Anthony Miles celebrates a vital goal for the Suns. Picture: AAP Images
Anthony Miles celebrates a vital goal for the Suns. Picture: AAP Images

Worst list in history? Suns serve up humble pie

IN October, Essendon great Matthew Lloyd suggested the Gold Coast Suns would field the worst list to ever take to an AFL field in 2019.

When the AFL fixture came out in November, opposition fans of clubs who drew the Suns twice this season were counting their blessings.

But last year's strugglers are quickly becoming this year's surprise packets.

Suns mentor Stuart Dew is proving a master coach after steering his side to two wins in two weeks over Western Bulldogs and Fremantle, after Gold Coast had won just one of their previous 18 games dating back to Round 6 last year.

In fact, the Suns could quite easily be 3-0, having lost to St Kilda by just a point in Round 1.

Defence was the key to success again on Sunday, the Suns holding off a late Bulldogs' charge to score a five-point win at Marvel Stadium.

The Bulldogs had a chance to level the scores late, but a Billy Gowers shot at goal from 40m out sailed right with just 28 seconds left on the clock.

Anthony Miles celebrates a crucial goal for the Suns. Picture: Getty Images
Anthony Miles celebrates a crucial goal for the Suns. Picture: Getty Images

But a Bulldogs win would have been daylight robbery, for the Suns were the better side and had lead for the entire match after breaking away to a 24-point lead at quarter-time on the back of a six-goal opening term.

The Bulldogs finished with 18 more inside-50s and 14 more clearances, but the Suns wouldn't be denied.

OLD HABITS

The Western Bulldogs' goalkicking has been woeful in recent years and Sunday was no different.

In 2017, the side ranked equal-last for scoring accuracy at just 52 per cent and last season they ranked third-last at 54.1 per cent.

Sunday, poor accuracy again proved costly.

The Bulldogs booted 9.14 from 25 shots at goal, equating to just 36 per cent accuracy.

The tone was set early, with the talented Josh Dunkley missing one from 15m straight in front in the opening quarter.

Marcus Bontempelli had four shots at goal - including an important one from 40m out straight in front midway through the last term - and recorded three behinds and one out on the full.

Bad kicking is bad footy.

Alex Sexton lead the way in the goal-kicking department. Pic: Michael Klein
Alex Sexton lead the way in the goal-kicking department. Pic: Michael Klein

SILKY SEXTON

If Alex Sexton played for a Victorian club you can bet his profile would be higher.

The 25-year-old played his 100th game for Gold Coast Suns on Sunday but is far from a recognisable figure among the general football public.

Sexton kicked 28.19 from 22 games last year and has stepped that up so far this season.

After Round 2, he led the Coleman Medal race with eight goals.

The 186cm mid-size forward added another two majors to that tally by quarter-time against the Bulldogs and finished with 2.1 as well as three score assists for the game.

LOVE FOR LIAM

There was a nice touch pre-game, as the Bulldogs' faithful gave fan-favourite Liam Picken a fitting farewell.

Picken, partner Annie and their three young children did a lap of Marvel Stadium in the back of a ute to a standing ovation.

The humble Picken is understood to have been not keen on the fanfare, but the fans loved it and the 2016 premiership player deserved it.

Picken announced his retirement to teammates last Monday due to ongoing concussion issues.

Liam Picken farewells the Western Bulldogs fans. Picture: Getty Images
Liam Picken farewells the Western Bulldogs fans. Picture: Getty Images

BEST:

BULLDOGS: Bontempelli, Liberatore, Hunter, Macrae, Suckling, Wallis

SUNS: Swallow, Witts, Martin, Fiorini, Witts, Bowes, Weller, Harbrow, Collins

VOTES

3 - Bontempelli (WB)

2 - Swallow (GC)

1 - Witts (GC)