On a greasy night in which Gold Coast gave Geelong all it could handle, one Cat stood tall.
"In the end big Tom (Hawkins) up front was a bit too hard to handle," said SUNS coach Stuart Dew.
Hawkins kicked 4.3 in his team's 27-point win, taking six contested marks against a stout Gold Coast defence that kept their team in the contest until the fourth quarter.
With regular full-back Sam Collins forced to watch from the grandstand with a stress reaction in his femur, undersized Jack Hombsch was given the arduous task of manning 'Tomahawk'.
And although beaten on the night, Dew said he would continue backing Hombsch – in the midst of a terrific first season with the SUNS – to do the job in the last line of defence.
"They don’t get much bigger (than Hawkins), so we will back Jack," he said.
"At different times, whether Sam was playing or Jack, we still want to get some support there.
"A couple of deliveries there, even if Sam was playing or Rory (Thompson), it will be hard to beat him when he is on.
"We are happy with Jack back there, he is playing for his life and we have loved welcoming him in to the footy club and he has been pretty solid."
It was another strong showing by the SUNS, who were within two points of Geelong at the final change before running out of legs.
They played the final quarter without exciting midfielder Ben Ainsworth, who will undergo scans for an ankle injury on Monday.
Dew said conceding goals late in each quarter had really hurt his team.
"But we are proud of the fight, for sure," he said.
"Overall, we draw one quarter, narrowly lose one and win one.
"The last quarter blew out a bit. We take some goodness from it but the late goals we would like to address.
"They are top of the table for a reason. It was a good measurement for some of our lads."