A TARA Bohanna behind on the final siren has handed Gold Coast a huge victory by a solitary point over Richmond on Sunday afternoon.
Not even a late Richmond surge and goal from Sun-turned-Tiger Shannon Danckert could get the home side the premiership points, with Gold Coast claiming the win 5.6 (36) to 5.5. (35) at Ikon Park.
With three minutes left on the clock Danckert was the new hometown hero, putting Richmond up by a point at the club's makeshift home, but, as the club song goes, the Suns are the team that never say die and kept pushing until the very last siren.
Charlie Rowbottom starred once again for the Suns, registering 31 disposals, 13 tackles and five clearances in between repeated heavy knocks that left her gasping for air on the deck behind play, while Claudia Whitfort's impressive season rolled on with 25 disposals and six clearances.
TIGERS v SUNS Full match coverage and stats
Richmond applied the early scoreboard pressure off the boot of imports Caitlin Greiser and Courtney Jones, the latter resulting in a significant scuffle between the new Tiger and her former teammate Daisy D'Arcy.
Gold Coast effectively intercepted down back and transitioned up the ground with clean outside ball movement, but once it came to that last kick going inside 50 the Tigers were able to pressure poor, hurried choices, leaving marking targets like Jac Dupuy and Tara Bohanna in the lurch.
Vivian Saad (nine intercepts) was important down back for the Suns, dominating the air while Lauren Ahrens was handed the unenviable task of running with Tigers captain Katie Brennan all day.
Once the Suns adapted to Richmond's pressure, however, they were able to attack more cleanly and create opportunities at goal off the deck by way of Alana Gee and Georgia Clayden in the third quarter to snatch back the lead.
Richmond's last quarter push was largely driven by winger Kate Dempsey (23 disposals, 413m gained) and Monique Conti (22 disposals, 401m gained).
Conti, despite winning the 22 touches, was held to just three clearances by Gold Coast midfielder Lucy Single, who won a game-high seven clearances to go with her 16 disposals and six tackles, as the pair largely broke even in terms of impact.
After being delisted by Gold Coast at the end of last season, Shannon Danckert went back to the VFLW to prove her value at AFLW level once again. Catching the eye of the Tigers and signed as a train on player, she got the call-up to make her Richmond debut against her former side. Late in the game as the Tigers were down by five points and surging, a long kick into the home team's goal fell agonisingly short, only for none other than Danckert to take a strong contested mark and slot the goal to put her new team in front with mere minutes left on the clock.
No love lost
With Courtney Jones, Shannon Danckert and Maddy Brancatisano all facing their old side for the first time there was bound to be some heat in the game. So, when Jones won a free kick against former teammate Daisy D'Arcy in front of goal, the first thing she wanted to do after kicking the goal was let D'Arcy know about it. And it didn't take long for their respective teammates to come in to remonstrate.
Richmond will return to Ikon Park once more to host the second ever AFLW Dreamtime match against Essendon on Saturday evening, while the Suns will head back to Heritage Bank Stadium for the fifth edition of the QClash, to play a smarting Brisbane side.
RICHMOND 1.0 3.2 4.4 5.5 (35)
GOLD COAST 0.1 2.1 5.3 5.6 (36)
Richmond: Greiser, Jones, Reid, Brennan, Danckert
Gold Coast: McLaughlin, Stanton, Bohanna, Gee, Clayden,
Richmond: Dempsey, Conti, Wicksteed, Shevlin, Sheerin
Gold Coast: Rowbottom, Whitfort, Single, Saad, Dupuy
Gold Coast: Nil
Crowd: 1,848 at Ikon Park