Danny Stanley celebrates during the Suns' win over the Bulldogs
AN EMPHATIC seven-goal third quarter has paved the way for Gold Coast's 31-point over the Western Bulldogs at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.
The 13.15 (93) to 8.13 (61) victory is the first time the Suns have won successive matches in their three-year history.
It comes just six days after their maiden win in Melbourne - a 60-point trouncing of the Demons - and takes them to a 4-4 win-loss record.Talking points: Gold Coast v Western Bulldogs
It was a much tougher assignment this week as the teams arm-wrestled for almost three quarters before the home side burst clear.
Trailing midway through the third term, Gold Coast slammed on six successive goals to round out the quarter and put the result beyond doubt.
Suns coach Guy McKenna said although the win wasn't pretty, his team worked their way through some problems and found a way to win.
"We spoke about our composure," he said.
"We had to keep matching the Dogs in contested footy, which I thought we did. Once we got it out of that contested situation we had to be patient, show some more composure, which we did in that third quarter.
"The thing that kept us in the game all night was the pressure. Our ability to hunt them when they had the ball … was super."
Campbell Brown was among the catalysts for the match-winning burst, kicking the first two goals and finished with three for the game.Click here to vote for the three best Gold Coast players from the game
Jaeger O'Meara's freakish left-footed goal while being dragged to the ground lifted his teammates and the 13,520 spectators.
He backed it up moments later, winning the ball in a huge collision with Brett Goodes on the wing that ended up in an Aaron Hall goal.
As they've done most of the season, the Bulldogs did not throw in the towel, kicking two goals in the first three minutes of the final quarter to throw a scare into the Suns' camp, but their charge fizzled out.
"The tale of the game clearly to us in the third quarter was we weren’t getting a lot of possessions and opportunities," Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney said.
"We opened the game up to them, the crowd got involved. The crowd senses a team improving quicker than the rest of the league is ready for. They got their dander up around the ball and got the lead up to 30 points.
"We didn't do the basics well enough for long enough, especially in the third quarter."
McCartney acknowledged the strides his young team still needed to take to be consistently competitive.
“I don’t think there's a lot of people out there that really understand the concept of playing the game contest by contest, minute-by-minute," he said.
"That’s what the great teams do, that’s what the great players do, they keep going back to the basics, they drive to the ball and move to the next contest."
The loss is the Bulldogs' seventh straight, and their 18th loss in the past 19 games.
They lacked penetration going forward despite dominating the disposal count 397-335.
Adam Cooney (31 disposals), Ryan Griffen (29) and Matthew Boyd (29) were prolific in the midfield, while first-year players Jake Stringer (three goals) and Jackson Macrae (26) were poised and impressive.Click here to vote for the three best Western Bulldogs players from the game
But the plaudits must go to the Suns, who took another step in their progression with a mature win despite battling for much of the first half.
They played the entire second half without ruckman Zac Smith who hyperextended a knee early and was substituted.
He will undergo scans to assess the full extent of the injury.
It forced a reshuffle that saw Tom Lynch move into the ruck with Jared Brennan as a back-up, and Sam Day shifted from defence back to his customary forward role.
Gary Ablett led from the front with 31 touches while O'Meara (25) was again superb in his first season.
Steven May drives the Suns forward despite Luke Dahlhaus' best efforts. Picture: AFL Media
GOLD COAST 1.3 4.7 11.11 13.15 (93)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.4 5.6 6.10 8.13 (61)
Brown 3, Matera, Shaw, Hall, Stanley, O’Meara, Hall, Harbrow, Day, May, Bennell
Stringer 3, Markovic 2, Giansiracusa, Jones, Murphy
Ablett, Brown, O’Meara, Thompson, Lonergan
Cooney, Murphy, Griffen, Boyd, Macrae
Zac Smith (knee)
Luke Russell on for Zac Smith at half-time
Clay Smith on for Liam Jones in the third quarter
Hay, Armstrong and Jeffery