GOLD Coast fell just short of upsetting Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night, but coach Rodney Eade could not have been more proud of his men.
The Suns led for much of the game despite injuries to ruckman Tom Nicholls (PCL) and Alex Sexton (corked thigh) that left the pair virtually incapacitated.
It took two late goals from the Giants to squeak home and keep their spot in the top four.
Eade said the spirit from his team was "amazing" and their resilience to match it with the power running of the Giants for four quarters even slightly surprised the veteran coach.
"To be able to do that against nearly a full-strength team, who are second on the ladder, probably the best running team in the competition, it was just a game of courage and grit," Eade said.
"Our contest, our ability to work for each other, I thought the spirit shown from the group, I must admit I thought it was amazing.
"I thought they were terrific."
It was the second heartbreaking loss in six days for the Suns, following last Sunday's two-point defeat to Melbourne.
Eade said the past eight or nine weeks had cemented the Suns' improvement despite the litany of injuries to their best midfielders.
He agreed it was Jarrod Garlett's best game for the club, and said joint captains Steven May and Tom Lynch had led brilliantly in the absence of Gary Ablett.
The Giants’ weight of numbers late proved the difference as the Suns eventually ran out of legs.
"I could just tell the players were running in quicksand, they were really trying hard but they just couldn’t cover the deck," Eade said.
"And that’s what you’d rather, you’d rather guys give everything they have and at some stage fall over rather than save themselves."
Eade said Sexton had tightness in his hamstring and then suffered a corked thigh, but hoped he would be fine to play next week.
The coach saved high praise for Nicholls.
"I thought he showed a lot of courage.
"It was up to him, we gave him the option if he wanted to sit it out, but I think it was great courage he showed.
"I think he's a great team man, he's heavily respected by his teammates, he's very well liked, and I think he just didn't want to let them down."