A STATEMENT needed to be made, but instead Gold Coast only raised more questions over its finals credentials without injured skipper Gary Ablett.

The battling Western Bulldogs kicked six unanswered goals in the final term to score a comfortable 13.16 (94) to 9.12 (66) win over the Suns in Cairns on Saturday.

Dual Brownlow medallist Ablett was ruled out for the rest of the season this week after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction with his side clutching onto eighth spot.

The loss leaves the Suns' finals hopes hanging by a thread and if Essendon beats Collingwood on Sunday, they will be bounced out of the top eight.

It was also the sixth time the club has lost in six outings without their skipper.

But Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna said it wasn't the absence of Ablett that cost them, it was the lack of intensity shown by the 22 men who took to the field at Cazaly Park.

"I don't think we had any spark from the first bounce," he said.

"In the 80-odd times that he (Ablett) has played for our football club, six times this has happened (the Suns have lost without him).

"It's very small data.

"You can throw all the different reasons why, conspiracy theories and all that sort of stuff, we just didn't win our one-on-ones."

Emerging midfielder Jack Macrae was the catalyst for the Bulldogs' win, the 19-year-old kicking two goals in a final term blitz.

His performance came a week after Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney had dumped him to the substitute bench and said the teenager had been "letting us down in some areas".

"His strengths came out in buckets tonight," McCartney said.

"I saw a batch of senior experienced players coordinate the team and just drive a standard and a way of doing things and some really exciting young players work their way through a game.

"Play the roles they were asked to do and then their talent came out at the end when the game broke open."

The Bulldogs had threatened to blow the game wide open in the first quarter, slamming home three majors in four minutes after the wasteful Suns missed three golden opportunities on goal.

The Suns needed something to stop the rot and they found it in Jaeger O'Meara (two goals, 22 disposals) in the shadows of half-time with the 20-year-old loading up from 50m out and kicking a goal.

Charlie Dixon slotted another major for the Suns to open the second quarter, but for the next 20 minutes the two teams traded behinds before finally Tom Lynch (two goals, 16 disposals) broke the goal drought.

His superb individual effort closed the gap to just five points.

The tense battle continued in the third term before the Dogs eased to victory with the match in the balance.

WESTERN BULLDOGS         5.1    5.5   7.12  13.16   (94)
GOLD COAST                        2.3    6.6   7.10   9.12    (66)

Western Bulldogs: Hunter 2, Stringer 2, Macrae 2, Hrovat, Bontempelli, Johannisen, Redpath, Dahlhaus, Liberatore, Crameri
Gold Coast: Dixon 3, O'Meara 2, Lynch 2, Bennell, Martin
Western Bulldogs: Macrae, Hrovat, Dahlhaus, Johannisen, Hunter, Minson, Boyd
Gold Coast: O'Meara, Prestia, Stanley, Kolodjashnij, Lynch

Western Bulldogs: Ryan Griffen (ill) replaced in the selected side by Jason Johannisen,
Gold Coast: Kade Kolodjashnij (hamstring)

Western Bulldogs: Sam Darley replaced by Mitch Honeychurch in the third quarter 
Gold Coast: Kade Kolodjashnij replaced by Matt Shaw in the third quarter 

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Fisher, Burgess, Findlay

Official crowd: 9,746 at Cazaly's Stadium, Cairns