He was understandably shattered after his side’s one-point loss to Melbourne, but SUNS Senior Coach Stuart Dew wasn’t going to let that overshadow the team’s gutsy performance on Saturday afternoon.

The SUNS were down by 11 points at one stage in the final quarter, but fought back admirably to claim the lead before having it cruelly snatched away in the dying seconds.

Speaking to the media post-match, Dew said he was proud of the team’s ability to fight hard for four quarters and make Melbourne earn the heart-breaking win.

“We can’t be as simplistic as when we win we get a bit of belief and when we lose we don’t,” Dew said.

“That’s what we’ve told the players, we’re really proud of their efforts.

“That’s AFL footy.”

Dew has been an advocate of the 6-6-6 rule all season, and as much as it pained him to say so, he again approved of it on Saturday night despite it costing the SUNS the win.

“It’s pretty raw but take my Gold Coast hat off tonight, I think it’s good for footy that there’s 18 seconds to go and someone can still win or lose the game,” he said. 

“I can’t believe I just said that but it’s fact.

“It looks better for the game, not tonight for us but there’ll be a time when it’s reversed and we get the result because of it.

“I’m sure it was exciting to watch.”

The Gold Coast has now had five of its eight matches decided by less than a goal this year.

It makes the club the first ever in VFL/AFL history to achieve that feat. 

For Dew, it’s given his side plenty of experience and learning opportunities, and is an endorsement for all the work that’s been put into the team’s competitiveness over the off-season.

“You want to be in the game in the last minute,” he said.

“You only have to look at last year’s Grand Final to know that games can be won and lost in the last minute so we want to be in that.

“I think the level of competitiveness is showing and our challenge will be to sustain it.

"They're playing for each other, that's one thing we're all certain of. The evidence is there."