Lions' lesson proves Suns aren't 'big dogs' yet

Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick wants his side to "get off the porch and start running with the big dogs" after their QClash misfire against the Brisbane Lions.

The Lions' 10.19 (79) to 6.9 (45) victory in front of 30,285 fans at the Gabba on Sunday came despite four early injuries to the hosts, including one to Brandon Starcevich in the pre-game warm up.

Left with two men on the bench for almost three quarters, the Lions ran rings around the Suns in the first half then weren't made to pay for kicking 10 consecutive behinds after the break.

Best on ground Dayne Zorko (career-high 39 disposals) booted the Suns to death with 35 kicks that often penetrated the corridor, while Lachie Neale and Hugh McCluggage did as they pleased.

It left the Suns 4-4, unbeaten at home but without a win on the road in a steady beginning to the Hardwick era as they chase a maiden finals berth.

"Well, I'm eight games in. How smooth did you think it would be?," Hardwick quizzed journalists post-game. "It's going to be up and down, that's the reality of where we're at."

They have beaten Richmond, Adelaide, West Coast and Hawthorn at home but lost semi-competitive clashes with top sides Sydney and GWS before Sunday's humbling by last year's grand finalists.

"We want to keep our head above water until halfway," Hardwick said. "We're off those guys. We know where the gap is ... we'll beat the sides around us, absolutely, but we need to start getting off the porch and running with the big dogs."

There was significant build-up to this QClash, billed as a pivotal moment for both clubs given the Lions' 2-5 start and 0-3 record at the Gabba this season.

Hardwick said the Lions' plight had ensured they arrived in top gear and that his men was unable to match it. "At the end of the day we got jumped," he said. "A million different things; there's so many things we're learning along the way."