Noah Anderson celebrates Gold Coast's win over Collingwood in round 16, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

HINDSIGHT will be the best judge of how significant Gold Coast's victory over Collingwood was on Saturday night, but the win has the potential to totally re-route the fortunes of the struggling Suns.

Not only was it the first time in 10 years they had beaten the Magpies at Carrara, but Damien Hardwick's team had to show a level of maturity they'd rarely exhibited before to walk away with the four premiership points.

Headed with just minutes remaining after giving up a sizeable fourth-quarter lead, the Suns stared down the competition's close-finish masters to kick the game's final two goals to win.

Noah Anderson and Touk Miller did their thing in the middle, Sam Collins continued his incredible form in defence, but it was the role players who stood tall under extreme pressure.

Bodhi Uwland brushing aside Scott Pendlebury to win a critical contest late in the match and then delivering to unguarded Ben Long who duly converted on the run from 50m was a match-defining passage of play.

Moments later it was Long again batting a ball into space for Ben Ainsworth to gather and snap truly on his left foot to ice the game.


Matt Rowell executed a vice-like tackle to win a holding the ball decision against Jack Crisp.

All little moments, but all big things in the context of a rare big match for these players.

In the corresponding match last season, Gold Coast entered full of hope with a 7-7 record, only to be blown away by 78 points. Stuart Dew lasted just one more match as coach.

In 2022, again full of optimism, the Magpies snatched a late win to deflate the hosts and dash their dreams of a climb up the ladder.


Not this time, though. 

There have been false dawns before with the Suns. Plenty of them. And it would be very Gold Coast to undo the good work with a loss to North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, hence the caution over making sweeping statements about the significance of beating the premier.

After all, in season 14, the Suns are still trying to play finals for the first time. And if the season finished now, that unwanted streak would continue.

However, with a group of players that has collective experience together and the high-end talent to complement, this triumph should give them the belief to build.

Touk Miller in action during Gold Coast's clash against Collingwood in round 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

It's not the first time the Suns have beaten a reigning premier.

They knocked over Richmond in 2021 – an unusual game in an unusual season – and then defeated Geelong in round three, 2023.

It did feel like a moment of symmetry to beat Collingwood a decade after perhaps the greatest sliding doors moment in club history.

On July 5, 2014, in its fourth season, Gold Coast beat the Magpies by four points to move to a 9-6 win-loss record and sit in eighth position.

It was the night Gary Ablett jnr dislocated his shoulder and the Suns would play the entire fourth quarter with no players on the bench. It was a heroic victory.

Gary Ablett grimaces in pain after injuring his left shoulder in Gold Coast's clash with Collingwood in round 16, 2014. Picture: AFL Photos

Without their dual Brownlow medallist for the remainder of the season, they would lose six of their final seven matches, resulting in inaugural coach Guy McKenna being sacked.

This is the first time since then Gold Coast has had a winning record after 15 matches, sitting just half a game outside the top eight.

With North Melbourne (away) and Port Adelaide (home) coming in the next fortnight, as well as games against struggling Greater Western Sydney, West Coast, Melbourne and Richmond to come, the opportunity to play finals is staring them in the face if they're good enough.

Are they mature enough? Will they have a good run with injuries? Or will this be yet another frustrating finish to a promising season?

As always, time will tell, but we just might be looking back on this win in two or three months thinking it was the making of Gold Coast as a finals-contending football club.