CARLTON huffed and puffed and eventually blew Gold Coast's house down.
It took every bit of the four quarters at a slippery Metricon Stadium, but the Blues' deserved 9.16 (70) to 8.11 (59) victory has squared their season ledger at 2-2.
The game was poised beautifully at the final change with the visitors leading by a solitary point.
SUNS v BLUES Full match coverage and stats
The final quarter wasn't pretty, but Carlton camped inside the Suns' forward 50 for the first 20 minutes of the term and kept the home team at bay.
A Harry McKay goal after a brilliant Jack Silvagni tackle on Jack Bowes iced the game.
The Blues led for much of the night and looked the better team, but struggled to put away the pesky Suns.
Ed Curnow led the midfield charge, gathering 32 disposals, while for the second straight week Liam Jones was impassable in defence.
McKay was a handful for opponent Sam Collins on a tough night for forwards, while the three Sams - Docherty (28), Walsh (24) and Petrevski-Seton (23) – were all influential.
Gold Coast had its moments, kicking three straight goals in the second term to pinch the lead, and again pushed hard in the third quarter, but simply made too many mistakes.
It's another 'honourable loss', but Stuart Dew and his team will quickly tire of those.
Hugh Greenwood (27 touches and 10 tackles) was immense, while Touk Miller, Noah Anderson and Jack Bowes all worked hard.
McKay's goal, Silvagni's moment
Midway through the final term and with the game in the balance, Jack Silvagni changed the game. With Jack Bowes looking to clear the ball from alongside Gold Coast's behind post, Silvagni laid the perfect tackle, forcing the ball to spill free before it could be disposed of correctly. In the process of making the tackle, the young Blue hurt his shoulder and had to be assisted from the field, paving the way for Harry McKay to ice the game with a simple around-the-corner goal.
Suns' ruck adventures
Following the season-ending knee injury to co-captain Jarrod Witts, Gold Coast's ruck combination was always going to be an adventure. With young key defender Caleb Graham doing the bulk of the work, Chris Burgess, Hugh Greenwood and even Touk Miller jumped in to help out. Miller was the catalyst for a second-quarter goal when he palmed beautifully to Noah Anderson to begin a chain that ended with an Alex Sexton goal. Overall the combination worked well, helping the Suns to a surprising 47-38 advantage in the clearances.
Cripps dealing with a double team
After a big game against Fremantle last week, there was no way Carlton star Patrick Cripps was getting an easy ride against the Suns. Hugh Greenwood manned him for much of the night, and when he needed a breather, Nick Holman took over. Cripps was anything but passive though, heading forward when he had the chance to try and shake the attention. His perfect front-and-centre first quarter goal helped level the ledger. Cripps finished with 21 touches and eight tackles.
GOLD COAST 1.2 4.4 8.8 8.11 (59)
CARLTON 2.4 6.6 8.9 9.16 (70)
Gold Coast: Sexton 2, Ainsworth, Burgess, Ellis, Greenwood, King, Weller
Carlton: McKay 2, Murphy 2, Betts, Casboult, Cottrell, Cripps, Curnow
Gold Coast: Greenwood, Miller, Bowes, Anderson, Swallow, Ellis
Carlton: Curnow, Jones, Walsh, Docherty, Petrevski-Seton, Weitering
Gold Coast: Lemmens (concussion)
Carlton: Plowman (knee), Silvagni (shoulder)
Gold Coast: Flanders (replaced Lemmens)
Carlton: Kennedy (replaced Silvagni)
Crowd: 11,618 at Metricon Stadium