IT WAS wet, wild, ugly and just the way Stuart Dew liked it as Gold Coast notched a 16-point win in his first game in charge.
The rookie coach watched as his men out-enthused North Melbourne with the game on the line in the final quarter, the Suns prevailing 7.13 (55) to 5.9 (39) on Saturday night.
All 12 goals came at the same end of the ground, with final-quarter majors to Jack Bowes and Jarryd Lyons proving the difference.
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"I'm just pleased for the lads," Dew said. "At three quarter time it was there for us and I thought we stepped up."
A wet week in Cairns got a whole lot wetter about 45 minutes before the first bounce, with torrential rain sweeping across the region and flooding Cazalys Stadium.
North Melbourne coped best in the puddles early, winning more contested ball and notching the first quarter's only goal through Shaun Higgins.
The Kangaroos missed two sets shots and had a masterful Higgins' solo effort along the boundary line ruled to have glanced the post as they looked to establish control of the contest in the second term.
But they were left to rue those missed opportunities as the rain eased, the ground drained and the Suns kicked five straight to finish the half leading by 24 points.
Darcy McPherson scored the Suns' first before Ben Ainsworth snapped a second and followed it up with another.
Alex Sexton and club debutant Aaron Young also got on the board as the Suns - led by Cairns local and second-year midfielder Bowes (21 disposals) - camped in North Melbourne's forward 50m and reaped rewards.
WATCH: Alex Sexton swoops and goals
North Melbourne responded by pushing Jack Ziebell forward and kicking all four goals in the third term, the skipper notching two of his own and setting up another to reduce the margin to one at the final break.
The rain returned in the final quarter, leaving teams with no choice but to hack it forward.
The ball rarely left the Suns' forward half though, with David Swallow (game-high 30 touches) taking over to snap a run of five straight losses in Cairns.
Five talking points: Gold Coast v North Melbourne
After playing both their main intraclub and second JLT Community Series match against Brisbane in similar conditions, Dew said the Suns were well prepared.
"We've had a bit of it (rain) lately, so they weren't scared to get dirty," he said.
"We did at times go away from wet-weather footy as well, and I thought that's when we let them into it.
"The ground was fantastic. We got here and there was water on the deck and within 20 minutes it was gone. That's a fair effort given it didn't stop raining.
"We'll get on the plane up here any time."
Despite being badly beaten in the final term, North Melbourne coach Brad Scott was making no excuses, saying his team knew what they were in for.
"We certainly can't complain. We knew a long time out where we were playing and what the conditions were likely to be," Scott said.
"I thought we were out-worked at times … I thought we were hard and tough, but so were they.
"They did move from contest to contest better than we did and I thought they handled the conditions better than we did."
WATCH:Shaun Higgins gets the Roos off to a good start
Kangaroos tall Ben Brown was unable to make an impact, restricted to just four touches in the wet.
The Suns, under Dew's high-pressure, full-team defensive approach, won the tackle count 94-84 and contested possessions 208-189.
Gold Coast: A clean bill of health for the Suns. In good news, Aaron Hall (finger), Sean Lemmens (hamstring) and Peter Wright (calf) could all be available next week.
North Melbourne: No real problems for the Kangaroos either with just Jy Simpkin – who had a terrific game – and Robbie Tarrant both getting stitches to gashes in their foreheads but returning to the field.
Gold Coast will like their chances of going back-to-back when they travel to Melbourne on Saturday afternoon to play Carlton at Etihad Stadium. The Kangaroos have a short turnaround, but for a good cause – they have a second crack at Good Friday football against first-up winners St Kilda at Etihad Stadium in six days' time.
WATCH: Jack Bowes' hometown sealer
GOLD COAST 0.2 5.6 5.8 7.13 (55)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 1.6 5.7 5.9 (39)
Gold Coast: Ainsworth 2, Sexton, Bowes, Lyons, Young, MacPherson
North Melbourne: Ziebell 2, Anderson, Dumont, Higgins
Gold Coast: Bowes, Young, Miller, Martin, Harbrow, Ainsworth
North Melbourne: Ziebell, Macmillan, Thompson, Clarke, Simpkin, Cunnington
Gold Coast: Nil
North Melbourne: Nil
Umpires: Brown, Findlay, Ryan
Official crowd: 3722 at Cazalys Stadium