GOLD Coast has outlasted Essendon in a thrilling Sunday night battle at People First Stadium, winning by 11 points to keep its perfect home record intact.

Taking a narrow lead into the final term, the SUNS had to stave off a brave Bombers, with a late Touk Miller goal icing the 14.7 (91) to 11.14 (80) victory.

Miller won a free kick at half-forward and was gifted a 50m penalty when Jayden Laverde failed to return the ball, taking the SUNS' co-captain to the top of the goal square.

It capped off a gripping contest that rose in intensity the further it went.

Gold Coast has now won all seven matches at home this season and snuck into eighth position ahead of facing St Kilda at Marvel Stadium in round 13.

There was plenty of heroes for the home team, with Ben Long's four goals in his 100th game inspirational.

Ben King also kicked four goals to rejoin Charlie Curnow at the top of the Coleman Medal race, while Noah Anderson (32 disposals), Miller (28) and Matt Rowell (26) were relentless.

The SUNS can thank their defensive unit for remaining in the match when under duress, with Sam Collins keeping Kyle Langford goalless and Mac Andrew and Bodhi Uwland also having big nights.

Essendon will rue some missed opportunities in front of goal, but despite losing, should lose no admirers as they fought back time after time in the second half.

They levelled the scores twice in the final term, but couldn't get their noses in front, despite the best efforts of captain Zach Merrett (33 disposals) and Nic Martin (24).

Essendon shot out of the blocks like an Olympic sprinter with slick ball movement and suffocating pressure seemingly a bit too much for the SUNS early on.

Peter Wright kicked the game's first goal at his former home ground and laid on another shortly after for Harrison Jones with an exquisite ball centred from the boundary line.

The Bombers won the ball back regularly at half-back, with Jordan Ridley and Martin particularly influential, and could have considered themselves unlucky to lead by just nine points at quarter-time.

But Gold Coast had its turn in the second quarter, with Anderson and Rowell becoming more involved in the middle of the ground and Collins and Andrew patrolling the defensive end and regularly winning the ball back for their team.

King kicked two of his team's four goals for the term to give his team an eight-point advantage at the main break.

He kicked a third to open the second half and when Long added another, the SUNS had a match-high 21-point lead.

But Essendon was going nowhere, with Martin and particularly captain Merrett inspiring their team back into the contest with big quarters.

Jye Caldwell and Nick Hind kicked goals to reduce the margin, but the Bombers missed some guilt-edged chances to put genuine heat on the SUNS going into the final term.

Long's big milestone match

In his 100th game and in front of more than 20 family and friends who had come down from the Northern Territory, Ben Long just refused to let his team lose. In his fourth match as a permanent forward, the former Saint had a day out, kicking a career-high four goals and spoon-feeding another to Ben King in the tense fourth quarter. Long was great in the air, great at ground level and halved contests when they had no right to be halved.

All the stars came out to play – on and off the field

In its 14-year existence, Gold Coast hasn't always been the hottest ticket in town, but in the final game of the round against one of the most popular clubs in the country, Sunday afternoon was different. Amongst a crowd of 21,759 – the fifth-biggest ever at People First Stadium – was a few familiar faces from different walks of life. Queensland rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston was on hand to watch a different code, as was NBA champion and Bombers fan Andrew Bogut. Social media influencer, and SUNS fan, Tammy Hembrow, sprouted her attendance to her 17.4 million Instagram followers.

GOLD COAST       2.2    6.4    9.6     14.7 (91)
ESSENDON          3.5    4.8    6.13    11.14 (80)

Gold Coast: King 4, Long 4, Lukosius 2, Miller, Humphrey, Berry, Ainsworth
Essendon: Cox 3, Wright, Menzie, Kelly, Jones, Hind, Guelfi, Durham, Caldwell

Gold Coast: Anderson, Collins, Andrew, Long, Uwland, Rowell, Sexton
Essendon: Merrett, Martin, Hind, Ridley, Heppell, Redman

Gold Coast: Nil
Essendon: Kyle Langford (hip pointer)

Gold Coast: Nil
Essendon: Todd Goldstein (managed) replaced by Nick Bryan

Gold Coast: David Swallow (replaced Bailey Humphrey in the fourth quarter)
Essendon: Elijah Tsatas (replaced Kyle Langford in the fourth quarter)

Crowd: 21,759 at People First Stadium