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Coach fumes as Roos ensure Suns remain on road to ruin

Gold Coast must "grow the f*** up", coach Damien Hardwick has fumed, after bottom side North Melbourne stunned them in an AFL boilover.

Continuing their dire record away from home this season, the Suns' finals hopes were dealt a blow on Saturday at Marvel Stadium when the bottom side beat them by four points.

The Suns were 11th and could have gone into the top eight had they won, but instead are 8-8 after the 13.9 (87) to 12.11 (83) loss and could be left ruing this blown chance.

Adding to their woes, Touk Miller (wrist) was hurt during the game and joined co-captain Jarrod Witts on the Suns' casualty list, while Sam Day also has a foot injury.

Touk Miller (centre).
An injury to Touk Miller (centre) added to another poor road trip for the Gold Coast Suns. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

"Our connection, our contest work inside 50 was poor, our clearance work was poor - I'm angry, to be fair," Hardwick said.

"As a footy club, we have to grow the f*** up, to be perfectly honest. Excuse the language, but we've been in this situation too many times.

"You put on a Suns jumper, you have to play a certain way. You don't get to pick or choose. At the moment, we're not where we need to be ... enough is enough."

Only a week ago, Gold Coast beat reigning premiers Collingwood at home.

But apart from their two home games in Darwin, Gold Coast are winless this season away from Carrara.

Since his notorious criticism of Marvel Stadium when he was Richmond coach in 2021, Hardwick's record at the venue is eight losses and a draw.

Hardwick noted they had 62 inside-50s - North only had 46 - and the Suns also generated 32 forward-half turnovers.

Those statistics win most games, but North handsomely won the clearances 45-29, and their pressure was outstanding.

While the pulsating clash deserved far better than the crowd of 17,781, and Hardwick repeatedly praised the winners, he was in no mood to appreciate the quality of the game.

His pointed post-game comments had echoes of the growing pains Richmond went through before Hardwick guided them to their premiership "three-peat".

"Every club goes through a period where they're thereabouts, but neither here nor there, which is a funny thing to say," Hardwick said.

It is North's first win in Melbourne since round one of last season, their second this season, and comes after several weeks of improving form.

"We've put in a lot of hard work over a long, long period of time, and for a fair period of the first half of the year it wasn't looking like we were making too much ground," coach Alastair Clarkson said.

"But a bit of belief ... we were able to knock them (Suns) off at a time when they're playing some really good footy, so that's really pleasing for us."

North young gun Harry Sheezel capped his mighty game with a crucial handball intercept in the last minute.

Harry Sheezel (right).
Harry Sheezel (right) and his North Melbourne teammates had every reason to celebrate. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Luke Davies-Uniacke was outstanding, showing great poise in the chaotic last term and nearly kicking a goal-of-the-year contender.

Nick Larkey kicked three goals, one of them after young gun Coby McKercher had a scything run down the outer wing and found the North key forward with a pass.

A Paul Curtis goal 17 minutes into the final term proved the match-winner, while McKercher had a game-high 37 possessions in his first game since a round-nine foot injury.

For the Suns, Mac Andrew again showed he is a star in the making, and he nearly won them the game with his clearance from a centre-square bounce late in the final term.