Competitiveness, fight and heart.

They are the three pillars Gold Coast has based its performances on to start 2019, with all three of its games against St Kilda, Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs decided by less than a goal.

The SUNS, who some thought might struggle to win a game at all in 2019, are 2-1 after a gritty five-point win over the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

And coach Stuart Dew could not be prouder.

"Three tight games isn't good for the blood pressure but it's good for our members and supporters knowing they can come and watch us at Metricon or watch us on TV and see we've got a group that'll fight it out," Dew said.

"That's important for us. Whichever way it went today we would have been really proud of the effort."

Dew said winning on the road against a previously unbeaten unit added more merit to a tight win.

READ: Rising SUNS leave Bulldogs in the shade

"We knew the Bulldogs had beaten Hawthorn and Sydney so a couple of really strong organisations," Dew said.

"To do it away was really important to building that belief and laying strong foundations for consistent footy which is the most pleasing part. We could be three and zip or we could be 0-3, but the main part for us is the competitiveness, fight and heart when the game is on the line.

"It just feels good to be winning. AFL footy is so hard but I think it's just seeing reward for effort. We've had a really big reset of the footy club across the summer and that's starting to come out. Are we there yet? No, but we're working every day to be able to put in a performance like that."

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Dew was thrilled with the performance of the team's back six, led by mature-age recruit and former Docker Sam Collins, who held the Bulldogs to 9.4 from 66 inside 50 entries.

"To hold up was really important. They're a new group together with Jack Hombsch and Sam Collins down there, so it's great for them," Dew said.

"Particularly for Sam getting his second chance at AFL level and he's loving it to be honest."

After the off-season departure of Steven May and the season-ending ACL injury suffered by Rory Thompson in the pre-season, it was important those two players made the most of their chances.

"Before round one we had a few selection headaches and we've also got some guys that can come in if anything else happens again," Dew said.

"We did go out to try and, given our decisions at the end of last year, to bolster that area and get some experience and a certain type of player and character as well and they're delivering. They're as advertised, those two."