Gold Coast has mastered the cold and windy Ballarat conditions to overcome Greater Western Sydney in a thrilling 10.5 (65) 9.10 (64) finish on Sunday.
With the game relocated to Ballarat’s Mars Stadium due to COVID restrictions in Sydney, the clubs faced cold and blustery weather which Gold Coast handled better from the outset.
The SUNS were kicking with the breeze in the final quarter and were trailing by 11 points with less than four minutes remaining, but goals to Matt Rowell and David Swallow within the space of 60 seconds gave Gold Coast a one-point lead.
Swallow's dribbled shot on the run from 10m out had actually hit the post, but he was allowed to retake the kick after the umpire deemed the SUNS skipper had been pushed in the back.
The SUNS survived several other frantic attacks by GWS in the final 100 seconds to hold on for the one-point win.
Vice-captain Touk Miller continued his outstanding season with another elite performance which included 32 disposals, 14 tackles and two goals.
The SUNS’ win follows the victory over reigning premier Richmond last round and gives the club momentum to finish the season on a genuine high.
But the triumph came at a major cost, with midfielder Hugh Greenwood suffering a suspected ACL tear to his right knee in the first quarter.
"It doesn't look great, the initial reports aren't really good," Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew told the broadcast at half-time.
"It's a suspected ACL at this stage, but we're not confirmed. We feel for him."
The SUNS take on the Western Bulldogs at Metricon Stadium in Round 18. Tickets are on sale through Ticketek on Monday.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.4 3.4 8.10 9.10 (64)
GOLD COAST 1.1 5.3 7.3 10.5 (65)
Greater Western Sydney: Greene 3, Himmelberg 2, Whitfield, Hill, Lloyd, Finlayson,
Gold Coast: Sexton 2, Day 2, Miller 2, Atkins, Burgess, Rowell, Swallow
Greater Western Sydney: Hopper, Kelly, Green, Taylor, Ward, Daniels
Gold Coast: Miller, Ellis, Swallow, Burgess, Sexton, Fiorini, Ballard
Greater Western Sydney: Whitfield (concussion)
Gold Coast: Greenwood (knee)
Greater Western Sydney: Finlayson (replaced Whitfield)
Gold Coast: Atkins (replaced Greenwood)
Crowd: 2,592 at Mars Stadium