Round 7 2021 – Gold Coast v Collingwood at the MCG. Caleb Graham lined up against Brodie Grundy in the ruck at the first bounce. He palmed it down perfectly to Touk Miller who swung onto his right and kicked long inside 50.

The ball sailed over the head of Chris Burgess and his Pies opponent Mark Keane to where Josh Corbett led Brayden Maynard to the loose ball. He gathered on the first bounce and fired a quick handpass to Burgess running past on the outside. Burgess juggled it but steadied and from 25m on a 45-degree angle he nailed it.

The timeclock showed all of 15 seconds. And the SUNS had what at the time was and still is the quickest first goal in the club’s 289-game history.

It was a perfect start to what would be one of the SUNS’ great wins – a 24-point triumph over the Pies at headquarters secured after Corbett also kicked the SUNS’ last three goals in the final term.

And it’s the headline story for the Round-by-Round Flashback this week – Round 7.

Corbett, now at Fremantle, took 11 marks and had 16 possessions to go with his career-best four goals to earn him the first and still only Brownlow Medal vote of his career.

Miller had 34 possessions for three votes and Brandon Ellis, in his 199th career game, had 34 possessions for two votes. Jack Bowes had 30 possessions and Hugh Greenwood a rare ‘triple double’ – 26 possessions, 10 tackles and 12 clearances – plus a goal.

The Burgess goal is one of 15 in SUNS history kicked inside the first minute of a game, and one of 98 kicked inside the first five minutes.

It pipped by two seconds a sizzler from Touk Miller against Richmond which was the club’s first goal at People First Stadium in Round 17 2019.

It came after Jarrod Witts beat Ivan Soldo in the ruck to hit the ball to space at the bounce. Jack Martin ran onto it and kicked to a leading Peter Wright. It was punched clear where Miller, who had been at the first bounce, gathered on the 50m arc, ran about 5m and let fly a tumbling punt which bounced through. It took officially 17 seconds.

Martin kicked the third quickest in Round 2 2019 when, after the SUNS bashed and crashed the ball forward from the centre. He ran onto a speculator handpass at half forward and goaled from 40m on the run. It took 20 seconds.

Who has kicked most ‘first goals’ for the SUNS. Not surprisingly it’s the club’s all-time leading goal-kicker Tom Lynch with 25 from Gary Ablett (13), Ben King (12), Sam Day (12), Harley Bennell (11), Charlie Dixon (11), Alex Sexton (11) and Peter Wright (11).

King holds the record for most ‘first goals’ in a season – he kicked six in 2021. Lynch (2015-16)), Corbett (2021) and Jack Lukosius (2022) each did so five times in a season.

And the longest wait in a game for the SUNS’ first goal? It was in Round 5 2021 against the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium when the club faithful had to wait through a first quarter that ran 28min 22sec and then 31min 48sec into the second term – a total of 60min 10sec -before Jack Lukosius found the big sticks. And by then the Dogs had kicked 11.

All this came after Dixon kicked the SUNS’ very first goal in their first game against Carlton at the Gabba in Round 2 2011. It took 15min 34sec.

Who kicked the first SUNS goal at most different venues? Harley Bennell did the job at the MCG, Kardinia Park in Geelong and Manuka Oval in Canberra, while Sam Day was first on the scoreboard at Mars Stadium in Ballarat and at the new Perth Stadium, and Tom Lynch likewise at People First Stadium and Marrara Oval in Darwin.

Michael Barlow kicked the SUNS’ first goal off-shore at Jiangwan Stadium in China, while Brandon Matera (Football Park), Dion Prestia (Adelaide Oval) and Brayden Fiorini (Mt.Barker) covered off the South Australian venues.

Zac Smith (Subiaco) and Day (Perth Stadium) did likewise in Western Australia and Ben Ainsworth (Bellerive Oval in Hobart) and Jared Brennan (York Park in Launceston) in Tasmania, while the first goal at the four Queensland venues were split between Dixon (Gabba), David Swallow (Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns), Wil Powell (Riverway Stadium in Townsville) and Lynch (Carrara).

Sean Lemmens (Traeger Park in Alice Springs) completed the ‘first goal’ in NT with Lynch (Darwin), while, in NSW, Jack Hutchins’ first goal was the SUNS’ first goal at the SCG, before Gary Ablett opened the account at Sydney Showgrounds.  

And who kicked the first SUNS goal against most opposition sides? It’s a great trivia question?

Lynch? Ablett? Dixon? Or Danny Stanley, who was the club’s leading goal-kicker in their first season in 2011? No.

It was Zac Smith, who kicked the SUNS’ first score in their first game before Dixon recorded the first goal. He kicked the SUNS’ first goal against three different clubs – Adelaide, St.Kilda and West Coast.

Lynch opened the account against Collingwood and Geelong and Brandon Matera did likewise against Melbourne and Port Adelaide. Others have been Stanley (Brisbane), Dixon (Carlton), Michael Rischitelli (Essendon), Trent McKenzie (Fremantle), Harley Bennell (GWS), Jared Brennan (Hawthorn), Josh Fraser (North), Swallow (Richmond), Sam Iles (Sydney) and Daniel Gorringe (W/Bulldogs).

Charlie Ballard (115 games), Rory Thompson (106), Sam Collins (95), Jesse Joyce (64) Adam Saad (48), Callum AhChee (45), Tom Nicholls (45), Karmichael Hunt (44), Greg Broughton (42), Pearce Hanley (40) and Seb Tape (40) have played most games without kicking a ‘first goal’.

And most goals without a ‘first goal’? It’s Josh Caddy (17) from Bailey Humphrey (13), Jarrad Grant (11), Andrew Boston (10) and Jarrod Garlett (10).

The SUNS quickest goal in Round 7 2021 is one of a string of memorable Round 7 moments in club history.

2011 – First Q-Clash Win

A moment SUNS fans will never forget – the club’s first win over local rivals Brisbane in the first Q-Clash at the Gabba.  It was the club’s second win overall after their breakthrough against Port Adelaide in Round 5, and was an absolute cracker.

Up by 27 points at halftime and 18 points at three-quarter, the SUNS saw the Lions pull level 24 minutes and 28 minutes into the final term before Nathan Krakouer, Brandon Matera and Liam Patrick goaled to get the ‘new boys’ home 18-16 (124) to 17-14 (116).

Patrick, in his second game, kicked his first and second goal in the final term, while Krakouer, the former Port Adelaide utility who was among the club’s first signings, also kicked two in the final term to register the SUNS’ first five-goal bag.

Jared Brennan, with 30 possessions (21 contested), 14 clearances and a goal against his former club, took the three Brownlow Medal votes, while Zac Smith’s 22 possessions and 17 hit-outs earned him two votes. Michael Rischitelli, the other half of the SUNS’ ex-Brisbane pair, had 29 possessions and 10 tackles as Tom Lynch, Sam Day and Joey Day made their AFL debut.

2013 – First MCG Win

The SUNS posted their first win at ‘headquarters’ in Round 7 2013 when they blitzed Melbourne by 60 points. Gary Ablett (38), Harley Bennell (32) and Dion Prestia (30) had 100 possessions between them to share the Brownlow votes, as Zac Smith and Campbell Brown kicked three goals apiece – a career-best for the big ruckman and a SUNS-best for the ex-Hawk.

It was the SUNS’ fifth game at the MCG, their first win over the League’s oldest club and 11 years on is still the SUNS’ biggest MCG win. And it was a killer blow for Melbourne coach Mark Neeld, who was sacked a month later with a 5-28 record.

2014 – First Docklands Win

The SUNS enjoyed their first win at what was originally Colonial Stadium (2000-02), later Telstra Dome (2002-09) and Etihad Stadium (2009-18) and is now Marvel Stadium when they beat North Melbourne by 43 points in Round 7 2014.

They kicked the first seven goals as Gary Ablett (28 possessions, four goals) and Dion Prestia (28 possessions, one goal) dominated through the midfield, and Charlie Dixon and Brandon Matera kicked three goals. North’s Lachie Hansen received the three medal votes for 30 possessions in defence.

2016 – The SUNS’ First 100-Gamer

Jarrod Harbrow was one of seven established AFL players who comprised the first batch of players to defect to the SUNS, joining Nathan Bock, Jared Brennan, Michael Rischitelli, Campbell Brown, Josh Fraser and Nathan Krakouer.

And in Round 7 2016, in the club’s 117th game, the former Cairns junior and Western Bulldogs rookie pick turned 70-game defender was the first player to reach 100 games for the club.

Trent McKenzie (97), Rischitelli (93), Gary Ablett (89), Tom Lynch (87), Dion Prestia, Matt Shaw (87) and Sam Day (85) were next on the games list at the time, with Harley Bennell having played 81 games before leaving the club at the end of 2016, and David Swallow at 79 before he missed the entire 2016 season due to injury.

Sadly, the result didn’t match the occasion for Harbrow – the Demons won by 73 points.

2018 – A Record Queensland Contingent

In Round 7 2018 the SUNS played their first game and the second overall at Ballarat, leading at every change against the Western Bulldogs before going down by seven points.

It was the day the SUNS side included nine Queenslanders – still the biggest contingent of homegrown players in club history.

Flying the flag for the Maroons were Jarrod Harbrow, Alex Sexton, Rory Thompson, Lachie Weller, Jack Bowes, Jesse Joyce, Brad Scheer, Max Spencer and Brayden Crossley, who debuted with Charlie Ballard.

2021 – A Marks Record

Brandon Ellis had averaged 5.3 marks a game through 176 games at Richmond before joining the SUNS in 2020, but in his 23rd game in red and yellow and his 199th game overall in Round 7 2021 he tripled that with a club record 16 marks against Collingwood at the MCG.

This bettered the previous club best of 15, set by Charlie Ballard in 2019, and a group of nine players (including some unlikely inclusions) who have had 14 marks – Ellis, Jacob Dawson, Jack Bowes, Lachie Weller, Ben Ainsworth, Oleg Markov, Stevenn May (three times), Tom Lynch and Jack Lukosius.

Ellis’ SUNS record is only two-thirds of the all-time AFL record of 24 held by Melbourne’s Greg Parke in 1970 and the Western Bulldogs’ Brian Lake in 2007.