One of the biggest matches in Gold Coast's history turned into disappointment as red-hot Collingwood ran riot in a 78-point victory at a sold-out Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday night.
The Magpies were as scintillating as the SUNS were listless, leading by as much as 84 points midway through the third quarter before the home team put a degree of respectability into the scoreline.
The 18.12 (120) to 5.12 (42) win in front of a crowd of 22,483 keeps Collingwood on top of the competition ladder.
Nick Daicos absolutely dominated in his new role as a full-time midfielder, finishing with a game-high 36 disposals that included eight clearances to go with a lovely running goal.
His lightning quick hands in congestion were a delight to watch, igniting a run-and-gun brand of football that left the SUNS reeling.
But while the Magpies whiz-kid put another down-payment on his Brownlow Medal aspirations, it was his team's overwhelming work-rate with and without the ball that was the difference between the teams.
Collingwood kicked the only four goals of the opening term, including two to Jamie Elliott, and could have led by more, such was its dominance.
The second quarter offered up some of the best – or worst – football of the season, depending on your leaning. On three occasions Collingwood went from one end of the field to the other with sweeping play that ended in goals.
Although the SUNS kicked the final four goals of the third quarter to somewhat limit the damage, their effort for most of the night was lacking.
Entering the match with a 7-7 record and a chance to stamp themselves as genuine top eight contenders, they were second to the ball – trailing the clearance count 22-10 at half-time.
Noah Anderson was arguably the SUNS’ best, compiling an individual performance worthy of recognition with 35 disposals, seven clearances and 605 metres gained.
With the ball in his end for the majority of the match, Charlie Ballard put up another resilient defensive performance with a match-high 11 intercept possessions and three contested marks down back.
A next-up outing against Port Adelaide beckons, were the club has another opportunity to prove itself against a premiership contender.
GOLD COAST 0.2 1.4 5.7 5.12 (42)
COLLINGWOOD 4.4 11.6 14.10 18.12 (120)
Gold Coast: Rowell 2, Ainsworth 2, Oea
Collingwood: Elliott 5, Hill 2, Frampton 2, Noble, Markov, Lipinski, Hoskin-Elliott, N.Daicos, Crisp, Cox, Cameron, Adams
Gold Coast: Anderson, Ballard, Rowell, Flanders
Collingwood: N.Daicos, Noble, Elliott, Quaynor, Moore, Mitchell
Gold Coast: Nil
Gold Coast: Rory Atkins (replaced Hewago Oea at half-time)
Collingwood: Harvey Harrison (replaced Jeremy Howe in the third quarter)
Crowd: 22,483 at Heritage Bank Stadium