With one of the best performances in club history, Gold Coast has snapped a nine-game losing streak against Brisbane with a 41-point upset at Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday night.
Right from the first bounce where Touk Miller went to man Lachie Neale, the SUNS were in the Lions' jumpers all game, out-hunting and out-working their more fancied rivals to win 15.6 (96) to 7.13 (55).
It was the first time they have won a QClash since 2018 and it could not have been more impressive.
Make no mistake, this was a case of the SUNS, now with a 9-10 win-loss record, playing well more than the Lions being below their best.
The home team played with a defensive intensity and ferocity for all four quarters that has been all too patchy in 2023, with Miller blanketing Neale (17 disposals) and earning his fourth Marcus Ashcroft Medal as the best player afield.
There was a few spot-fires throughout the night, with Miller and Dayne Zorko reacquainting themselves with some heated words, Lincoln McCarthy having a Charlie Cameron shot at goal reversed for ill-discipline, and Mac Andrew doing likewise late in the game for an incident involving Jarrod Berry.
But when the ball was there to be won, the SUNS pounced, and when they didn't have it, they blanketed the Lions and gave them no space to move.
The loss puts a dint in Brisbane's top two aspirations, leaving them still trailing Port Adelaide with just four matches remaining.
Gold Coast played with an intensity and vigour that's been lacking since the bye, forcing Brisbane into mistakes and applying all sorts of pressure from the opening minutes.
After not kicking a goal in the past month, King was one of the catalysts, kicking three in the first half and making his presence felt by crashing packs whenever the ball was in his vicinity.
His teammates followed.
Interim coach Steven King tinkered with his midfield, playing Rowell at half-forward as much as the centre square in the first half, and making Miller accountable for Neale.
The moves worked as the SUNS won their share of ball around the contest, led by Anderson, and kicked three goals to one in the second quarter to take a deserved three-point lead to the main change.
The Lions were just a fraction off, and were rattled for small periods.
King breaks the drought
It was a month between drinks for Ben King, but it didn't take long to quench his thirst. Gold Coast's full-forward got into the game early with a nice lead and mark from a Noah Anderson kick which he calmly went back and slotted. Five minutes later he was at it again – this time from an exquisite Jack Lukosius pass – and was giving opponent Harris Andrews some headaches. King kicked a third before half-time and finished with five for the night in a commanding performance.
The Miller tag on Neale
It was a statement from the opening bounce with Gold Coast sending its co-captain Touk Miller to run-with Lachie Neale. Miller made a name for himself as a tagger earlier in his career and showed just why by making life difficult for the Brownlow medallist. Neale had just three disposals in the first quarter, fought back with seven in the second and had another six in the third. Meanwhile, Miller was becoming more and more influential with the ball, racking up 29 disposals and keeping his opponent to just 17 with a relentless work-rate that wore Neale down.
Lions top-two hopes on the ropes
After winning five of its previous six matches, Brisbane had moved to within a game of Port Adelaide in its desperate race for the top two. This loss puts a huge question mark over that hunt. Regardless of what happens in Saturday night's Showdown, the Lions will trail Ken Hinkley's men with just four rounds remaining. Zac Bailey is due back from a calf injury next week, but the trip west to play Fremantle suddenly doesn't look so easy after the Dockers' shock win over Geelong.
GOLD COAST 2.2 5.3 10.3 15.6 (96)
BRISBANE 3.3 4.6 6.10 7.13 (55)
Gold Coast: King 5, Casboult 2, Ainsworth 2, Rosas jnr, Rowell, Macpherson, Farrar, Ellis, Anderson
Brisbane: Cameron 2, Zorko, McCluggage, McCarthy, Lohmann, Hipwood
Gold Coast: Miller, Anderson, King, Powell, Rowell, Flanders
Brisbane: Dunkley, Coleman, McCluggage, Ah Chee, Wilmot
Gold Coast: Nil
Brisbane: Coleman (head)
Gold Coast: Jy Farrar (replaced Elijah Hollands in the fourth quarter)
Brisbane: James Tunstill (replaced Jaspa Fletcher in the fourth quarter)
Crowd: 14,097 at Heritage Bank Stadium
QClash Medal Voting
7 - Touk Miller
3 - Noah Anderson
3 - Ben King
3 - Sam Flanders
2 - Wil Powell
Alistair Lynch (Fox Footy)
3 – Touk Miller
2 – Ben King
1 – Noah Anderson
Michael Whiting (AFL.com)
3 – Touk Miller
2 – Noah Anderson
1 – Ben King
Jeff White (ABC)
3 – Sam Flanders
2 – Wil Powell
1 – Touk Miller