and hit up targets in the forward line for scores.

AFLW Senior Coach, David Lake, said he was happy with his side’s response after the main break to get reward for their efforts.

WATCH: David Lake post-match

“The first half we took a little while to find our way, it was almost like we were watching and reacting to what Brisbane would do,” Lake said post-match. 

“But I felt like in the second half we adjusted and we realised that we still had the right to be good as well and we went about our business.

“I thought the game went to another level in the second half and it would be fair to say we won the second half and started to look like a real footy side.” 

Hometown hero Lauren Bella was named co-captain for the match alongside Jamie Stanton and stood up for the occasion.

One of the highlights of the match was her effort on the wing to gain ground and chase down an opponent to win a holding the ball free kick for her side.

Lake also praised the bravery of SUNS Academy prospect Serene Watson when she went back with the flight to take a sublime mark on the opposite side of the ground.

Sam Virgo started the match in the forward line but was swung into defence for the second half where she used her voice to organise the backline.

She swapped with another Academy graduate in Kalinda Howarth, who after starting the game in defence moved back to her natural forward position and kicked the first goal for the SUNS in the final quarter.

WATCH: Howarth post-match

Sally Riley was also able to hit the scoreboard in the final term, which the SUNS won convincingly.

Experienced defender Tiarna Ernst was one of the best afield for the SUNS with her work to either out-mark or spoil her opponent shining through. 

Despite the result on the scoreboard, Lake said he could take plenty of learnings away from the match to continue the club’s build to 2020.

“I walk away from this with a little bit more information about where my list is going,” he said. 

“Some of that is bad for some people and some of that is good for some people but that’s why we play these games, to build our list and make sure we land in the right place come the end of October.” 

The final Winter Series game will be played on Saturday July 13 at the Gabba.