Guy McKenna believes Gold Coast's fitness levels are now finally up to scratch ahead of this weekend's clash with local rivals Brisbane.
The Suns breakthrough win over Richmond - sealed by Karmichael Hunt's after-the-siren kick for goal - came on the back of an impressive performance at home to reigning premiers Geelong the week before.
Although the expansion club fell by 14 points to the Cats, there were signs they were starting to put their woeful early season form behind them as they stayed in the game for longer periods.
Gold Coast parted ways with high performance manager Dean Robinson at the end of last season after he was poached by Essendon and have not looked the same side since.
The Suns have been notoriously unable to string two good games together, but are now on the brink of three if they can put in a strong showing against the Lions on Saturday.
Despite a poor third term against the Tigers in Cairns, McKenna said their first win in 12 months signaled they are now fit enough to be competitive.
"All of a sudden, we're fit," he said.
"Six or eight rounds ago, we couldn't tackle, we weren't strong at the footy and we were unfit.
"It's (not) surprising now the season goes on and all of a sudden we are."
McKenna said there was also change going on above the shoulders.
"I think mentally, we're getting fitter (as well)," he said.
"Certainly, a win helps. We're a lot better placed to compete.
"That last 30 seconds (against Richmond) shows the boys how quickly a game can change.
"You'd hate to lose a game in the last 30 seconds - it's a good reminder for all of us."
Metricon Stadium will play host to the Queensland derby for the first time this Saturday.
The decision to move the game was made late last year despite a five-year deal for all matches between Brisbane and Gold Coast to be held at the Gabba.
After claiming the Suns were 'five goals better off' playing Richmond in Cairns, McKenna believed this move would also put his side at an advantage.
"It's certainly worth two or three goals," he said.
"If we can get our noses in front here, the fans have shown they're very passionate and the boys do respond to that.
"When you say travel, it's not exactly just around the corner. It's not like Fremantle boys driving around to Subiaco Oval."It's 45 minutes down here, it's an unusual routine if you like."