GOLD Coast has put a tumultuous week behind it in emphatic fashion, thumping Hawthorn by a record 86 points at Metricon Stadium on Sunday.
Not only is it the Suns' first win of the season, but their first ever win over Hawthorn and the biggest win in club history.
The remarkable result also marks the first time the Hawks have been 0-3 since Alastair Clarkson's first season in charge in 2005 and they now sit last on the ladder.
Fresh off a 102-point thrashing by GWS, in a week where the futures of coach Rodney Eade and star midfielder Gary Ablett were widely questioned, Gold Coast played inspired football from the outset and won 21.13 (139) to 7.11 (53).
"We were challenged publicly, and obviously internally, so I thought it was a great response," Eade said.
"Our pressure around the ball was great. We were able to have a lot of re-entries, and I thought we used the ball really well at times.
"That's the standard we need to have every week, even if we don't win it (contested ball) they need to have that intensity around it."
Gold Coast looked like a new team.
The Suns laid the platform in the first half with aggression and relentless intensity, and cashed in with a scintillating 10-goal third quarter.
Earlier in the week, midfielder Michael Barlow said this game would show just who wanted to play for Gold Coast, and they had winners all over the ground.
Comeback kid David Swallow, playing just his second game after a 20-month absence, led the only way he knows how – with brute force.
Swallow had 22 disposals in the decisive first half and finished with 33 for the game, including nine clearances.
Gold Coast was way too quick and way too forceful, winning the contested possessions (180-118) and clearances (51-26) decisively.
Ablett responded to criticism of his poor game against the Giants, setting the tone for the home team by winning the game's first centre clearance and kicking an early goal.
He finished with 36 disposals (14 in the third quarter) and kicked two goals, the second of which brought teammates rushing from everywhere to congratulate him.
Recalled forward Brandon Matera kicked a career-high six goals.
Tom Lynch (two goals) kicked his own and created plenty of others with his pack-crashing marking attempts, while Matera, Jack Martin (three) and Brayden Fiorini (two) feasted at his feet.
Barlow (34 disposals), Aaron Hall (30), Touk Miller (28) and ruckman Jarrod Witts (13 and 40 hit-outs) were also instrumental in victory.
While the win was a relief for Eade and the Suns, it presented a mountain more questions for the Hawks.
They looked slow and short of confidence, with fumbling and poor decision-making not usually associated with them.
The sight of Adam Saad taking four bounces and streaking away from one of the Hawks' quickest players, Paul Puopolo, was indicative of their speed concerns.
"We played against a side that were just a bit hungrier and more desperate than we were tonight and that was evident around the ball," Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said.
"They had nearly 500 disposals of the ball, so it's going to be pretty hard to win a game of footy in those circumstances."
Things get no easier for the Hawks next week when they take on arch-rival Geelong in the traditional Easter Monday timeslot.
Jaeger O'Meara was booed every time he got the ball and had an average day against his former club, tallying 14 disposals and kicking one goal.
Gold Coast: It was a relatively clean bill of health for the Suns with the only niggle coming to Swallow who got a corked quad in the final quarter. He was rested at full forward late in the match but played the game out.
Hawthorn: The only concern for the Hawks came with youngster Ryan Burton in the first quarter who copped a Tom Lynch knee in his back during a marking contest. The NAB AFL Rising Star nominee was taken down the race but returned 10-15 minutes later to play the match out.
Gold Coast has a chance to square its ledger next Saturday night when it travels to Melbourne to play Carlton at Etihad Stadium. Hawthorn will have a difficult task breaking its duck when it plays Geelong on Easter Monday at the MCG.
GOLD COAST 3.3 7.8 17.10 21.13 (139)
HAWTHORN 2.3 3.6 6.10 7.11 (53)
Gold Coast: Matera 6, Martin 3, Hall 2, Fiorini 2, Lynch 2, Miller 2, Ablett 2, Harbrow, Lemmens
Hawthorn: Roughead 3, Puopolo, Rioli, O'Meara, Burton
Gold Coast: Swallow, Martin, Ablett, Witts, Harbrow, Matera
Hawthorn: Henderson, Hodge, Mitchell, Shiels
Gold Coast: Nil
Hawthorn: Puopolo (hamstring)
Reports: Lyons (GC) reported in the first quarter for striking Shiels (Haw)
Umpires: McInerney, Findlay, Foot
Official crowd: 14,728 at Metricon Stadium
Gary Ablett and Suns coach Rodney Eade embrace after a tough week. Picture: AFL Photos