The Western Bulldogs have come from 37 points down in the third quarter to beat the Gold Coast Suns by 22 points in an AFL thriller in Cairns.
The Bulldogs kicked just four goals across the first three quarters but rallied late to add 10 in the last term and snatch the 14.11 (95) to 11.7 (73) result at Cazalys Stadium.
An upset appeared likely with the Suns dominant early but the momentum shifted after half-time with the Bulldogs eventually rewarded for effort when Jake Stringer gave them the lead for the first time towards the business end of the last quarter, delighting the largely partisan Saturday crowd of 9,449.
Liam Picken racked up a game-high 37 touches and nine tackles while keeping Suns skipper Gary Ablett relatively quiet, and Jackson Macrae’s love affair with Cairns continued with a haul of 33 possessions.
Jack Redpath kicked three goals while Marcus Bontempelli, Luke Dalhaus, Michael Talia and Stringer booted two each.
But the win came at a cost, with midfielder Koby Stevens taken to hospital in an ambulance for x-rays on his ribs after a second-quarter collision.
Gold Coast were also forced to use their substitution at quarter-time following an injury to key forward Charlie Dixon.
Playing in front of his hometown crowd, Dixon landed awkwardly on his ankle in a first term marking contest.
He shrugged off trainers in an attempt to play on but the 24-year-old couldn’t overcome the injury and went straight to the changerooms when taken from the ground.
The setback looms as a significant one for the injury-prone Dixon and his hopes of landing a big-money contract next season.
His deal with Gold Coast expires at the end of the year and while several clubs have shown keen interest – including the Brisbane Lions – his earning potential may have just dropped dramatically.
Dixon booted a club-record seven goals in last week’s 55-point thumping of North Melbourne, and for much of Saturday night the Suns looked certain to continue in the same vein and book their third win for the year.
They made a cracking start and led the Bulldogs in clearances, inside 50s and tackles in the opening term on their way to a 26-point lead at the first change.
Yet when the notorious Cazalys breeze died down, so did Gold Coast’s run.
Defender Kade Kolodjashnij and Ablett were again their best, collecting 30 possessions apiece.