By Michael Whiting 03:45pm September 1, 13
GOLD Coast has spoiled the final game of Kevin Sheedy's coaching career, romping to a record-breaking win over Greater Western Sydney at Metricon Stadium on Sunday.
The Suns took control early and never looked back, winning 22.14 (146) to 9.9 (63).
The 83-point margin eclipsed the club's previous biggest win of 60 points over Melbourne earlier this season.
It was also their eighth win of a much-improved third season, but not the result Sheedy was looking for to finish his illustrious career.
Both teams formed a guard of honour after the match to farewell the man who finished with a combined 930 games as player (251) and coach (679).
As is his way, Sheedy had the bigger picture in mind, saying it was great to see the expansion clubs playing each other, and particularly the progress of the Suns.
"Fans have to be a little patient with these two clubs. Especially us as we've tried to develop the youngest team," he said.
"You look where the Gold Coast are and it's very exciting indeed. They’ve got speed and wonderful ball-handling, they'll be a very good side in the next three years."
Fittingly it was a modern-day champion who stopped Sheedy in his tracks in his final match though, with Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett putting on a clinic.
By his own lofty standards Ablett has had a slow past month, but the Brownlow Medal favourite bounced back in style, finishing with 33 disposals and four goals.
He had 14 touches, four clearances and two goals in the first quarter as the Suns jumped to a 21-point lead.
Ablett added a third goal early in the second quarter, a fourth early in the third and finished full of running in a performance that will surely get him three more valuable votes.
Michael Rischitelli finished a frustrating season strongly, initially keeping Tom Scully quiet and getting plenty of ball himself.
He had 13 disposals and two goals alone in the second quarter and finished with 25 for the match, just two weeks after returning from a dislocation injury.
Andrew Boston had his best game for the Suns with four goals, while Dion Prestia (34 disposals) and Harley Bennell (27) were also good for the victors.
The match was often played with little intensity as the two youngest teams in the competition searched for the finish line to long seasons.
Suns coach Guy McKenna was delighted to bounce back from last week's horror 46-point loss against St Kilda.
"No disrespect to GWS, but so we should (win strongly). It's the only club we're 12 months older than," McKenna said.
"It's what we cop every week … we were able to dish out to GWS today. It's nice to turn the tables."
McKenna said the Suns had made big strides forward in 2013.
"To go from three wins to eight will give the boys some belief," he said.
"There'll be a bit of disappointment about the 'if onlys' as well. The two-point loss to Brisbane, nine-point loss to Richmond, two 17-point losses away from home (against Port Adelaide and West Coast).
"We just didn't have that polish, composure. Hopefully we can pick up five or 10 per cent in the pre-season and can win those games."
The Giants won just one game this year and will get the number one pick in November's NAB AFL Draft after finishing with the wooden spoon.
Young forward Jeremy Cameron started the day needing eight goals to match Jarryd Roughead's tally of 68 for the Coleman Medal, but managed just 2.3 from limited chances.
Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett congratulates Kevin Sheedy after the match. Picture: AFL Media
GOLD COAST 6.1 12.3 16.7 22.14 (146)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.4 5.4 7.8 9.9 (63)
Gold Coast: Ablett 4, Boston 4, Bennell 2, Rishitelli 2, Dixon 2, Harbrow 2, Stanley 2, Prestia 2, Gillbee, Hall, Hunt
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 2, Sumner, Kennedy, Giles, Tomlinson, Adams, Coniglio, Hampton
Gold Coast: Ablett, Stanley, Prestia, Weller, Bennell, Boston
Greater Western Sydney: Adams, Greene, Tomlinson
Gold Coast: Karmichael Hunt on for Joel Wilkinson in the third quarter
Greater Western Sydney: Kristian Jaksch on for James Stewart in the third quarter
Umpires: Leppard, Findlay, Mitchell
Official crowd: 13,080