A shell-shocked Hawthorn may not have known what hit them after Izak Rankine's stunning start set up the Gold Coast's convincing AFL win - but Suns coach Stuart Dew reckons he knew it was coming.
X-factor Rankine enjoyed a welcome return to form, booting a career-high four majors on Saturday to help the Suns explode out of the blocks before snapping a three-game losing streak with a convincing 37-point win over the lowly Hawks at the SCG.
Small forward Rankine didn't waste time silencing his critics, kicking three majors in the opening minutes as the Suns raced to a 28-0 start before the Gold Coast ran out 17.11 (113) to 11.10 (76) victors.
Ben King also nailed four goals as the Suns registered their biggest total under Dew, eclipsing their 101 tally against Carlton three years ago.
The Hawks would have been forgiven for not expecting Rankine's whirlwind start after the 2018 draft No.3 pick had come under criticism for failing to back up from last year's standout campaign, kicking just nine goals in 10 games this season.
But Dew reckoned he could see the writing on the wall ahead of the AFL's Indigenous Round.
"We knew a performance like this wasn't too far away," he said.
"People look at the goals column (and think he has had a bad game) but there have been other games where he has been high in goal and score assists."
And it's always good to see the Indigenous lads play well on this particular weekend."
Rankine's heroics helped the Gold Coast claim only their third win in 14 games against Hawthorn.
In just his third season, King also kicked a bagful for the Suns (4-7 record) to move to 32 majors overall and third spot on the 2021 Coleman Medal count after 11 rounds.
"He's developing really well. He's got a great attitude. There is no ego about Kingy," Dew said.
Touk Miller (37 touches, nine marks) and Jack Lukosius (27 disposals, 14 marks) were again inspirational for the Suns while Alex Sexton kicked three goals.
In contrast, Hawthorn (2-9) slumped to their fifth straight defeat and ninth in 10 games.
Hawks veteran Shaun Burgoyne had 15 disposals in his return match after the 38-year-old had missed the past four weeks with an ankle complaint but it wasn't enough to end his club's horror slump.
The Hawks needed all the help they could get after losing Kyle Hartigan to suspension and Jaeger O'Meara to concussion ahead of the game.
Still, they couldn't eclipse the Suns despite the best efforts of Ben McEvoy (two goals), Dylan Moore (two majors,18 disposals) and Chad Wingard (24 disposals).
The match was originally scheduled to be played as a Gold Coast home game in Darwin and was initially called off following Melbourne's latest COVID-19 outbreak before being relocated to the SCG.
But the Suns looked at home from the outset, kicking the first four goals and at one stage leading the inside 50 count 14-0.
They led 4.5 (29) to 3.2 (20) at the first interval, 10.8 (68) to 6.4 (40) at halftime and 13.10 (88) to 5.8 (53) by three-quarter-time.