SUNS Media looks at some of the key takeaways from Sunday’s win over Essendon at People First Stadium.

Home fortress

The 11-point win marks the first time in club history that the SUNS have earned two wins over top-three opposition in a three-week span, following the Round 10 win against the Cats in Darwin. It was one of a long list of impressive figures, none more so than Damien Hardwick’s side extending its unbeaten home run to seven matches in 2024, and nine of the last ten dating back into last season.

Record turnout

Never before have the Bombers played in front of a bigger crowd on the Gold Coast. In fact, the 21,759 fans through the gates at People First Stadium made it the fifth biggest crowd at the venue in history for an AFL match only a few hundred shy of the fourth-highest set back in Opening Round against Richmond. With corporate hospitality tickets already exhausted for the Round 16 match against Collingwood, we can expect another bumper crowd later in June.

Uwland earns Rising Star nomination

Spending nine months in a back brace in 2022 was about as far from a Rising Star nomination as Bodhi Uwland could possibly get, but the Burleigh Bombers product has taken his AFL opportunity with both hands. The 20-year-old was immense, spending a large chunk of the contest on the ever-dangerous Jake Stringer, who finished the contest without a goal and just the 13 touches. Uwland finished with 19 disposals himself and a richly-deserved Rising Star nomination.

Ben 100

In front of plenty of his extended family, Ben Long couldn’t have asked for a better way to raise the bat in his 100th match. The gritty defender-turned forward slotted an equal game-high four goals for the first time in his career, taking him only within three goals of his best return for an entire season back in 2019.

King Ben

Not to be outdone by his small forward, Ben King reeled Charlie Curnow back in in the fight for the Coleman Medal lead with four goals himself. The in-form key is now averaging three goals a game in 2024 and has kicked multiple goals in 10 consecutive matches. Importantly, the 23-year-old is making the most of his opportunities having now kicked 17.5 in the last five rounds.

Midfield bounce back

After a self-confessed disappointing display against the Blues, the SUNS midfield brigade bounced back with interest against the Bombers. Noah Anderson ran riot with 33 disposals and three goal assists, Touk Miller kicked a goal to go with 28 disposals and Matt Rowell wasn’t letting anyone past, locking in for a game-high 11 tackles and eight clearances.