GOLD Coast has smashed the Brisbane Lions by 53 points at Metricon Stadium on Saturday to snap a five-game QClash losing streak.
The Lions got within eight points midway through the third quarter, but the upstart Suns put the foot to the floor, kicking the next eight goals and running out comfortable 17.12 (114) to 9.7 (61) winners.
In a miserable day for the Lions, they look like losing Daniel Rich for an extended period with an anterior cruciate ligament injury and Daniel Merrett to suspension after a fourth quarter forearm to the head of David Swallow.
Rich fell awkwardly in a contest against rookie Sun Sean Lemmens in the second quarter and was assisted from the ground by trainers before being subbed immediately.
"The doctors weren't overly encouraging with their report," Leppitsch said.
"Like all things you have to wait for the scans for this."
But for the Suns it was all smiles on a day that shifted AFL power in the Sunshine State.
They now have two wins from three matches and will host premier Hawthorn at Metricon Stadium next Saturday night in a mouth-watering test of their improvement.
Dual Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett added a second Marcus Ashcroft Medal for best afield to his resumé with a sublime 38-disposal, three-goal performance.
He was the architect of a midfield that completely dominated their more mature opponents, as the Suns won all the important stats – disposals (388-358), contested possessions (173-136), clearances (53-38) and inside 50s (59-41).
Dion Prestia (32 disposals) was wasteful early but burst into the contest in the tide-turning third quarter, while Swallow continued his super start to the season, finishing with 26 touches.
"I couldn't fault their effort in the first half and after half-time we started to get reward for that effort," McKenna said.
"We’ve got such a core group of ballistic mids if they can get outside and use their legs it's frightening, it's really exciting.
"With these blokes winning the contested ball and when we’re able to spit it out ... when we did that we looked dangerous."
The visitors gave a momentary yelp early in the third quarter, but Gold Coast lifted its intensity and had winners all over the ground.
Sam Day had the best return of his 45-game career, kicking four goals, while at the other end of the ground Steven May set the physical tone and added Jonathan Brown's scalp to his growing list.
May affected a huge hit on Dayne Zorko in the first quarter that sat the diminutive Lion on his backside and then proceeded to keep Brown to a miserly four touches as the former Lions skipper struggled with poor service.
After promising performances against Hawthorn and Geelong, the Lions took a step backwards and are now 0-3 and facing a road trip to Port Adelaide next weekend.
"We've probably picked today to be our worst game to be perfectly honest," Leppitsch said.
"Our last two weeks have been competitive against good opposition. Our contested possession was minus 37, that's a 10-goal loss on that number alone."
Tom Rockliff (35 touches and three goals) tried hard in a losing side.