Lloyd Johnston celebrates a goal during the R9 match between Gold Coast and North Melbourne at TIO Stadium on May 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

GOLD Coast put a difficult week behind it on Saturday night, overpowering North Melbourne by 68 points at TIO Stadium to make it five wins on the trot in Darwin.

In hot and humid conditions that made the football as slippery as a piece of soap, the Suns overcame a slow start before storming away to win 17.18 (120) to 7.10 (52).

SUNS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats

The victory closed out a week that started with a QClash hammering from Brisbane and included the suspension of young defender Wil Powell.

It now moves the Suns to a 5-4 win-loss record ahead of playing Geelong at the same venue on Thursday night.

North played a kick-mark game style that kept the ball away from Gold Coast early on, but once Damien Hardwick's team ramped up the intensity after quarter-time, it was never challenged.

Following an inaccurate second quarter where it managed just 3.8, Gold Coast kicked five goals in the third term to put the game to bed.


With the Roos clearly out on their feet, the Suns piled on another seven in a final-quarter procession to blow the margin out to something that more reflected the gap between the teams.

Sam Flanders continued a fine season at half-back, finishing with 29 disposals that included 10 intercepts. His neat kicking was a feature on a night when missing targets and dropping easy marks was the norm.

Touk Miller (29 and a goal) and Noah Anderson (22, seven clearances and a goal) led the midfield with a workrate that eventually ran the legs off their opponents, while wingman Sam Clohesy (23) was magnificent with two long-range goals in the tight first half to give his team some breathing space.

Ben King (three) led the goalkickers, while Jed Walter – who flew for every mark possible without quite clunking them – Ben Ainsworth, Ben Long and Clohesy all kicked two apiece.


Gold Coast's defensive group was just as impressive, with Sam Collins (11 intercepts) keeping Nick Larkey to one goal, while Mac Andrew (nine intercepts) cleaned up everything in his area.

North trailed by six points at quarter-time, and probably could have led, such was its control of play.

Chipping the ball around to take 35 mostly uncontested marks, the Roos played 'keepings off' from the Suns early, but too often botched the final kick going inside 50.

Jake Rogers opened Gold Coast's scoring after a sweeping movement from half-back following a turnover, while Clohesy bombed one from 45m after another giveaway from a kick-in.


Gold Coast arrested control around the stoppages following the first term and harassed its opponents into more errors, continually outnumbering them around the ground to take total control.

Luke Davies-Uniacke (35 disposals and a goal) tried his heart out, while Colby McKercher (30) made some mistakes, but also never gave up.

Suns love the Top End
Now in its third season taking home games to Darwin, Gold Coast still has a perfect record, which is now 5-0. In 2022 the Suns defeated North Melbourne and Hawthorn, both comfortably, while last year it was the bigger scalps of the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide. The conditions are helpful, with the humidity and resulting slippery footy similar to their pre-season training at Carrara, while the locals are slowly getting on board, with more red and yellow jumpers dotting the crowd by the year. Next up, Geelong on Thursday night.

Bailey Humphrey takes a selfie with fans after the R9 match between Gold Coast and North Melbourne at TIO Stadium on May 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Oh no! Poor Paul Curtis
North could count itself as mighty unlucky at the end of the first quarter when the siren sounded just as Paul Curtis was streaming into an open goal. Charlie Ballard dropped an uncontested mark, then compounded his mistake by handballing straight to Luke Davies-Uniacke, who spotted Curtis streaming past. The Kangaroos forward was running into an open goal when the quarter-time hooter blasted just as he was about to kick from the top of the goalsquare. So unlucky!

Lloydy's goal
Undoubtedly the most popular goal of the night came early in the third quarter, when Northern Territory product Lloyd Johnston kicked the first of his career. Hailing from Borroloola, nearly 1000km east of Darwin, Johnston had 30 family members in the crowd, sending them into raptures when he calmly slotted an around-the-corner set shot from the left forward pocket just after half-time. Playing the third game of his career, the 19-year-old half-forward was mobbed by his excited teammates.



GOLD COAST             2.4       5.12     10.14  17.18 (120)
NORTH MELBOURNE          1.4       2.5       4.7       7.10 (52)

Gold Coast: King 3, Walter 2, Long 2, Clohesy 2, Ainsworth 2, Witts, Sexton, Rogers, Miller, Johnston, Anderson
North Melbourne: Stephenson 2, Zurhaar, Tucker, Larkey, Davies-Uniacke, Curtis

Gold Coast: Flanders, Miller, Andrew, Clohesy, Collins, Anderson, Uwland
North Melbourne: Davies-Uniacke, Powell, Comben, McKercher, Fisher

Gold Coast: Nil
North Melbourne: Archer (foot)

Gold Coast: Bailey Humphrey (replaced Alex Davies at three-quarter time)
North Melbourne: Charlie Lazzaro (replaced Blake Drury during the third quarter)

Crowd: 7,036 at TIO Stadium