Suns stun Eagles in 44-point AFL upset

Ed Jackson
Gold Coast Suns have hammered West Coast by 44 points to chalk up their first win of the season

It was supposed to be men against boys.

A highly-experienced West Coast were expected to run all over a callow Gold Coast team without a win in over a year in Saturday's AFL match at Metricon Stadium.

In the end, one of those boys - 18-year-old Matt Rowell - was best on ground in just his second AFL match as the Suns snapped their 19-game losing run with a stunning 14.6 (90) to 6.10 (46) upset win.

Rowell's efforts encapsulated a game where the young Suns were quicker, hungrier and simply better than the Eagles to post a thumping 44-point win.

The draftee scored his first two AFL goals, picked up 26 disposals and stood tall when challenged physically by Eagles midfield stars such as Elliot Yeo and Luke Shuey.

Apart from a four-goal burst in the second quarter by the visitors, the Suns' victory was never in doubt, kicking eight goals to one in the second half.

Suns coach Stuart Dew was in no doubt the win was easily the best of his eight that he's had as an AFL coach.

"Our aim is to play exciting, hard-running, manic pressure football," he said.

"Unfortunately we had none of our fans here to see it but we know they'd be watching and hopefully they'd be proud of that group.

"If we wanted to put in a CV for our supporters, it'd be this game and now the challenge starts to replicate."

As well as Rowell, fellow draftee Noah Anderson picked up his first AFL goal while Lachie Weller was everywhere with 24 disposals.

Even the absence of David Swallow (suspended) and key recruit Brandon Ellis (calf) couldn't derail the Suns, with Eagles coach Adam Simpson admitting his team had simply been outplayed.

Simpson refused to use the club's entry into the AFL's Queensland quarantine hub as an excuse for the performance, with the team having arrived on the Gold Coast earlier in the week for at least a four-week stay.

"They were really good. We were really bad," Simpson said.

"Everything we scouted they did and we couldn't match them on the inside and they beat us on the outside as well.

"They're young and we're more mature and they played like a mature side and we played like a young side."

Oscar Allen was the sole multiple goalkicker for the Eagles with two majors while Andrew Gaff picked up a game-high 29 disposals for the visitors.

In the only blemish for the home team on the night, Suns forward Alex Sexton was placed on report for a high shot on Eagles defender Jeremy McGovern in the third quarter.

The Eagles need to recover quickly, with the second match of their Queensland stay being against Brisbane next Saturday.

Gold Coast will look to build on their win when they host Adelaide next Sunday.