AFTER being humbled by the Western Bulldogs earlier this season, Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew says Saturday's rematch at Metricon Stadium is a perfect chance to measure his team's progress.
The Bulldogs slaughtered the Suns in the first two quarters of their round five clash, racing to a 61-point half-time lead, before the visitors showed some second half mettle to keep the final margin to 62.
Coming off successive wins on the road against Richmond and Greater Western Sydney – both in the top eight when they met – Gold Coast could not ask for a better time to test itself.
Dew said he had vivid memories of playing the Dogs at Etihad Stadium.
"Across the course of the year, that game there was the most impressive we've come up against," Dew said on Friday morning.
"It is a really good chance to measure ourselves.
"We think we're much improved. We certainly feel like we're a more consistent team."
The Suns have been forced into three changes for the match, with Hugh Greenwood (knee), Oleg Markov (calf) and Sam Day (foot) all casualties from the win over the Giants.
Greenwood is out for the season, while Markov is expected back next week and Day has no timeframe.
On the flipside, Noah Anderson has returned from a broken hand, Josh Corbett is back from concussion, and Caleb Graham is back to add defensive height and support to Chris Burgess in the ruck.
"We're down on some height," Dew said.
"Caleb has played first ruck, second ruck, down back … he's really important to our side."
Now with six wins to its name, the most in Dew's four seasons in charge, Gold Coast plays three premiership contenders in the next three weeks, with Melbourne and Brisbane to follow the Bulldogs.
"It's good for us to play the best, it's the only way to get better," Dew said.
"There's going to be some individual battles in those games that are important for development.
"Some guys are going to get some opportunities to play on stars of the competition and see how they stack up."