THE SCOREBOARD was bad enough for North Melbourne but told only half the story, as Gold Coast ended its six-match winless streak with an emphatic 63-point victory on Sunday night.
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From the moment a manhandled Brandon Ellis managed to throw the ball on to his left boot for a goal in the second minute of the match, it was one-way traffic at Metricon Stadium.
The Suns led by nine points at quarter-time, 25 at the half and 34 at the final change before running out 12.19 (91) to 4.4 (28) victors.
>> WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS IN THE PLAYER ABOVE
It could have been so much more but for some terribly inaccurate kicking.
It was the Suns' first win since round seven against Sydney, with just a draw against Essendon giving them any satisfaction between times.
Again it was the young stars that shone brightest, with Ben Ainsworth playing arguably his best game for the club, Noah Anderson strengthening his case for the NAB Rising Star Award and Izak Rankine showing glimpses of his genius.
Ainsworth gathered 23 disposals and 11 marks, including an incredible 15 score involvements, while Anderson played more on-ball than his usual wing position, finishing with 23 touches and five clearances.
Alex Sexton kicked four goals in his return from being dropped, while Ben King kicked 2.4 – a big bag looks just around the corner.
It was a horror night for the Kangaroos who lost their fifth straight game and did not kick a goal in the second half.
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They were beaten soundly around the ball, losing the clearance count 36-21, and committed simple turnover after simple turnover that led to Gold Coast scoring opportunities.
After being moved from Izak Rankine early in the match, Luke McDonald (27 disposals) tried hard, while Jed Anderson (20) continued a strong season.
Pep back in Rankine's step
After a blistering start to his career, Izak Rankine has been well below his best the past two rounds. However, following the Suns' nine-day break, the 20-year-old wizard was back to his clever, elusive best. He missed an early left-foot snap but ran rings around Luke McDonald in the first quarter, kicking a goal, setting up one for Ben King and beautifully weighting a pass for Josh Corbett, only for the forward to miss a simple set shot. His first quarter was instrumental in setting up victory.
Dueling speccies – or were they?
Two of the best marks of the night came within five minutes of each other in the second quarter – but both had a touch of controversy about them. Mason Wood launched his knee into the middle of Charlie Ballard's back late in the term to soar high above the pack, but as he juggled the ball and hit the ground, it appeared to pop out. On the stroke of half-time it was Sam Day's turn to submit his nomination for Mark of the Week, hauling in a terrific contested grab three deep in the pack. As the Suns forward lay on the ground, the controlling umpire admitted he couldn't see if the mark was spilled. Both players kicked their set shots. One-all, play on.
Witts takes the points over Goldstein
Todd Goldstein is having an All-Australian calibre season in the ruck for North Melbourne, but Gold Coast co-captain Jarrod Witts did a fantastic job against him. Goldstein has forged his 2020 reputation on not only having influence with his hit-outs, but excelling with his clearance work, but Witts went stride-for-stride all night. 'Goldy' finished with 14 disposals, including five clearances, while Witts ended up with 16 and four clearances. Most importantly, Gold Coast won the stoppage count 36-21.
GOLD COAST 3.4 7.8 8.14 12.19 (91)
NORTH MELBOURNE 2.1 4.1 4.4 4.4 (28)
Gold Coast: Sexton 4, King 2, Day 2, Ainsworth, Anderson, Ellis, Rankine
North Melbourne: Wood 2, Hall, Zurhaar
Gold Coast: Ainsworth, Anderson, Miller, Greenwood, Weller, Witts, Rankine
North Melbourne: Anderson, Tarrant, Simpkin, McDonald
Gold Coast: Nil
North Melbourne: Nil