A six-goal haul from Charlie Dixon helped the Gold Coast Suns break through for a 64-point thumping of rivals Brisbane on Saturday.
The Suns were rarely troubled in the ninth edition of the QClash, registering their first win of the AFL season with the 18.10 (118) to 7.12 (54) victory at Metricon Stadium.
The loss was the Lions’ fifth in a row, compounding a horror night when skipper Tom Rockliff (concussion) and luckless veteran Brent Staker (hamstring) joined their lengthy injury list.
Just a week after returning from a punctured lung and broken ribs sustained in their season opener, Rockliff again found himself in the wars after copping the full force of a Steven May bump in the first quarter.
Rockliff was motionless for a few moments and promptly stretchered off the field, but was later sitting up and talking in the changerooms before he was taken away for scans.
Meanwhile Staker’s career hangs by a thread after his latest setback, which comes after a wretched two-year run with injury for the 30-year-old.
Dixon was instrumental in Gold Coast’s biggest ever QClash win, earning the Marcus Ashcroft Medal for best on ground for his 19-possession, seven-mark game.
Under-fire midfielders Dion Prestia (28 possessions, seven tackles, 10 clearances) and Harley Bennell (31 possessions, two goals) were also excellent, while Jarred Redden (33), Dayne Beams (31) and Daniel Rich (22) flew the flag for the Lions.
Scores were level at quarter-time but the Suns kicked away across the middle two terms, kicking 11 goals to Brisbane’s two during one stretch.
But the Suns didn’t escape unscathed with Jarrod Garlett (ankle) substituted out of the game in the first quarter, while there are also worries over Alex Sexton (shoulder), Seb Tape (knee) and Dixon, who was limping late in the final quarter.
The crowd of just 12,464 was also a concern, although somewhat understandable given how badly Gold Coast and Brisbane have started the season.
Conditions were perfect, if slightly dewy, after the predicted deluge of rain stayed away – but it was still far from a vintage contest with both sides beset by mistakes.
That was best evidenced in the first half by Brisbane’s Allen Christensen and Gold Coast’s Jack Martin, who each found a way to miss unmissable shots running into an open goal from point-blank range.
The Lions endured the more horrific start, conceding the first two goals before Rockliff was ironed out six minutes in.
It was an honest hip-and-shoulder but May will still find himself in the crosshairs of the AFL’s match review panel having made contact with Rockliff’s jaw.