A ferocious, fighting and frugal Gold Coast has won its first game of the season, almost completely shutting out West Coast in a 33-point triumph at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Despite losing leader Jamie Stanton to what appeared a serious knee injury in the first quarter, the SUNS dominated all over the ground to run out 7.5 (47) to 2.2 (14) winners.
The Eagles kicked their two goals late in the final term.
Alison Drennan shook an early tag from Aisling McCarthy to be the game's best player, finishing with 24 disposals, seven clearances, nine tackles and a well-earned fourth quarter goal.
She spearheaded a SUNS onball brigade that outworked their opponents, dominating the clearance battle (31-17) and allowing the ball to spend large periods of the match in their front half. Claudia Whitfort and Charlie Rowbottom were also highly influential.
Courtney Jones kicked two goals in her first game for the club, while Giselle Davies also kicked one on debut.
After losing heavily to North Melbourne in the opening round, Gold Coast's intensity was on-song early, gang-tackling without the ball and surging in numbers with it.
The SUNS laid an incredible 81 tackles despite having the lion's share of possession. To West Coast's credit, it laid 87 tackles, but battled to win enough ball.
Jones' first goal came courtesy of pinning Jess Sedunary and winning a holding-the-ball decision, while impressive Daisy D'Arcy laid a tackle in the final 30 seconds that led to a Tara Bohanna goal to show the SUNS' desperation for all four quarters.
The Eagles had the majority of play for the opening 10 minutes, but Gold Coast's defence was stout, led by ever-reliable Viv Saad.
When they got their own bit of ascendency, the Suns got on the board through Jones and Bess Keaney to take a handy 11-point lead to the first change.
With Drennan and Rowbottom beginning to assert themselves around the contest, the home team had more field position and eventually Ash Atkins took a nice mark in the goal square to extend the lead before half-time.
Did you see that?
In a tight first half, every goal felt like gold, so you can imagine the lift Gold Coast got when Bess Keaney kicked truly as the quarter-time siren sounded. With the ball locked inside their forward 50 and the clock ticking, Lauren Bella and Rowbottom used quick handballs to find Keaney in space as she launched it from 35m just in the nick of time.
One passage of play, two casualties
In the space of 10 crazy seconds late in the first quarter, both teams lost a player for the rest of the game to injury. With the ball high in the air at Gold Coast's half-forward line, Eagle Belinda Smith flew high to take a mark, only to cop the full force of teammate Jess Sedunary who came from the side. As Sedunary then pursued the loose ball with Jamie Stanton, the veteran Sun collapsed to the ground clutching her left knee. Smith was assisted off with what appeared a rib injury, while Stanton hobbled off in tears.
Gold Coast has one of the toughest assignments in the League next weekend when they face Queensland rivals Brisbane at the Gabba, on Saturday afternoon at 4:40pm
GOLD COAST 2.0 3.1 5.3 7.5 (47)
WEST COAST 0.1 0.1 0.2 2.2 (14)
Gold Coast: Jones 2, Keaney, Atkins, Davies, Drennan, Bohanna
West Coast: Bartlett, McCarthy
Gold Coast: Drennan, Whitfort, Darcy, Rowbottom, Jones, Bella, Dupuy
West Coast: Hooker, Swanson, McCarthy, Lewis
Gold Coast: Stanton (knee)
West Coast: Smith (chest)
Crowd: TBC at Metricon Stadium