Gold Coast have been thumped by 78 points by a brilliant Collingwood in a massive hit for the Suns’ finals credentials.
An afternoon filled with promise quickly became a black-and-white nightmare for Suns coach Stuart Dew in an 18.12 (120) to 5-12 (42) Magpies win at a packed Heritage Bank Stadium.
There was a sea of black and white in the 22,483-strong Gold Coast crowd – the club’s third-biggest home attendance – and they weren’t disappointed as the ladder leaders hit top gear on Saturday.
Unrelenting defensive pressure quickly told and the Magpies’ lightning-fast ball movement, particularly through the corridor, continued to catch the Suns napping.
Four straight Suns goals in the third term saved some blushes when the Magpies’ lead had bloated to 84 points, but the hosts were goalless in the final quarter.
Jamie Elliott (five goals) filled his boots while Nick Daicos (36 disposals, 10 tackles, eight clearances, one goal) did as he pleased and John Noble (30 touches, one goal) showed why the Magpies are reportedly keen to extend his contract.
The Suns (7-8) could have entered the top eight with a win and had set themselves to make a statement after thumping Hawthorn at home last week.
But they were instantly off the pace; dropping chest marks, kicking out on the full and accused of ball-watching as the Magpies cut them to bits.
The Suns’ percentage took a huge hit – costly in the busy race to make the top eight – and there is no respite with their next game against second-placed Port Adelaide on the road.
Daicos was at his creative best in the midfield and Darcy Moore controlled the air whenever the Suns fruitlessly bombed the ball forward.
The signs were there early when Elliot artfully knocked the ball back from the goal, ran around the post and then got his boot to it before it crossed the line.
He kicked another from a full-field sequence that caught the Suns off guard and he had four before Hewago Oea kicked the host’s first late in the half.
Any designs Gold Coast had on stemming the flow before the break were snickered at by the rampant Magpies, who moved to 13-2.
First Sam Collins and Brandon Ellis took each other out and Daicos obliged with a goal, while Bobby Hill finished another scything full-field movement.
Patrick Lipinski then ran off the back of a stoppage to snap a goal and make it a 62-point game at the main break.
Noble dummied and kicked truly from 50m to continue the rot in the third quarter.
Delisted Sun Oleg Markov then drilled a goal from outside 50m against his former team before they finally took their foot off the throttle.