Gold Coast 11.10 (76) def. Brisbane 10.11 (71)
Considering some of the thrills the still nascent QClash between the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns has provided in its early years, this game lacked something: a decent crowd. In a week where the Suns future has been widely debated, few of its fans made the short trip north to watch their team play the graveyard twilight timeslot.
That was a shame, because not only did it underline questions about the softness of the Suns local support but they missed another tightly-fought contest that went to the wire. The Suns looked to have the game cold, dominating much of the game, only for the Lions, with the home crowd at their backs, to storm home late.
In the end the Suns held on by a kick, with Rayners last gasp shot, which would have drawn the game, sailing wide. And truly, they deserved it: theyre much more hard-nosed brand of football under Stuart Dew, whose first order of business has been to make his team harder to play against, and the players have responded.
The most fascinating battles were fought at either end of the field. Two of the leagues best key forwards and backs, the Suns Tom Lynch and Steven May, were up against two of their most promising understudies in Eric Hipwood and Harris Andrews. Here, the Suns had an obvious advantage in strength and experience.