It’s been a rough ride but the 2016 tide appears to be turning for Gold Coast after a bumper Saturday for the AFL club.
The Suns began with the much-anticipated return from a career-threatening injury by Jaeger O’Meara in the reserves after 14 months on the sidelines.
They ended it with a 40-point victory over St Kilda to snap a 10-game losing run.
The 15.18 (108) to 8.20 (68) win over the Saints ended a winless run stretching back to round three and came after improved displays in recent weeks against Hawthorn and Richmond.
“There’s nothing like getting the four points,” Suns coach Rodney Eade said.
“The guys got a lot of belief out of the last two weeks.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t kick well for goal. That would have put the icing on the cake, but we’ll certainly take it.
“It was an exceptional day.”
Teenager Peter Wright booted three goals for the Suns, who led at every change against a St Kilda team coming off the back of last weekend’s thrilling three-point win over Geelong.
Wright was also one of six players to snare 10 or more marks for the Suns, with key forward Tom Lynch clutching a club-record 14 as the hosts claimed 135 uncontested marks to the Saints’ 46.
Several Suns players emerged from the match with laudable displays, including defenders Nick Malceski, Steven May and Jack Martin, while Jarrod Harbrow and Michael Rischitelli ran the midfield.
It all bodes well for the Suns with O’Meara on the path back to the AFL and another gun in David Swallow also progressing well in his recovery from a knee injury.
“If you look at utopia, having him and David Swallow back in the team next year, it just changes the team,” Eade said of O’Meara.
“If any side loses two of its four or five best players, it’s going to be hard for them.”
The only down note for the Suns was another hamstring injury to Matt Rosa, with the winger limping off in the opening quarter.
The Saints also lost a body in the opening term, with youngster Paddy McCartin suffering his third concussion of the year.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said his team had simply been outplayed by an improving Suns outfit.
“They’re starting to get some real talent back into their team and they taught us a bit of a lesson today,” Richardson said.
“We’re disappointed in our performance but they were hard to play against today.”