In its first QW Winter Series match of 2019, the Gold Coast SUNS showed plenty of promise as they challenged an experienced Lions outfit until the final siren.

It was a physical contest for both sides, with no love lost between the cross-town rivals. 

The SUNS started the game strongly to be two points down at the first break, but the Lions showed their poise and class, finishing 4.6 (31) to 2.3 (15) winners.

Inaugural signing Ellie Hampson was prolific in the middle for the SUNS, providing great pressure and efficiency with ball in hand.

SUNS Academy product Taylor Smith showed plenty of composure inside 50, kicking two goals including a clutch goal on the three-quarter time siren to keep the SUNS in the game.

Lauren Bella was dominant in the ruck, giving her midfielders first use and presenting an imposing figure through the ground.

Youngster Kitara Whap-Farrar showed poise beyond her years, while Maddy Roberts and Charlotte Hammans were tough around the ball.

Lions debutant Dakota Davidson provided grunt for her side, kicking two goals to ice the game for the visitors.

In his first official game as SUNS AFLW Senior Coach, David Lake said he was thrilled with the girls’ effort to take the game on. 

“I was pretty impressed with the respect they showed for each other and the way they worked together, it gave me a lot to look forward to going forward,” Lake said.

“The message was you couldn’t make a mistake, I would accept whatever you did. 

“I wanted them to just enjoy playing together and chance their arm a little bit and see what they came up with.

“Our defence was pretty resilient in the way they went about it and we had a group of girls that really worked well together who have never met each other before either.”

The SUNS will take on the Lions again in Game 2 of the QW Winter Series on Saturday June 23 in Mackay.