So a comfortable Gold Coast victory should not have been unexpected. And so it ensued. The Suns burst from the blocks and were never really challenged. North could easily have been annihilated, but Gold Coast’s inaccuracy downgraded this to a regulation thrashing.
It was the Suns’ last home game of the year, and their fans were treated to what should be a taste of the delights that will be on offer for years to come.
They had winners on every line, not least Izak Rankine who upped the ante in the Rising Star race with a crafty display in which he kicked an early goal and continued to make telling involvements in the forward half. His fellow early draft pick from 2018, Ben King, threatened to take control of the game, with the highlight being a breathtaking run towards goal in the third quarter. Alas, that dash ended with a behind, and King was one of many Suns offenders on the wastefulness front. Only Alex Sexton, back in favour with the selectors, consistently found the target.
Ben Ainsworth was another whose game was slightly diminished by poor kicking for goal, but he was remarkably prominent during the first half as Gold Coast established a four-goal buffer.
In the midfield, Hugh Greenwood and Noah Anderson racked up clearances, with the latter not doing his Rising Star chances any harm either. It was all too easy for Gold Coast, who repeatedly rebounded from defensive 50 with minimal fuss as North went goalless in the second half.
Recalled to the seniors, Majak Daw was a non-factor up forward for North. Marley Williams and Nick Larkey both had ankle scares but played out the game.
WOOD NEWS STORY
He’s been something of an eternal tease. North forward Mason Wood has promised more for years but has left Kangaroos fans frustrated. He was shopped around last year, has been in and out of the side this year, and as an unrestricted free agent this year his future at the Kangaroos looks clouded at best.
But on Sunday night Wood at least showed signs that he could yet be a viable AFL player next year and beyond. He rode his luck, kicking two first-half goals, the first of which came from a 50-metre penalty and the second via a dubious mark.
LUKE HOW FAR YOU’VE COME
When you possess the tricks that Luke Davies-Uniacke has up his sleeve, it’s no surprise that sooner or later you begin to get more attention. The emerging midfielder has finally been able to string together a run of games at the senior level, and he found himself receiving some close-checking from Suns co-captain David Swallow, whose older brother Andrew coincidentally preceded Davies-Uniacke in wearing the No. 9 jumper for the Roos. Davies-Uniacke was subdued as the Suns took the clear midfield honours, but it’s a good sign for North that the No. 4 draft choice from 2017 is doing enough to warrant something resembling a tag.
GOLD COAST SUNS
3.4 7.8 8.14 12.19 (91)
2.1 4.1 4.4 4.4 (28)
GOALS – Gold Coast Suns: Sexton 4, Day 2, King 2, Ellis, Ainsworth, Rankine, Anderson
North Melbourne: Wood 2, Hall, Zurhaar
BEST – Gold Coast Suns: Ainsworth, Rankine, Greenwood, Anderson, Sexton, King, Collins, Witts
North Melbourne: McDonald, Wood, Tarrant
UMPIRES: Howorth, Harris, Gianfagna
VENUE: Metricon Stadium
Daniel is an Age sports reporter