GOLD COAST has scored a crucial 24-point upset win over Richmond, putting the Tigers' season on the brink.
The Suns broke clear in the third term of a dour Marvel Stadium struggle and then held off Richmond's final-quarter rally for their third win of the season, 11.6 (72) to 6.12 (48).
TIGERS v SUNS Full match coverage and stats
It is Gold Coast's third straight win over Richmond, which is in major strife at 1.6, and a big scalp for the Suns in Melbourne.
At eight minutes into the last term, the Tigers had managed only four goals before banging through two more to reduce the margin to 15 points.
Ruckman Ivan Soldo then took a mark within range of goal halfway through the quarter but elected to pass off and it went astray, with Ben Ainsworth scoring the sealer at the other end two minutes later.
Suns key forward Ben King shone with four goals and Nick Holman was also outstanding in attack, while Noah Anderson had 32 disposals.
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After a scrappy and dour first half, Gold Coast busted the game open in the third with six goals to two.
Holman was rewarded for his excellent workrate with two goals, including the last of the term after a great mark.
King also kicked two goals and was gifted the second when young Tigers defender Tyler Young clumsily tried to push him out of a marking contest.
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The numbers at half-time had told the story - Gold Coast was dominating the inside 50s 31-20, but had managed only 4.2.
Meanwhile, Richmond trailed by five points after spraying 2.9 under the Marvel Stadium roof.
There were a few highlights among the scrappy play, with Holman relentless in his pressure.
Young Tigers forward Samson Ryan gave his team a badly needed lift early in the second term when he snapped a great goal from a tight angle.
Richmond star Dustin Martin also unleashed his celebrated "don't argue" as he continues to regain form.
But overall in a forgettable first half, Richmond had the look of a side who has won only once this season, while Gold Coast was torching too many promising forays into attack.
Dimma needs to go back to the drawing board
There’s still plenty of class running around in yellow and black, and some of that class is among the younger Tigers, but Richmond has become a predictable, one-dimensional version of its former self. Damien Hardwick needs to reinvent his side, maybe in some way as radical as the one key-forward, one ruckman side that stunned the football world in 2017. If nothing changes soon there may be another long premiership drought coming.
Rowell adds the growl - and so much more
Sunday’s win saw Matt Rowell go past 25 disposals for just the third time in his career, but the bullocking midfielder’s best work is done with his whole body, not just the hands and feet. The former number one draft pick throws himself into every contest and is leading the league for tackles with over eight a game. The fact he is also logging career-best averages in disposals and marks suggests he is heading towards being the superstar he hinted at being in his unforgettable first month at AFL level and, along with best buddy Noah Anderson, could give the Suns exactly what they need both on and off the field.
Time for Cotchin to cash in his chips?
With finals all but impossible and a diminishing on-field role the question has to be asked whether Trent Cotchin should call time early. The triple-premiership captain was seen as playing a pressure-forward role this year, but his tackle averages are lower than they’ve been since 2009, disposals are at a career nadir and he's only kicked one goal from seven games. An all-time club great, it would be terrible to see Cotchin fade away as Richmond’s season drags on and, as harsh as it sounds, he's taking up a younger player’s spot in the side.
RICHMOND 1.5 2.9 4.11 6.12 (48)
GOLD COAST: 2.1 4.2 10.3 11.6 (72)
Richmond: Ryan 2, Riewoldt, Taranto, Soldo, Bolton,
Gold Coast: King 4, Holman 2, Witts, Fiorini, Ellis, Anderson, Ainsworth
Richmond: Taranto, Rioli, Vlastuin, Short, Martin, Bolton,
Gold Coast: Powell, Anderson, Rowell, McPherson, King, Ballard, Fiorini
Gold Coast: Nil
Richmond: Judson Clarke (replaced Tyler Sonsie in the third quarter)
Gold Coast: Malcolm Rosas (replaced Bailey Humphrey in the third quarter)
Crowd: 23,664 at Marvel Stadium