Tom Lynch's star continues to rise after steering Gold Coast to a 26-point win over Carlton on Saturday night with a career-best goal haul.
The SUNS captain booted seven goals in the 17.6 (108) to 12.10 (82) win at Etihad Stadium and marked nearly everything that came his way as Gold Coast charged to its second victory of the season.
Lynch kicked five goals in the first half and was crucial after the main break, too, as the SUNS split open Carlton with a seven-goal third quarter to set up the win.
The 24-year-old's status as perhaps the competition's next superstar garnered more traction with the stellar showing, complete with an unblemished record in front of goal.
He was the beneficiary of some slick ball movement by the SUNS, who picked up 99 more uncontested disposals to get through Carlton's disciplined defensive set up.
Lynch's sterling solo effort overshadowed the excellent efforts of a midfield unit that is hard to stop when firing, as Gary Ablett (33 disposals), Aaron Hall (29) and Brandon Matera (29, three goals) outplayed their opposing onball brigade.
Jarrod Harbrow (23) brings important class and skill to Gold Coast's defence, while Jack Martin's development has also been superb so far this season – his fourth at AFL level. He collected a career-best 30 touches against the Blues and made an impact with most.
Carlton managed to stop the SUNS from playing in the same freewheeling way that saw them slice through Hawthorn last week, closing down space through the corridor.
But in Lynch, the SUNS had a weapon Carlton couldn't counter. By the 14-minute mark of the second term, Lynch had kicked five goals and proven near on impossible to stop on the lead.
The third quarter saw a change in the SUNS, with six consecutive goals giving them a 32-point break by three-quarter time.
Peter Wright, having been quiet earlier, booted two majors to kickstart the SUNS' run, before recruit Jarryd Lyons intercepted a kick from Carlton defender Harrison Macreadie on the goal line and snapped it through.
The deflating error came at a pivotal time, with the SUNS slamming on the next three goals and establishing a match-winning lead.
Lynch's sixth goal came midway through the quarter despite the Blues switching Sam Rowe off the star forward and replacing him with No.1 pick Jacob Weitering.
An early goal for Jack Silvagni at the beginning of the final term gave the Blue a glimmer of hope they might be able to mount a comeback, before a virtuoso Ablett goal – he bounded through the centre square to slot the long shot – sealed the SUNS' win.
Carlton: Harrison Macreadie headed to the rooms during the second quarter for treatment on a leg problem. He returned to the bench after half-time and after an extended break went back onto the field early in the third term.
Gold Coast: The SUNS suffered a late blow, with key defender Steven May limping from the field with a hamstring injury with 10 minutes to play in the final term. Recruit Michael Barlow also looked to injure his hamstring, with his night cut short in the last quarter.
Carlton faces a big task when it travels to Adelaide next week to take on Port Adelaide on Friday night, while the Suns will be looking to win their third consecutive game when they host the unbeaten Crows at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
CARLTON 2.4 6.6 7.7 11.10 (76)
GOLD COAST 3.0 6.1 13.3 16.6 (102)
Carlton: Silvagni 3, Casboult 3, Weitering, Fisher, Pickett, C. Curnow, Simpson, Rowe
Gold Coast: Lynch 6, Wright 3, Matera 3, Bowes, Lyons, Lemmens, Ablett
Carlton: Murphy, Docherty, Marchbank, Silvagni, Casboult
Gold Coast: Lynch, Matera, Ablett, Hall, Witts, Martin, Miller, Fiorini
Gold Coast: May (hamstring)
Umpires: Fisher, Margetts, Hosking
Official crowd: TBC at Etihad Stadium