Since their insipid AFL loss to Melbourne in round one, Gold Coast’s players had promised they wouldn’t produce a repeat display against St Kilda.
And they didn’t. They produced something worse.
Up against a hungry and energy-packed Saints at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, the Suns wilted to slip to a 16.8 (104) to 10.16 (76) loss and a 0-2 start to their season.
The 28-point defeat was punctuated by a miserable second-quarter display during which a rampant Saints – many people’s tip for this year’s wooden spoon – booted eight goals to one.
In a late rally by the Suns in the final quarter, they booted five straight goals but that put a gloss on an otherwise disappointing display.
Defender-cum-forward Josh Bruce was sensational for the visitors, marking everything that came his way and kicking a career-high six goals, including four in the second term.
Ahmed Saad, who hadn’t kicked a goal in nearly two years, booted two in the first half while the inspirational Bruce set up Jack Sinclair for the first goal of his AFL career.
Sinclair ended the match with two goals as did skipper Nick Riewoldt, while returning forward Tom Lynch booted three majors in an up-and-down display and midfielder Dion Prestia had two goals.
As good as the Saints were, the Suns were largely architects of their own downfall.
The hosts conceded four 50m penalties in the first half, including back-to-back indiscretions which allowed Riewoldt to march 100m downfield for the easiest of goals.
The bad news deepened for the Suns with Jarrod Harbrow, playing his 150th AFL match, subbed off at halftime with a left shoulder injury.
The former Western Bulldog will undergo scans on Monday to determine the extent of any damage.
The Saints also didn’t escape without casualty, with Saad subbed off in the third quarter after suffering a concussion.
Gold Coast head to Geelong next weekend while St Kilda take on Collingwood.