Gold Coast keeps ticking the boxes.
The rising SUNS have had their exciting upsets this season, where the immensely talented future of the club has been on full display. But just as impressive have been the routine victories along the way.
Saturday's 32-point win over Sydney was exactly that.
There was nothing stylish about Gold Coast's 13.14 (92) to 9.6 (60) victory at the SCG. But doing the basics right, and winning the games it is supposed to, is where Stuart Dew's promising young Suns side will really have their consistency and improvement tested.
They passed that test – just – to see off the Swans.
Midfield duo Hugh Greenwood (23 disposals, 12 tackles) and David Swallow (22 disposals, one goal) were superb, as the visitors continually kept a young Sydney side at arm's length throughout the evening.
However, it didn't all go their own way.
Four unanswered SUNS goals to start the second term had created a 27-point buffer at one stage, as it started to look as though things could get ugly. But three straight Swans majors to end that same quarter then reduced the deficit to single-digits just before half-time.
It was reflective of the see-sawing nature of an entertaining contest, with Luke Parker (27 disposals, eight tackles) and Will Hayward (12 disposals, two goals) key in helping Sydney remain in the hunt.
However, Gold Coast eventually wrestled back the momentum within the contest, keeping the hosts goalless in the final term to ensure its control over the match paid dividends on the scoreboard.
A fourth win, a fourth box ticked.
Rankine is just ridiculous
Stuart Dew's reaction from the coaches' box said it all. He could only shake his head and laugh. If the footy world was well and truly wowed by Izak Rankine on his AFL debut last week, they were left lost for words just minutes into Saturday's encounter. In the motion of being dragged down, the preciously talented Rankine struck a staggering half-volley off the ground to kickstart Gold Coast's victory at the SCG. It was another dazzling display from Rankine, who looked like he could strike lightning any time the ball was in his vicinity. He did again late in the third term, producing another fantastic finish on the run after winning the ball from a stoppage. It was a moment that was reflective of the match in general, with the game far better for the moments where the former No.3 pick was involved.
McCartin, Hayward and the 'Cygnets' give Swans hope
Of the nine Sydney youngsters under the age of 21 playing on Saturday, Tom McCartin and Will Hayward were by far the most impressive. The talented Swans forwards relished leading an attack without injured duo Lance Franklin and Isaac Heeney, making their presence felt particularly in the air. Both claimed a couple of strong marks, often flying alongside fellow youngster Nick Blakey to pull them down. With debutant Elijah Taylor playing higher up the field and demonstrating his immense talent in glimpses, McCartin and Hayward finished with two goals each to perhaps suggest there is life after 'Buddy' in the forward 50 at the SCG.
'The Finisher' guides the Suns home
Gold Coast has found its finisher. While the bigger bodies like David Swallow, Touk Miller, Hugh Greenwood and Brandon Ellis were important on Saturday, the team's calm and composed outside option in Lachie Weller was perhaps the most influential. Profiting from the aforementioned players' ability to win the ball in the contest, Weller's run and drive was how the team forced the ball forward. His innate goal sense and cool demeanour in shooting situations was also pivotal, finishing with two majors from 15 disposals.
SYDNEY 2.1 5.3 9.3 9.6 (60)
GOLD COAST 2.3 6.7 10.13 13.14 (92)
Sydney: McCartin 2, Aliir 2, Papley 2, Hayward 2, Clarke
Gold Coast: Weller 2, Rankine 2, Day 2, Anderson, MacPherson, Sexton, Lukosius, King, Swallow, Holman
Sydney: Hayward, Parker, Lloyd, McCartin, Papley
Gold Coast: Greenwood, Weller, Lukosius, Miller, Ellis, Swallow
Sydney: O'Riordan (groin)
Gold Coast: Nil