Don't look now, but Matt Rowell is starting to expand his game.

Often questioned for not having a balance between winning ball on the inside - something he's one of the best in the AFL at - and complementing it on the outside, Rowell put together arguably the most complete performance of his career in Friday night's win over West Coast in Perth.

The raw numbers were jaw-dropping; 29 disposals, 13 of them contested, 17 tackles, six clearances, 610m gained, a goal and three goal assists.

The goal was his first of 2023, bursting from congestion and snapping on his right foot for the first goal of the game.

Rowell also took his first bounce, two in fact, of the season. The first led him to find space and hit Jack Lukosius on the lead with a lovely left-foot pass that led to a goal.

And perhaps most eye-catching of all, the 21-year-old bull had a career-high 17 uncontested possessions, mixing his game beautifully.

Rowell is now averaging almost nine uncontested possessions a game this year, up from an average of less than seven of his 48-game career.

"He was unbelievable," coach Stuart Dew said following the 70-point win.

"He used his speed and strength to get out of stoppage. He just thrives on AFL footy. I've never seen someone love their footy as much as 'Rowelly'."

The former No.1 draft pick burst on to the scene in 2020 when in games two, three and four of his career, he polled a combined nine Brownlow Medal votes, kicking two goals apiece in a hat-trick of Gold Coast victories.

He dislocated his shoulder in the next game and came back in 2021 only to suffer a three-month knee injury in the opening round.

Although pundits have been critical of Rowell's heavy inside ball-winning focus since, the SUNS love it.

His nickname around the club is the 'fox', for his ability to burrow and find the ball when others can't.

Rowell is putting together a fabulous season through nine rounds. He leads the league in tackles and pressure acts and is fifth for contested possessions won.

Although his 61.7 per cent contested possession rate is the highest of the top 20 contested possession winners, it is a mark barely higher than reigning Brownlow medallist Patrick Cripps (59.7 per cent).

It's not the feature of his game, but Rowell is slowly showing more of his ability to hurt the opposition away from congestion.