Gold Coast has gone down in its VFL season opener, falling to Richmond by 23 points at People First Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers took the lead early in the first term and led for the remainder of the contest, despite a surge late in the third term from the SUNS.

Three goals in quick succession from Ethan Read, Joel Jeffrey and Jack Mahony cut the margin from a game-high 35 points to just 19 at the final break.

Richmond would kick the only goal of the final quarter in time-on to hold on 11.10 (76) to 7.11 (53).

Read kicked the game’s first goal, which doubled as his first major at VFL level, before finishing as the SUNS’ only multiple goalkicker. Mahony and fellow new recruit Will Rowlands also registered their first goals in SUNS colours.

Rebounding off half back, Joel Jeffrey led all comers with 34 disposals and a goal, while James Tsitas (32 touches) and Oskar Faulkhead (29 disposals, one goal) also won plenty of the ball in midfield.

Darcy Macpherson (28 disposals) and Sean Lemmens (26 disposals) were involved in defence while 17-year-old Leo Lombard impressed in midfield and was the home side’s leading possession winner at the main break, before finishing with 25.

SUNS Academy graduate Jake Rogers also played his first game since returning from injury, registering 19 touches and a game-high 10 tackles.

The Round 2 bye followed by a competition-wide bye for Gather Round means the SUNS don’t return to VFL until Saturday, April 13 to face Box Hill Hawks in a VFL-AFL double header at People First Stadium.

GOLD COAST VFL   2.2       3.5       7.8       7.11 (53) 

RICHMOND VFL     5.3       7.5       10.6       11.10 (76)

Gold Coast: Read 2, Farrar, Faulkhead, Rowlands, Jeffrey, Mahony

Richmond: Cumberland 2, May 2, McAuliffe, Sonsie, Naismith, Harris, Ryan, Johnson, Koschitzke