THE WESTERN Bulldogs have come from 37 points down in the third quarter to beat Gold Coast by 22 points in a thriller in Cairns.
The Bulldogs kicked just four goals across the first three quarters but rallied late to add 10 in the last term and snatch the 14.11 (95) to 11.7 (73) result at Cazaly's Stadium.
An upset appeared likely with the Suns dominant early but the momentum shifted after half-time with the Bulldogs eventually rewarded for effort when Jake Stringer gave them the lead for the first time towards the business end of the last quarter, delighting the crowd of 9449.
Liam Picken racked up a game-high 37 touches and nine tackles while keeping Suns skipper Gary Ablett relatively quiet, and Jack Macrae's love affair with Cairns continued with a haul of 33 possessions.
Jack Redpath kicked three goals while Marcus Bontempelli, Luke Dahlhaus, Michael Talia and Stringer booted two each.
But the win came at a cost, with midfielder Koby Stevens taken to hospital in an ambulance for X-rays on his ribs after a second-quarter collision.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was a frustrated man as his side wasted numerous opportunities to close the gap but heaped praise on his players for their remarkable turnaround.
"Out of a really ordinary opening, we turned it into a pretty significant night for the football club and for our team," Beveridge said after the 14.11 (95) to 11.7 (73) result, their fourth win in a row.
"We didn't capitalise on our third quarter though, and I was just worried at three-quarter time we'd used up all our ammunition.
"For our players to continue to come on in that last quarter and do what we did was obviously outstanding."
Instead of coasting to a second consecutive win - which looked probable for most of the night - Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade was left to rue his side's fitness failings.
"I was surprised at their standards, surprised at their fitness levels a bit at the start of the year," Eade said.
"We've improved a bit.
"But you could just see it in the end. We just really couldn't cover the ground.
"It's a game that we could have, should have won."
Gold Coast was also forced to use its substitution at quarter-time following an injury to key forward Charlie Dixon, who landed awkwardly on his ankle in a first term marking contest.
He shrugged off trainers in an attempt to play on but the 24-year-old couldn't overcome the injury and went straight to the change rooms when taken from the ground.
The setback looms as a significant one for the injury-prone Dixon and his hopes of landing a big-money contract next season.
Dixon booted a club-record seven goals in last week's 55-point thumping of North Melbourne, and for much of Saturday night the Suns looked certain to continue in the same vein and book their third win for the year.
They made a cracking start and led the Bulldogs in clearances, inside 50s and tackles in the opening term on their way to a 26-point lead at the first change.
Yet when the notorious breeze died down, so did Gold Coast's run.
Defender Kade Kolodjashnij and Ablett were again the Suns' best, collecting 30 possessions apiece.
Marcus Bontempelli was outstanding during the Dogs' final term. Picture: Sean Garnsworthy, AFL Media
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.1 3.3 4.9 14.11 (95)
GOLD COAST 5.3. 6.3 9.5 11.7 (73)
Western Bulldogs: Redpath 3, Stringer 2, Bontempelli 2, Dahlhaus 2, Talia 2, Macrae, Wallis, Dickson
Gold Coast: Lynch 2, Matera 2, Hall 2, Ablett, Rischitelli, Dixon, Day, Malceski
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Macrae, M Boyd, Picken, Redpath, Stringer
Gold Coast: Kolodjashnij, Ablett, Nicholls,May, Lynch, Miller
Western Bulldogs: Stevens (TBC)
Gold Coast: Dixon (ankle)
Western Bulldogs: Koby Stevensreplaced by Lachie Hunter in the second quarter
Gold Coast: Charlie Dixon replaced by Sean Lemmens in the first quarter
Umpires: Donlon, Ryan, Mollison
Official crowd: 9449 at Cazaly's Stadium