Darcy Cameron celebrates a goal during the round 16 clash between Gold Coast and Collingwood at Heritage Bank Stadium on July 1, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ARGUABLY the biggest match in Gold Coast's history turned into one of its most demoralising, as red-hot Collingwood dented its finals hopes with a 78-point walloping at a sold-out Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

The Magpies were as scintillating as the Suns were listless, leading by as much as 84 points midway through the third quarter before the home team put a degree of respectability into the scoreline.

The 18.12 (120) to 5.12 (42) win in front of a mostly black and white crowd of 22,483 keeps Collingwood on top of the competition ladder.

SUNS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats

Nick Daicos absolutely dominated in his new role as a full-time midfielder, finishing with a game-high 36 disposals that included eight clearances to go with a lovely running goal.


His lightning quick hands in congestion were a delight to watch, igniting a run-and-gun brand of football that left the Suns' floundering.

Daicos threw in 10 tackles for good measure.

But while the Magpies whiz-kid put another down-payment on his Brownlow Medal aspirations, it was his team's overwhelming work-rate with and without the ball that was the difference between the teams.


Jamie Elliott kicked five goals, Tom Mitchell had 30 disposals, John Noble (30) was magnificent with his dash and Darcy Moore patrolled Gold Coast's slow, long kicking with ease.

Collingwood kicked the only four goals of the opening term, including two to Elliott, and could have led by more, such was its dominance.


Ben Long's dropped chest mark that led to a Bobby Hill goal was indicative of the home team's nerves.

The second quarter offered up some of the best – or worst – football of the season, depending on your leaning. On three occasions Collingwood went from one end of the field to the other with sweeping play that ended in goals.

Hill's late goal in the quarter, to put the lead beyond 50, came from a Jeremy Howe kick-in that had no interruption before it sailed through at the other end.


Although the Suns kicked the final four goals of the third quarter to somewhat limit the damage, their effort for most of the night was poor.

Entering the match with a 7-7 record and a chance to stamp themselves as genuine top eight contenders, they were second to the ball – trailing the clearance count 22-10 at half-time – lacked attention to detail with team defence and were predictable with their ball movement.


With Port Adelaide waiting next week, their season again hangs in the balance.

Home ground, but not a home crowd
Going close to the ground record – the official attendance was 22,483 – was a big deal for Gold Coast, but despite being its first sell-out since 2014, it was far from a home crowd. While the Magpies always draw a hoard of supporters wherever they play in the country, this had to be seen to be believed. Despite multiple planes of fans being stranded in Melbourne by flight cancellations, Heritage Bank Stadium was awash with black and white. Even the "Coooollingwooooood" chant rang around the ground in the final term. The Magpies are now responsible for the top three crowds to ever grace the Suns' Carrara home. 

Nick Daicos kicks for goal during the round 16 clash between Gold Coast and Collingwood at Heritage Bank Stadium on July 1, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The genius of Jamie Elliott
Collingwood's dynamic small forward Jamie Elliott had a night out, kicking five goals, but it was his second in the first quarter that left spectators shaking their heads in disbelief. Waging a foot-race with Charlie Ballard as the ball rolled towards the behind post, Elliott somehow kept it from going over the line, tapping it back in the field of play. Then, with the ball sitting prone just centimetres from goal, he won the race back in field to toe-poke it over the line to cap a bit of genius and send the Pies on their way. 


Gold Coast fluffs its big moment
As good as the Magpies were – and they were magnificent – Gold Coast suffered a massive dose of stage fright when a big chance to make a statement presented itself. They were half a step behind Craig McRae's men from the opening bounce, being badly beaten at their usual strong suit, the contest, when the match was up for grabs. Experienced players dropped easy marks and made poor decisions with the ball, while others let Magpies waltz past teammates to get handball receives and rush forward. It all snowballed into one of the most disappointing performances, considering the occasion, in recent years. 

Suns players leave the ground at half-time of the round 16 clash between Gold Coast and Collingwood at Heritage Bank Stadium on July 1, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


GOLD COAST            0.2      1.4      5.7      5.12 (42)
COLLINGWOOD        4.4      11.6    14.10  18.12 (120) 

Gold Coast: Rowell 2, Ainsworth 2, Oea
Collingwood: Elliott 5, Hill 2, Frampton 2, Noble, Markov, Lipinski, Hoskin-Elliott, N.Daicos, Crisp, Cox, Cameron, Adams 

Gold Coast: Anderson, Ballard, Rowell, Flanders
Collingwood: N.Daicos, Noble, Elliott, Quaynor, Moore, Mitchell 

Gold Coast: Nil
Collingwood: Nil 

Gold Coast: Rory Atkins (replaced Hewago Oea at half-time)
Collingwood: Harvey Harrison (replaced Jeremy Howe in the third quarter) 

Crowd: 22,483 at Heritage Bank Stadium