AFTER getting off to a winning start in his coaching career, Stuart Dew was full of praise for his young Suns on Saturday night.
Led by a breakout performance from local hero Jack Bowes, Gold Coast got an even contribution in its 16-point win over North Melbourne at a soaking wet Cazalys Stadium in Cairns.
Bowes had 20 touches and the match-sealing goal, while Touk Miller, Brayden Fiorini, Ben Ainsworth, Lachie Weller and Darcy MacPherson led Gold Coast's 22-years-and-under charge.
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"We've been big on the no birth certificates," Dew said. "We've trotted that one out a few times.
"Once you're over the white line everyone's equal.
"We're certainly aware they've (North Melbourne) got some big boys in there and we just tried to maintain fresh guys in the middle to keep the heat on them."
After collecting just eight touches in his first appearance at 'home' against the Western Bulldogs last year, Bowes was sensational against the Kangaroos.
He has made arguably the biggest improvement in the pre-season, adding strength to his lean frame that he used to win eight contested possessions and gain more metres than any of his teammates.
Five talking points: Gold Coast v North Melbourne
"He played a magnificent role," Dew said.
"We started him down back and we wanted a little more drive and he was one that could get a fair bit of depth off his kicks, going with those flat punts with the heavy ball.
"A couple of times when he needed to go in the last quarter, he halved the contests.
WATCH: Bowes' kicks his hometown sealer
"He's so competitive, whether it's on the footy field or table tennis at the club or basketball, he just wants to win.
"(He's) A pleasure to coach."
WATCH: Stuart Dew's full media conference
After Bowes helped the Suns to a 24-point lead at half-time, North Melbourne surged back to tie the game late in the third quarter.
Dew said it was the players – and not him – that rallied at the final change.
"I'm just pleased for the lads," he said.
"At three-quarter time it was there for us and I thought we stepped up.
"It's almost what we're after, a challenge where we can work on the things we've been doing.
"I thought our contested ball in the last quarter, plus 20 to 22, was outstanding."