A late hamstring injury to Gold Coast midfielder Will Brodie might have further soured the club's day but it will take solace from seeing the first-round draftee thrive against perhaps the competition's finest onballer.
Up against Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps, Brodie picked up 26 disposals and laid 10 tackles in an impressive performance.
It was his 19th career game after being drafted at pick No.9 in 2016.
The SUNS might have lost by 24 points at Marvel Stadium on Saturday but coach Stuart Dew expressed his pleasure at seeing Brodie develop.
"It was fantastic to see Will. He's been working hard on his game play and his knowledge of opposition and how to be an AFL footballer, so really proud of the way Will played," Dew told reporters.
Dew was unsure if the 20-year-old would miss any games after leaving the field midway through the final quarter and not returning.
"It's one of those ones where you just get the nudge at the wrong time," Dew said.
After Gold Coast had been thrashed in consecutive weeks by Richmond and then Adelaide, seeing his side fight back from a 43-point deficit midway through the third term was a positive.
"We've spoken a lot this week about responding when challenged, and I think we did that from that point," Dew said.
Having lost 13 straight matches and being rooted to the bottom of the ladder, the SUNS will look to break their streak against Essendon next Sunday at Metricon Stadium.