Gold Coast will welcome back an important half-forward to face Brisbane on Saturday night and is confident of breaking its eight-game losing streak against the Lions.
While coach Stuart Dew said Brisbane, winner of six consecutive matches, was in a nice patch of form, he believed the SUNS were ready to challenge after winning three of their past four.
Gold Coast will travel an hour north to the Gabba with dynamic half-forward Ben Ainsworth back in the team after missing two matches with a corked quad, while defensive terrier Nick Holman (foot) will be assessed at training on Wednesday night.
Dew said there was no reason why his team could not win its first match against Chris Fagan's men since 2018.
"We believe if we can play our game for longer, we can win the game of footy," he said.
"We match up reasonably well. We've probably got similar styles and statistically we're around the same mark in a lot of different ways.
"We probably know their game and they know ours. It's one thing knowing and another thing executing.
"You've just got to take your chances as well."
After being largely uncompetitive in the QClash for many years, Gold Coast closed the gap in 2022, being burnt by Brisbane's efficiency at Heritage Bank Stadium before a powerful fourth quarter saw the Lions claim a win at the Gabba.
However, despite missing key players Touk Miller and Lachie Weller, both with knee injuries, the SUNS now have some continuity and a profile that can challenge the premiership fancies.
"We've got a competitive group and we're maturing," Dew said.
"Our games profile is in a really good spot.
"I don't buy into the age thing (as an excuse) anymore, because a lot of our guys played a lot of footy at a young age. "We've been up around 90 games (average) the last couple of weeks, that's a big shift for our footy club."
Dew said he was particularly intrigued by the midfield battle that would pit his young tyros Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson against proven Lions stars Lachie Neale and Josh Dunkley.
"Somewhere there the spectator in me will enjoy that midfield battle, as long as we come out on top," he said.