Demons smash Suns in dull Gabba AFL affair

Vince Rugari
Melbourne have hammered the Gold Coast Suns by an emphatic 69 points at the Gabba

Records tumbled for all the wrong reasons at the Gabba as Melbourne scored a breezy 69-point AFL victory over Gold Coast in front of a pitiful crowd.

Tom McDonald kicked a career-high five goals for the Demons who ran away with the contest in the final term, prevailing 21.20 (146) to 11.11 (77) on Saturday evening for their third win in a row.

Despite perfect conditions, only 6060 punters turned up to watch - and most of them were Melbourne fans.

It was the lowest attendance for a match in Brisbane, beating the previous mark from 1991 when the Bears also hosted the Demons.

It was also the eighth-lowest AFL crowd since 1997.

The match was played on neutral territory at the Gabba because Metricon Stadium is still being converted back into AFL mode after the Commonwealth Games.

The empty stands certainly didn't inspire a great contest, with neither side hitting particularly great heights in a clash that took on an eerie, almost funereal tone at times.

Melbourne dominated general play but should have put the game to bed much earlier than they did.

They entered their forward 50 zone a whopping 83 times - equalling the AFL record set by North Melbourne against Greater Western Sydney during the Giants' 2013 debut season.

"It's pleasing that we want to play a forward-half game," Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.

"But we acknowledge Gold Coast. They've been on the road for eight weeks and a really tough travel schedule. We understand they probably weren't at their best."

Gold Coast were within 18 points late in the third term but were blown away thereafter, with the Demons piling on eight goals in the last quarter.

It became worse for the struggling Suns - midfielder David Swallow spent much of the match getting treatment on his knee, while co-captain Steven May risked a possible suspension by clumsily making contact with umpire David Harris.

Earlier in the day, Gold Coast's NEAFL side - which included 11 AFL-listed players - failed to kick a goal in a 92-point defeat to the Brisbane Lions.

Coach Stuart Dew acknowledged it was a bad day all round for the club.

"But I'm not surprised. That's why I'm here, for the challenge," Dew said.

"We lacked resilience, no doubt. Our execution really hurt us at times.

"We've got some clear pointers where we want to take the football club ... we've got a really clear picture of what we need to do and work on."