Matt Rowell has starred again for Gold Coast who have shattered an AFL hoodoo in style, thumping Adelaide to continue their remarkable form since the competition’s return.
The Suns’ clinical victory on Sunday afternoon was their first in 14 encounters with the Crows, the hosts keeping a side scoreless in the opening term for the first time on the way to a 12.10 (82) to 4.5 (29) win.
The 53-point margin fell short of their record 86-point defeat of Hawthorn in 2017, while the Crows only just crept past their lowest score of 24.
Gold Coast’s (2-1) effort followed their upset of West Coast last weekend to snap a 19-game losing streak, while the Crows (0-3), thrashed a week ago by Port Adelaide, were never in it.
“I’m proud of the boys to back it up,” Suns coach Stuart Dew said.
“Last week was exactly what we wanted to do and we set ourselves a challenge to repeat that.
“We’ve got into a spot in the last couple of weeks where guys understand they don’t have to go over and above and, if they stray from that, it’s detrimental to the team.”
Jarrod Witts dominated the ruck while midfielder Hugh Greenwood (10 contested possessions, 13 tackles) enjoyed the first clash with his former team and 18-year-old Rowell (20 disposals, 10 tackles, two goals) backed up last weekend’s dominant showing.
Ben King (three goals) imposed himself up front and Touk Miller (26 disposals) was lightning through the middle of Metricon Stadium for Dew’s improving side.
The Suns had the game’s first 12 forward-50 entries, almost doubling the Crows’ contested possession count, with Adelaide forward Taylor Walker one of four to go without a touch in the first quarter.
But seven behinds and just one goal meant they didn’t have the points to show for it until King soccered through a major in the quarter’s final seconds for a 19-point lead.
Darcy Fogarty put Adelaide on the board as the work rate lifted in the second term.
But a four-goal Suns flurry and even greater tackling pressure was the answer, Rowell running from the square to launch a major from 55m on his non-preferred left foot as the Suns took a 35-point halftime lead.
Everything was going the Suns’ way against the fumbling Crows, Rowell snapping another after Darcy McPherson’s pass from the pocket inadvertently sailed through for a goal.
Rory Atkins (shoulder) finished the game wearing a sling in another headache for coach Matthew Nicks.
“We’re in a world of hurt at this point; nowhere near the level … the intensity isn’t there,” Nicks said.
“We’ve got some conversations coming up about why that is.
“We expected a response … and we weren’t able to deliver.”