Aaron Hall celebrates a goal during the Suns' big win against Melbourne
MARK Neeld says his Melbourne side took "a couple of steps back" in its 60-point loss to Gold Coast at the MCG on Sunday, which was the Suns' first victory at the home of football.
The Suns kicked 16.18 (114) to the Demons' 7.12 (54) to win their first game in Victoria and record their biggest winning margin since entering the competition in 2011.
The Suns had a 33-point lead at quarter-time after keeping the Demons goalless and kept driving home the advantage.
It stretched the lead to 37 at half-time and then 62 points by the last break. That was the biggest three-quarter time margin the Suns had ever enjoyed.
Melbourne appeared at times to have lost the will to fight and the capacity to play as a team. It let the opposition do as it wished.
However, given the systematic failure of generations at Melbourne, there is no quick fix.
Even allowing for the absence of Mitch Clark, Jack Trengove, Jack Grimes and Mark Jamar, Melbourne was never in it.
Although Melbourne was insipid, the Suns were impressive, hitting back hard after a disappointing loss to Fremantle a week earlier.
Gary Ablett was unstoppable, hardly wasting a possession and he brought teammates into the game at will.
It wasn't only Ablett doing the job though, with the Suns controlling the ball and having three touches for every two to the Demons.
The Suns also had nearly twice as many tackles, recording 71 to 38. They were given more space than an old drunk with bad breath.
Zac Smith dominated in the ruck and kicked three first-half goals. Dion Prestia was handy in the midfield and Jared Brennan was his usual infuriating best until Colin Sylvia flattened him. Once the team got rolling so to did Harley Bennell while in defence Rory Thompson stood tall.
Gold Coast is an improving team that is gradually moving out of the AFL's underclass. In the end it lost Brennan and Tom Murphy to concussion after using its substitute, but kept dominating.
Coach Guy McKenna said his team's resilience to build on a half-time lead of 37 points
, when it had to finish the game with only one player on the bench, was a promising step.
"We haven't often been in that position so their composure, if you like, and then to face the lack of rotations in the modern game … for them to weather that and compose themselves and see their way through [was pleasing]," McKenna said.
"There hasn't been too many [occasions] in our short history in the AFL where we've actually jumped a side the way we did and maintained that lead."
Once again Jeremy Howe was Melbourne's best player, kicking three goals and again he provided a grab that will be nominated for mark of the round. The Demons could do with six of his kind.
Sylvia did battle hard for the Demons – before he undid his hard work with a frustrated attack on Brennan, who was taken off the ground on a stretcher. Jack Viney was also industrious around the packs while Max Gawn kicked two goals.
Chris Dawes did not have an impact in his debut with the Demons, but he did not enjoy gold plated delivery.
Right now Melbourne lacks confidence, class and anyone capable of standing up when the game turns south.
The Suns are heading in the opposite direction.
Gary Ablett breaks clear of Luke Tapscott during Gold Coast's win against Melbourne. Picture: AFL Media
MELBOURNE 0.2 3.7 4.10 7.12 (54)
GOLD COAST 5.5 9.8 14.12 16.18 (114)
Melbourne: Howe 3, Gawn 2, Strauss, Sylvia
Gold Coast: Smith 3, Brown 3, Lynch 2, Hall 2, May, McKenzie, Day, Shaw, Bennell, Harbrow
Melbourne: Howe, Viney, Gawn, Sylvia
Gold Coast: Ablett, Bennell, Smith, Brennan, Thompson, Prestia
Melbourne: McDonald (shoulder) replaced in selected side by Davey
Gold Coast: Brennan (concussion), Murphy (concussion)
Melbourne: Dean Kent subbed off for Aaron Davey in the third quarter
Gold Coast: Steven May subbed off for Brandon Matera in the third quarter
Reports: Sylvia (Melbourne) reported for high contact against Brennan (Gold Coast) in the third quarter
Umpires: McBurney, Harris, Armstrong
Official crowd: 13,304 at the MCG