In its first game against Collingwood, and first visit to Victoria Park, Gold Coast snatched an upset win.

That win wasn't just an upset in the context of the Pies' strengths, but it was the SUNS' first win against a Victorian side in Melbourne, and just their second against one of the inaugural eight teams.

While Jamie Stanton kicked three big goals and Charlie Rowbottom and Claudia Whitfort starred in the midfield, it was the role of Lucy Single that really solidified the SUNS' control.

After being on the fringes of Gold Coast's best 21 last season, which saw her play seven of a possible 10 games, Single has become an important defensive midfielder. Akin to the work of cross-town rival Cathy Svarc at Brisbane, what Single has done so well is not only her ability to stop her opponent but also become damaging with the ball herself.

"It's hard not making the team but I think, not to be corny, but I feel like it's made me stronger mentally and physically," Single told

"I spoke with the coaches and staff and asked, 'what can I do to try and make the 21 every week?' and they just gave me some feedback and then I just took it on. I really just committed basically everything to football. Quit my job, cut down on Uni and just put my head down.

"It was like, 'Let's go'. You only get the chance once and we're so lucky to be able to play footy."

That extra commitment has served her well, being handed a role on some of the best midfielders in the competition each week this year.

In round one it was season six Rising Star winner Mimi Hill, in round two it was West Coast captain Emma Swanson, and last week, 2021 AFLW Best and Fairest winner Brianna Davey.

The results have spoken for themselves, as the output of each player has been limited when going into battle against Single.

"I think just trying to learn about her as a player," Single said of her preparation.

"Every player has their weaknesses, as good as they are, there's always something that you can try and figure out or even find a way for me to use my own strengths … and I think also getting in the right mental space to believe that I can do it."

Working against such dangerous players has allowed Single to excel, learning up close how to find the footy.

"The opportunity to play on the best girls in the comp each week definitely teaches me a lot. And then that way, I can follow them around and they can help me get the ball, I guess you could say," Single said.

"That's probably one of my biggest learnings to try and get my game smarts up. So doing this has probably been the best thing for me."

As Gold Coast looks ahead to hosting the winless Western Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon, another big task is likely in store for Single. Dogs captain Ellie Blackburn has been carrying a heavy load in the midfield, and should Single continue her run this season, it might just be the thing that gets the SUNS over the line for a third-straight win.