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Five talking points: Gold Coast v West Coast

Highlights: Gold Coast v West Coast The Suns and Eagles clash in round 11
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 03:  Suns player Alex Sexton and West Coast Eagles player Jack Darling challenge for the ball during the round 11 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the West Coast Eagles at Metricon Stadium on June 3, 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia.  (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Jack Darling struggled as the Eagles' main forward

1. Two-metre Peter saves the day
Gold Coast tried hard to lose, but 'Two-metre Peter' Wright's goal in the dying minutes saved the match – and possibly the Suns season. After leading by 14 at the final change, the Suns conceded four soft goals to the Eagles and looked down the barrel. But after a clever snap from Brandon Matera got them back into the game, Wright took a mark 45m out with less than two minutes remaining. Despite having another difficult day, the third-year forward went back and calmly slotted the match winner. The Suns move to 4-6, allowing coach Rodney Eade to breathe easy for another week and keep his team's finals chances alive.

Full match coverage and stats

2. No luck about this Irishman
After a hugely disrupted first season at his new club, Pearce Hanley gave a glimpse into what he can offer the Suns. Playing just his third game after personal and injury setbacks, Hanley racked up 31 disposals and 12 marks in a polished performance. He looked like a totally different player from the one that struggled his way to just eight touches against Melbourne last week. He was a great link man between the Suns' defence and attack and produced one of the best plays of the game when he won a one-on-two contest in his own goalsquare late in the match with two Eagles sweating on him. The good news for Gold Coast is Hanley will only continue to improve.

3. Tough times for Darling
With spearhead Josh Kennedy missing with a calf injury, all eyes were on how the Eagles forward line would cope – particularly Jack Darling. Unfortunately, the 24-year-old fell sadly short. With young Jack Leslie manning him for most of the game, Darling had just eight disposals, five of which were clangers, and failed to kick a goal. Jeremy McGovern and the returning Eric Mackenzie were stationed in defence for most of the day, leaving Darling as the primary forward target alongside resting rucks Drew Petrie and Nathan Vardy. Elliot Yeo kicked three goals and Josh Hill grabbed two in the final term to be the Eagles' most lively options.

 

4. Mitchell and Ablett have still got it
They were two of the oldest players on the field, but Sam Mitchell and Gary Ablett proved they are still two of the best. Mitchell led the Eagles with 33 disposals and orchestrated the fourth-quarter comeback with his composure off half-back. After overcoming a shoulder injury that kept him out of playing the Demons last week, Ablett excelled, leading the Suns with 36 disposals, including a match-high 16 contested. He wasn't his usual explosive self, but the Suns still look a different team when he's available.

 

5. Leslie making one defensive spot his own
With Rory Thompson injured since round three, young Sun Jack Leslie has been given the chance to play key defence alongside Steven May – and he continues to impress. Coach Rodney Eade is so pleased by the 22-year-old's development he said when Thompson returns to fitness, he'd struggle to get his spot back. "We won't be playing all three (defenders)," he said. "Rory's going to have to fight his way in, and at this stage he won't be getting in." Leslie kept direct opponent Jack Darling goalless and took seven marks of his own, including three contested.