Damien Hardwick after Gold Coast's loss to North Melbourne at Marvel Stadiumin round 17, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

GOLD Coast needs to "grow the f*** up", coach Damien Hardwick has fumed, after bottom side North Melbourne stunned them in a boilover on Saturday afternoon.

Continuing their dire record away from home this season, the Suns' finals hopes were dealt a blow at Marvel Stadium when the bottom side trumped them by four points.

KANGAROOS v SUNS Full match coverage and stats

The Suns were 11th and could have gone into the top eight had they won, but instead are 8-8 after the loss and could be left ruing this blown chance.

Adding to their woes, co-captain Touk Miller (wrist) was hurt during the game and joined his co-skipper Jarrod Witts on the Suns' casualty list, while Sam Day also has a foot injury.


"Our connection, our contest work inside 50 was poor, our clearance work was poor - I'm angry, to be fair," Hardwick said.

"As a footy club, we have to grow the f*** up, to be perfectly honest. Excuse the language, but we've been in this situation too many times.

"You put on a Suns jumper, you have to play a certain way. You don't get to pick or choose. At the moment, we're not where we need to be ... enough is enough."


Only a week ago, Gold Coast beat reigning premier Collingwood at home.

But apart from its two home games in Darwin, Gold Coast is winless this season away from Carrara.

Since his notorious criticism of Marvel Stadium when he was Richmond coach in 2021, Hardwick's record at the venue is eight losses and a draw.

Hardwick noted Gold Coast had 62 inside-50s - North only had 46 - and the Suns also generated 32 forward-half turnovers.

Those statistics win most games, but North handsomely won the clearances 45-29, and its pressure was outstanding.

It is North's first win in Melbourne since round one of last season, its second this season, and comes after several weeks of improving form.

"We've put in a lot of hard work over a long, long period of time, and for a fair period of the first half of the year it wasn't looking like we were making too much ground," coach Alastair Clarkson said.

"But a bit of belief ... we were able to knock them (Suns) off at a time when they're playing some really good footy, so that's really pleasing for us."


A feature of the win was the eagerness of North's players to take it up to the Suns, and any physical confrontation was cause for a push-and-shove - and it worked.

Gold Coast lacked fluency and North stymied its run out of defence.

Asked if it was deliberate, or just the result of a young side finding its feet, Clarkson replied "a combination of both".

"If you're not applying pressure from the back end (on) those over-the-top handballs, then they'll just slice through you," he said.

"We weren't perfect in that space, but that's what had us in a lot of the contests and made Gold Coast rush a fair bit."


While the pulsating clash deserved far better than the crowd of 17,781, Clarkson said he was thrilled for the Kangaroos' long-suffering fans.

"I'm just pleased they're able to be here (for) some of these little milestones along the way," Clarkson said.

"They can say they were there the day when it looked like the Kangaroos are starting to turn the corner ... that's five games in a row when we've been right in the contest."

North had its first win of the season in round 15 against West Coast, and the combined margin of its three losses since has been 21 points.

While the Kangaroos will start rank outsiders next week against top side Sydney away, Clarkson said they will go into the game "with just a little more spring in our step".

North star Luke Davies-Uniacke had a lot of spring in his step when he went so close to a NAB Goal of the Year contender in the final term.

"His last quarter was superb and it's just a real shame he didn't snag that goal - it would have gone down in the archives as one of the greatest goals of all time," Clarkson said.

North young gun Harry Sheezel capped his mighty game with a crucial handball intercept in the last minute.


Nick Larkey kicked three goals, one of them after young gun Coby McKercher had a scything run down the outer wing and found the North key forward with a pass.