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Growing maturity impresses Suns coach McKenna

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna - ${keywords}
Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna
I thought, overall, the team actually stood up, which was the pleasing thing because sometimes when GWS were coming at us, Gaz (Ablett) was forward

GOLD Coast coach Guy McKenna believes his team's 44-point win over Greater Western Sydney in Canberra on Saturday was "a sign of the maturity within the group"

The Suns had to deal with repeated challenges from the Giants before they raced away in the final quarter to record their second victory of the season.

"We didn't have a lot of leaders out there today," McKenna said after the game.

"Matty Warnock broke his arm and Nathan Bock's not there and a few of our other players are missing.

"But I thought, overall, the team actually stood up, which was the pleasing thing because sometimes when GWS were coming at us, Gaz (Ablett) was forward.

"So again a young midfield had to stem the tide and a defence had to hold their own, and I thought to a man they did that."

It was a landmark game for Gold Coast.

The Suns' score of 21.22 (148) broke their previous best of 18.16 (124), which they recorded in the first QClash back in 2011.

On top of that, key forward Charlie Dixon became the first Gold Coast player to kick six goals in a game.

But McKenna was not about to declare that the Suns were pulling away from the Giants when it comes to analysing the development of the AFL's newest teams.

"That question will be asked every year, every match … every review of every season for probably the next 10 or 15 years," he said.

"We answer that when whoever wins the first premiership, I'm sure."

McKenna was happy with his team's efforts in the first, second and fourth quarters.

But he was disappointed with the way his men let GWS back into the game in the third term.

"As a coach, I'm paid to be cranky, so I would've thought, overall, we played three quarters of football again," he said.

"Probably against a younger side that still means you're able to win a game of football.

"But we understand three quarters of footy won't win it against Fremantle next week.

"So there's things we can tidy up, but … I certainly think it's a good shot in the arm for the boys for their belief and reward for effort.

"It's handy and at least we go into next week with some confidence."

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Giants coach Kevin Sheedy was particularly unhappy that his team conceded 44 scoring shots just a week after allowing Melbourne to kick 12 goals in the last quarter of their round four clash.

"That's been a concern for us," he said. "It's a defensive trait that we'll keep working at.

"It takes a long time to teach players coming out of under-18 competitions that it's not all about attack.

"You've got to get the correct balance with that, and the last quarter was a very frustrating part of our game.

"But we're still getting 16 goals and we missed a few we should get in regard to poor decisions that we make during a game.

"But, to be honest, Gold Coast played pretty well today. They had a lot more chances, they kicked poorly … and full credit to them because they're a much more experienced team than us at the moment."

Things get no easier for GWS, who travel to Melbourne to take on the unbeaten Bombers in a Saturday afternoon clash at Etihad Stadium.